News of the World to shut down
Phone hacking scandal brings end to 168-year-old tabloid paper
- 4,000 people targeted
- 200 jobs lost
- Sun paper won't pick up Sunday slack
News Corp. is closing its controversial British tabloid News of the World in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
This coming Sunday's edition will be the final run for the tabloid, News Corporation executive James Murdoch — son of Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch — told staff on Thursday.
News Corp. claims the 168-year old Sunday-only tabloid is read by more people than any other English-language newspaper. Close to three million copies are sold every Sunday.
But that isn't apparently enough to save it from its latest scandal.
The paper has been sharply criticized this week for revelations it hacked into the cellular phone and voicemail of a missing girl in England in 2002.
The tabloid is accused of hacking into the cellphone messages of victims ranging from missing schoolgirls to grieving families, celebrities, royals and politicians in a quest for attention-grabbing headlines.
Police say they are examining 4,000 names of people who may have been targeted by the paper.
"If recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company," the younger Murdoch said.
"The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself."
Murdoch said all revenues from Sunday's final edition will go to "good causes," he said.
The paper will have no commercial advertising, and instead that space "will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works," Murdoch said.
British media reported Thursday that the domain www.sunonsunday.co.uk was registered on July 5, fuelling speculation that the death of the News of the World is merely a chance to rebrand a tainted name and relaunch a Sun paper on Sundays.
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News International spokeswoman Daisy Dunlop denied rumours that the Sun, the News of The World's sister paper that publishes Monday through Saturday, would become a seven-day operation to pick up the slack. Still, she seemed to leave room for further developments.
"It's not true at the moment," she said.
While many people will be absorbed into other News Corp. titles, Dunlop said Thursday as many as 200 jobs will be axed.
Features editor Jules Stenson said the news was met with gasps and some tears. "There was no lynch mob mentality, there was just a very shocked acceptance of the decision," he told reporters outside the company's London headquarters. "No one had any inkling."
The Guardian reported Thursday that a warrant for the arrest of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has been issued.
Coulson was editor of the paper during many of the periods under review. He later quit to become press secretary to current British PM David Cameron before resigning in January.
With files from The Associated Press