Final edition of NOTW published

Sat, Jul 9, 2011, 01:00

The News of the World made its excuses and left tonight.

The best-selling newspaper signed off after 168 years with the headline: “Thank You & Goodbye”.

Photographs posted on micro-blogging site Twitter showed journalists gathered round the red top’s last front page as the printing presses prepared to roll.

It was the climax of an emotional day at the Sunday tabloid’s Wapping headquarters and came as News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch prepared to fly to London to deal personally with the swiftly unfolding phone hacking crisis which brought the paper to its knees.

After an intense day in the office, the final edition highlights the paper’s long history of successful campaigns and dramatic revelations.

On its back page are two quotes.

The first, from George Orwell’s Decline of the English Murder written in 1946, reads: “It is Sunday afternoon, preferably before the war.

“The wife is already asleep in the armchair and the children have been sent out for a nice long walk.

“You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose, and open the News of the World.”

The second quotation, from Jeanne Hobson, Lymington, Hants, and written this year, states: “I have read this paper since I was old enough to read newspapers.

“I’m 68 now. I cannot imagine Sundays without you.

“I will always remember the News of the World for the good things you have brought to light. I am sad to say goodbye to my Sunday favourite.”

As the paper went to press, News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch continued to give his full backing to embattled News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, insisting she had his “total” support.

“We already apologised,” he told reporters in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he has been attending a media conference.

“We’ve been let down by people ... the paper let down its readers.”

Ms Brooks, a former editor of the paper, has remained defiant as the scandal engulfing the tabloid gathered pace in recent weeks.

Resisting calls for her resignation, she has told MPs she had “no knowledge whatsoever” of hacking when she edited the Sunday paper.