News of the World's final issue was unleashed Sunday, complete with a statement of farewell glorifying its longstanding influence. The cover contains a montage of recent front pages sporting major headlines, such as "Fergie 'Sells' Andy for 500k" and "Harry's Racist Video Shame," and declares in the top right corner, "The world's greatest newspaper: 1843 - 2011."
The goodbye piece attempts to remind readers of how the paper has been intertwined with historic moments in its 168 year history: "In our first Christmas Eve edition, for example, on December 24, 1843, we reviewed and told the story of a new novel by a writer published just a week earlier: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Fortunately we gave it a good review and, like us, it became part of a national heritage." And further:
We also recorded the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic, two world wars, the 1966 World Cup victory, the first man on the moon, the death of Diana... the list goes on.
There is an apology too, toward the end, (but as CNN pointed out, "the apology took up only a few paragraphs in its 829-word farewell.)
Quite simply, we lost our way. Phones were hacked, and for that this newspaper is truly 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. Yet when this outrage has been atoned, we hope history will eventually judge us on all our years.
The paper also announced that profits (not "revenues" as has been noted) from the final edition would be divided among charities, and the only advertisements in the issue, according to Reuters, were also for charity. Noble gestures, certainly. But it doesn't seem to be enough. While the announcement that the paper was shutting down spawned sympathy for the 200 or so staff members who would lose their jobs, there seemed to be little sympathy for the "proud and wistful" final edition. The giant caption on the cover of the paper declares "Thank You and Goodbye" -- "It did not apologize on its cover, as some expected," noted CNN. And according to London journalist Jayne Secker's Twitter feed, "Lawyer for Milly Dowlers family says NOTW front page should have said 'We're Sorry'."