Britons rush to buy final edition of News of the World
Britons rushed to buy the final copy of the News of the World newspaper Sunday, putting aside for a moment their disgust at the phone-hacking scandal to snap up a little piece of journalistic history.
Despite an increase in the number of copies printed this week to five million, stocks of Britain's biggest-selling weekly paper were running low at newsagents.
The paper has in recent months been selling just over 2.6 million copies a week but a surge in sales is expected for the final copy, whose front page carried the headline "Thank You and Goodbye".
New claims about phone hacking this week sparked national outrage -- but the decision Thursday to axe the publication was a shock and many were keen to buy the final edition as a souvenir.
"I think it's a bit of a shame since it has been around many, many years and it's part of British culture but they were wrong for what they were doing," Shareen Geral, a 26-year-old make-up artist told AFP as she picked up a copy at a London kiosk.
Kenny, a 24-year-old hairdresser, echoed her views, as he picked up the paper at the same kiosk outside a train station in the centre of the British capital.
"It's sad to see it go, something that has been going on for so long," he said, but added: "What they have been doing was not right. I agree with them closing the paper down."
Some shared their mixed feelings about the demise of the 168-year-old paper, part of Rupert Murdoch's huge News Corp. media empire, but others were simply irritated that Sunday would be a little less entertaining from now on.
"I am a bit annoyed because obviously it was an enjoyable paper with the sports supplement on the Sunday," said 31-year-old sales manager Martin.
The closure of the paper meant he would have to "find another paper to get on the Sunday with the same kind of quality as it has in sport", he added.
Daniel, 20, said that he did not usually buy the paper but had decided to this week.
"There is obviously a lot of stuff about the history," he said. "I don't usually buy it but obviously it's the last one so I thought I'd get a copy."
Abul Hussain, 35, the owner of another kiosk in central London, said he had sold all his copies of the paper hours earlier than normal.
"We're sold out since 9:00 o'clock (0800 GMT) this morning," he said.
Much of Sunday's final edition was dedicated to celebrating the newspaper's many world exclusives and campaigns, but it also included an apology to readers in an editorial, which said: "Quite simply, we lost our way."
New allegations this week, including claims that the paper hacked the phone of a murdered teenage girl and of the relatives of dead British soldiers, transformed a simmering scandal into a major crisis.
© 2011 AFP