Newspaper 'sacrificed to save one woman'

Staff rage as News of the World is closed over hacking scandal, while Rupert Murdoch refuses to comment on rumours of new Sunday paper

Rupert Murdoch announced the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World yesterday in a desperate attempt to limit the ongoing scandal over phone hacking, as the paper's former editor, Andy Coulson, prepared to be arrested.

The shock decision was revealed to staff at Mr Murdoch's News International newspaper in an email from his son James, the News Corp deputy chief operating officer, who said: "The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself."

Journalists raged that they had been betrayed by Rebekah Brooks, News International's chief executive, who faces calls for her resignation, after revelations that the NOTW under her editorship hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

"Murdoch has sacrificed a newspaper to save one woman," said one member of the newsroom on a day of dramatic developments in the phone-hacking scandal. These include:

* Mr Coulson, David Cameron's former director of communications, is expected to be arrested and questioned over what he knew about phone hacking at the NOTW under his editorship;

* James Murdoch denied perverting the course of justice by authorising payments to hacking victims;

* The Government's decision on News Corp's proposed takeover of BSkyB is expected to be delayed once the consultation period closes later today;

* The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, signalled he will call for the Press Complaints Commission to be scrapped and replaced after failing to stop the hacking, labelling it a "toothless poodle";

* Major advertisers continued their exodus from the Sunday red-top, with Sainsbury's, Asda, O2, Boots, Specsavers, Dixons and npower joining companies such as Ford ;

* The Royal British Legion cut its ties with the paper over allegations that it hacked the phones of families of soldiers killed in Iraq.

Ms Brooks visited the newsroom, where she had a terse exchange with the editor Colin Myler, who will bring out the last edition of the paper this Sunday. It is understood she had discussed resigning with James Murdoch but that she did not make an offer to do so.

The final paper, which News International has decided will feature no advertising, will carry a large apology on its front page. The title – which once sold eight million copies a week – was sacrificed as Rupert Murdoch sought to stop the toxic publicity it has attracted.

James Murdoch said: "Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued. As a result, the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter. We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences." He also admitted that the NOTW had given misleading evidence to MPs, saying: "The paper made statements to Parliament without being in the full possession of the facts. This was wrong."

Ms Brooks and James Murdoch are in charge of News International's operations at its headquarters in Wapping, east London, and both have been criticised heavily for their failure to uncover the extent of phone hacking.

Rupert Murdoch has a history of closing newspapers in Britain, having shut down Today, the last national title to fold, in 1996. News International confirmed yesterday that 200 members of staff would be invited to seek jobs elsewhere in the organisation.

In the NOTW newsroom, journalists saw the story flash up on television screens. Animosity was directed towards senior executives, with one member of staff describing Ms Brooks' role in the affair as "morally repugnant".

Mr Myler, who was appointed editor in 2007, with a brief to clean up the paper's reputation, reacted angrily to Ms Brooks' invitation for him to address staff. "I will say some words to my staff after you've gone," he is said to have told her.

Rumours were circulating last night that News Corp was planning to return to the Sunday tabloid market by launching The Sun as a Sunday newspaper and that Mr Murdoch had seized an opportunity to be rid of what had become a damaging brand, as well as making cost savings and improving efficiency. The name "Sun on Sunday" has been registered this week along with the domain name thesunonsunday. co.uk, observers noted.

Critics of News International's handling of the phone-hacking inquiry, including Lord Prescott and the Labour MP Tom Watson, were quick to dismiss the closure of the News of the World as a rebranding exercise, which would not draw a line under the affair.

Mr Watson said: "Rupert Murdoch did not close the News of the World. It [was closed by the] revulsion of families up and down the land. It was going to lose all its readers and it had no advertisers left. They had no choice."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Account Manager / Sales Account Manager / Recruitment Account Manager

£25k Basic (DOE) – (£30k year 1 OTE) : Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright A...

Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

Trend Writer / Copywriter

£25 - 30k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Trend Writer / Copywriter: Retail, Design and...

Business Development Manager / Media Sales Exec

£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering