Last edition of News of the World sells fast in London

Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:40am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters)- When Rupert Murdoch, his media empire under fire over a phone-hacking scandal, swept into his London headquarters on Sunday from the United States, the message was clear.

Murdoch, sporting a white panama-style hat, sat in the front passenger seat of a red Range Rover intently reading a copy of the final edition of the best-selling newspaper he had closed only hours earlier to try to contain the spreading crisis.

"The World's greatest newspaper 1843-2011," said the front page, held up for all to see. "Thank you and goodbye."

Newspaper staff had departed, amid scenes of cheering and emotion at the same London complex, in the early hours. Many employees saw themselves as having been sacrificed by Murdoch to save his broader business interests.

But Murdoch was signaling he was not bowed. He has already made clear he has no intention of yielding to criticism and removing senior executives, nor of giving up his proposed multi-billion-dollar buyout of British broadcaster BSkyB.

The newspaper he held high had a particular symbolic significance for Murdoch. It was the first British newspaper he bought, in 1969, and the cornerstone of what became a huge media empire with political influence that, with the hacking scandal, has become the subject of much soul searching in Britain.

Admirers saw the demise of a national institution, famous for exposure of the misdemeanors of the rich, royal and famous, for its gossip and for its pictures of scantily clad women.

Critics saw in the closure a long overdue chance to cut back Murdoch's ability to influence British politicians through his global media empire.   Continued...