Paper Monitor: News of the World final edition

  • Published
Printer James Bradley reads the final edition of the News of the World newspaper as it rolls off the press

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It is not often that British national newspapers close. You have to go all the way back to 1995 for the last one, when the Today newspaper folded.

The final edition of the News of the World is part ordinary newspaper and part paean to itself.  Its front page bears the legend: "The world's greatest newspaper 1843-2011." There is unconscious apeing of the Daily Express masthead, which has also carried the self-proclaimed "world's greatest newspaper" tag for some time.  

On the front of the News of the World is a "wraparound" featuring a montage of front pages as well as two tributes, one from an ordinary reader and one from George Orwell. On the other side of the wraparound is a reprint of the first edition front page from 1843.

That first edition makes a curious contrast to the final edition, but its editorial with a mission statement aimed at appealing to both rich and poor still seems relevant.

On page three of the final edition, an editorial celebrates 168 years of history - again featuring Orwell - before giving way to an apology for phone hacking and a plea to "judge us on all our years".


Pages four and five form a kind of greatest hits for famous undercover journalist Mazher Mahmood. He picks 12 subjects who were jailed off the back of his work, ranging from drug dealers to people smugglers.

On page six and seven, the paper's many campaigns are highlighted, with a column by Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000. That crime prompted one of the paper's most notable actions when it "named and shamed" dozens of paedophiles, later campaigning for a change in the law to allow parents to be notified when an abuser was living in their area.  

Page nine recognises a very different aspect of the News of the World, featuring a selection of scantily clad women, everyone from Kelly Brook to Beth Ditto.

From that page on there is an air of normality about the paper. Only the eagle-eyed would spot that every advert is for a charity.  

The sport section has a tribute from cricketer Richie Benaud and a double-page goodbye from sports columnist Andy Dunn.


Then there's the 48-page souvenir pullout, which showcases many of the more notable front page splashes from over the years.

Everything is represented. There's plenty of campaigning and momentous news shown, but there are also three covers showing celebrities caught snorting cocaine, tales of private lives and a classic case of a "randy bishop".

The strange thing is that the News of the World will probably have sold more copies of a single edition than it has for some time. Anyone trying to get an early edition of the paper in London would have found it selling like hot cakes.

A vendor in Leicester Square said he had sold 120 in 20 minutes, with some people buying five at a time.

The final word goes to Max Clifford, provider of so many of the kiss-and-tells that the paper was famous for.

The paper carries his tweet saying: "The saddest thing about the closure of the News of the World is the loss of jobs for those who had nothing to do with the phone hacking."