9 Jul 2011

The day the world ended

News of the World editor Colin Myler tells staff they have made “enormous sacrifices” for their parent company News Corporation, as they prepare the tabloid’s last edition.

Staff at the News of the World on their last day in the office in Wapping

In an emotional email to more than 200 staff at the Sunday tabloid, Mr Myler paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of his staff.

“I could not have been more proud or privileged to have you as my colleagues,” he wrote.

“You have made enormous sacrifices for this company and I want you to know that your brilliant, creative talents have been the real foundation for making the News of the World the greatest newspaper in the world.”

Many staff arrived this morning wearing black, while well wishers placed flowers at the door of group’s offices in Wapping.

It’s not where we want to be and it’s not where we deserve to be. But I know we will produce a paper to be proud of. NOTW editor

Consumer Editor Dan Jones tweeted the above picture with the words: “The amazing News of the World team on our last day in the office”.

Mr Myler’s email was sent out to staff as they prepared the final edition of the tabloid, drawing to a close 168 years of print.

The paper has doubled its final print run to five million as souvenir copies were already being pre-sold on eBay.

On Twitter, the News of the World‘s deputy political editor Jamie Lyons summed up the mood of the paper’s last day.

“At my NOTW desk for the last time. Let’s go out with a bang,” the 37-year-old wrote.

Watch: the demise of NOTW, including exlusive footage
News of the World prints its last edition

The reporter, who has held his current position for five years, said there was a “mixture of sadness and enormous pride” in the paper’s newsroom.

“I think everyone here is proud to have worked for what we believe is the greatest paper in the country and for a team of undoubtedly the best journalists on Fleet Street,” he said.

“It’s not really the day to feel bitter or angry. I think we are all focusing on playing our part in getting out the last edition of the paper we are so proud to have worked for.”

Mr Myler said it was a “very difficult day for us all”.

He told staff: “It’s not where we want to be and it’s not where we deserve to be. But I know we will produce a paper to be proud of.”

“Who could have imagined this time last week that we would be putting out the last edition of this great newspaper after 168 years?

“But we are – and I know that you will display the same consummate professionalism that you have always done.”

Reports suggest the final edition of the paper is likely to highlight some of the its notorious exclusives and front page stories including its famous campaign for “Sarah’s law” and numerous stings involving the “fake sheikh”, reporter Mazher Mahmood.

Despite the closure of the scandal-ridden red top, the wider scandal has yet to be put to bed by owner Rupert Murdoch.

The imminent arrival of the News Corporation chairman in London is expected, as clouds gather over his takeover plans for BSkyB.

Investors took fright yesterday, sending shares in BSkyB tumbling around 8 per cent, while broadcast regulator Ofcom has announced it will be consulting the police, MPs and the Press Complaints Commission before granting News Corp a broadcast licence.