'Thank you & goodbye'
Passionate readers trooped into corner shops at the crack of dawn on Sunday to pick up the last and special edition of the 168-year-old News of the World tabloid, which was abruptly closed down this week amidst allegations of phone-hacking.
Priced at one pound, the collector's edition described itself on the cover as 'The world's greatest newspaper, 1843-2011,' and signed off with the simple words: 'Thank you & goodbye' against a collage of its well known past front pages.
There were tears and hugs as journalists left their office on Saturday night after producing the final edition of what is described as an "astonishing paper (that) became part of the fabric of Britain, as central to Sunday as a roast dinner."
Image: Copies of the final edition of the News of the World
Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters
'It's not where we want to be'
Extolled by celebrated writer-journalist George Orwell as a part of British culture, the tabloid reproduced his famous quote: "It is Sunday afternoon, preferably before the war. The wife is already asleep in the armchair and the children have been sent out for a nice walk. You put your feet up on sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose and open the News of the World".
Editor Colin Myler said in his last memo to his 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."
Given the wide interest sparked off by the phone-hacking row, newspaper vendors had ordered extra copies for sale.
The tabloid, known for its astonishing scoops and entertainment news, on Sunday carried advertisements of mainly charity organisations, and a line on the front page said that 'profits from this historic edition will go to charity.'
Image: Copies of the final edition of the News of the World are printed on the presses at the News International print works in Waltham Cross, southern England
Photographs: Ian Nicholson/Reuters
'Quite simply, we lost our way'
Inside, the front page of the first issue, dated October q, 1843, was reproduced in full, while another section had a series of the tabloid's front pages of exposes, scandals and major events in British public life.
In an editorial titled We recorded history and we've made history, it expressed pride over its achievements in the past and regretted the events that led to its closure by its current owner, Rupert Murdoch, who bought the tabloid in 1969.
The editorial said, "We praised high standards, we demanded high standards but, as we are now only painfully aware, for a period of a few years up to 2006 some who worked for us, or in our name, fell shamefully short of those standards."
It added, "Quite simply, we lost our way. Phones were hacked, and for that this newspaper is sorry. There is no justification for this appalling wrong-doing. No justification for the pain caused to victims, nor for the deep stain it has left on a great history."
Image: The News Of The World editor, Colin Myler, poses for a photograph with the staff of the newspaper in their newsroom in London