Sad News of the World staff rally for final edition

9th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

As they put the finishing touches to the final News of the World, staff at the British tabloid expressed sadness Saturday at the phone-hacking scandal that killed it off, but vowed to go out with a bang.

"It's quite strange really. We're bringing out a paper as we do every week. But the mood's one of, 'Gosh, this is really the last time', and when we walk out of here tonight it's all over," said political editor David Wooding.

"This huge edifice, a great British brand, the most successful, profitable and highest selling paper, is gone."

Despite anger at owner Rupert Murdoch's decision to make Sunday's edition the last ever, a spokeswoman said every member of the 168-year-old title's staff turned up on Saturday to make the final newspaper one to remember.

"At my NOTW desk for the last time. Let's go out with a bang," tweeted the newspaper's deputy political editor, Jamie Lyons.

Murdoch pulled the plug on Thursday after the long-running scandal over phone hacking at the tabloid exploded into a national row with claims that murdered children and relatives of soldiers killed in combat were among those targeted.

Few of the more than 200 staff who will lose their jobs this week worked on the paper at the time of the alleged hacking, during the early to mid 2000s, and there was a sense of frustration that they were the ones being punished.

"We do feel like we have paid the price for a small group of people who are no longer at the paper," Lyons said, defending the current staff as people of "enormous ability" and "unimpeachable integrity".

Speaking to reporters outside the News of the World's offices in east London, Wooding said the final edition would include a look back at some of its famous front pages and a copy of the first print 168 years ago.

Chief sub editor Alan Edwards added: "We are like a family up there and there's very much that feel that we're all pulling together.

"It's obviously very sad, but I think what's important is that we are all professional journalists and we are all incredibly proud of what we do."

Helen Moss, a news and features sub editor, said the final day in the office had been "extremely sad" and emotional. "But every single one of us working up there today is very proud of working for the News of the World," she said.

Executives at News International, the paper's parent company, have promised to try to find jobs for all those left unemployed by the closure, and a Sunday edition of the daily Sun tabloid is reportedly being considered.

© 2011 AFP

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