Last Thursday, July 7, James Murdoch announced that the next issue of News of the World would be the 168-year-old tabloid's last. The weekly paper is no stranger to controversy and sensational stories, but in the wake of the ongoing investigations into a phone-hacking scandal, the News of the World was struggling to find advertisers to fill its pages.
The Atlantic's own Dominic Tierney summarized the scandal the day after it was announced the paper would fold:
The News of the World is Britain's biggest selling newspaper. In fact, with a circulation of 2.7 million, it easily outsells every American paper. But after 168 years, the News of the World is running its last edition this weekend. Murdoch decided to ax the paper after allegations that it bribed police officers for information, lied to Parliament, and hacked into the voice mail messages of not only a murdered girl but also victims of a terrorist attack and soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest media stories we've seen in years. But how to follow it? The British press has access to necessary sources that many American publications do not, but it is unlike anything we have in the United States. The newspapers of Great Britain face strict libel laws, but many of them make stories up anyway. Some are obviously right-wing; others fall somewhere to the left of center. And then there's the issue of the Murdoch family itself. Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and dozens of other media properties, has a stranglehold on the British press.