Guido is trying to verify…
+++ The best-selling English language newspaper in the world is to shut after 168 years. +++
+++ Rumour The Sun staff have been told to prepare for a seven day operation.+++
UPDATE – Full Statement:
NEWS OF THE WORLD CLOSING: Full statement from James Murdoch:
N E W S R E L E A S E For immediate release Registered office: 3 Thomas More Square, Thomas More Street, London E98 1XY Registered number 81701 England Switchboard: 020 7782 6000
News International today announces that this Sunday, 10 July 2011, will be the last issue of the News of the World.
Making the announcement to staff, James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation, and Chairman, News International said:
“I have important things to say about the News of the World and the steps we are taking to address the very serious problems that have occurred.
It is only right that you as colleagues at News International are first to hear what I have to say and that you hear it directly from me. So thank you very much for coming here and listening.
You do not need to be told that The News of the World is 168 years old. That it is read by more people than any other English language newspaper. That it has enjoyed support from Britain’s largest advertisers. And that it has a proud history of fighting crime, exposing wrong-doing and regularly setting the news agenda for the nation.
When I tell people why I am proud to be part of News Corporation, I say that our commitment to journalism and a free press is one of the things that sets us apart. Your work is a credit to this.
The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company.
The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself.
In 2006, the police focused their investigations on two men. Both went to jail. But the News of the World and News International failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose.
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 I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences.
This was not the only fault.
The paper made statements to Parliament without being in the full possession of the facts. This was wrong.
The Company paid out-of-court settlements approved by me. I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so. This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret.
Currently, there are two major and ongoing police investigations. We are cooperating fully and actively with both. You know that it was News International who voluntarily brought evidence that led to opening Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden. This full cooperation will continue until the Police’s work is done.
We have also admitted liability in civil cases. Already, we have settled a number of prominent cases and set up a Compensation Scheme, with cases to be adjudicated by former High Court judge Sir Charles Gray. Apologising and making amends is the right thing to do.
Inside the Company, we set up a Management and Standards Committee that is working on these issues and that has hired Olswang to examine past failings and recommend systems and practices that over time should become standards for the industry. We have committed to publishing Olswang’s terms of reference and eventual recommendations in a way that is open and transparent.
We have welcomed broad public inquiries into press standards and police practices and will cooperate with them fully.
So, just as I acknowledge we have made mistakes, I hope you and everyone inside and outside the Company will acknowledge that we are doing our utmost to fix them, atone for them, and make sure they never happen again.
Having consulted senior colleagues, I have decided that we must take further decisive action with respect to the paper.
This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World.
Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper.
In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes.
While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organisations – many of whom are long-term friends and partners – that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity.
We will run no commercial advertisements this weekend. Any advertising space in this last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers.
These are strong measures. They are made humbly and out of respect. I am convinced they are the right thing to do.
Many of you, if not the vast majority of you, are either new to the Company or have had no connection to the News of the World during the years when egregious behaviour occurred.
I can understand how unfair these decisions may feel. Particularly, for colleagues who will leave the Company. Of course, we will communicate next steps in detail and begin appropriate consultations.
You may see these changes as a price loyal staff at the News of the World are paying for the transgressions of others. So please hear me when I say that your good work is a credit to journalism. I do not want the legitimacy of what you do to be compromised by acts of others. I want all journalism at News International to be beyond reproach. I insist that this organisation lives up to the standard of behaviour we expect of others. And, finally, I want you all to know that it is critical that the integrity of every journalist who has played fairly is restored.
Thank you for listening.”
News International Limited publishes The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World. In terms of growth, share, circulation and reader engagement, the Company’s titles are among the world’s most successful. News Printers Group Ltd prints the national titles and operates as a contract printing subsidiary for the three state of the art printing plants. Further brands which are part of the group include the Times Literary Supplement, http://milkround.co.uk and http://brandalley.co.uk.
In 2007, News International Ltd became the UK’s first carbon neutral newspaper publisher. This was achieved by increasing energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy and combined heat and power and purchasing high quality offsets.
It’s one of the better ones, but Guido doesn’t recommend you watch it at work if your boss eats muesli.
It is one thing for a hack to buy a drink for a copper, maybe even dinner, it has been standard journalistic practice for centuries to loosen the tongues of coppers. However when a hundred thousand pounds works its way into the hands of “a small number” of officers, from one newspaper, there is a serious problem. In December last year Coulson was giving evidence in Tommy Sheridan’s trial for perjury. He was asked, on oath:
TS: Did the News of the World pay corrupt police officers?
AC: Not to my knowledge.
Yet in 2003 Coulson and Brooks admitted to paying coppers “within the law”:
He must be hoping his lawyers have a better grasp of illegality, as the Standard is reporting tonight that arrests are imminent, thanks to News International giving the police a paper trail leading right to his desk. Coulson could well be editing those rumoured “Days with Dave Diary” at Her Majesty’s pleasure…
The DCMS have had a deluge of responses in the last 48 hours in their public consultation about the deal. The FT claim it will be put back to September. Not only is it going to take weeks to process and read them all, with the news that the Met are gearing up to nick people about the £100,000 paid to their coppers, the hysteria over these two very separate issues is becoming deafening. Though as Robert Peston points out this will make it a little easier to give the deal a nod.
In shocking news, apparently IPSA “does not give enough importance to helping MPs spend in a cost-effective way.” Flicking through the National Audit Office report, just released, it seems there is still a long way to go to fix MPs expenses:
“They [MPs] are not required to make use of the few existing centralised procurement mechanisms. Moreover, IPSA does not normally provide advice to MPs, beyond the rules of the scheme, on what would represent cost-effective procurement, even following explicit requests. For understandable reasons, it has not done this to date because it is keen to avoid the recreation of the so-called ‘John Lewis list’. MPs say they are generally dissatisfied with many aspects of IPSA’s advice and guidance which is not consolidated nor easily searchable.”
Guido isn’t sure that thousands and thousands of pounds of NAO resources were required to point that out.
In a rare media appearance, Chris Huhne popped up on the Today program this morning. “I am saying there is no truth in those allegations” he claimed. An odd choice of words when he reportedly told the police “no comment”. We all know what you are saying Chris, we just don’t believe you. Apparently “incompetence is not necessarily a matter for resignation…”
Forcing your wife to break the law, and instigating a cover up, is though.
The Telegraph had an OpEd from David Cameron yesterday morning. Not unusual, but it did make Guido chuckle given what he heard last night. Number 10 was approached for a piece from Dave for yesterday’s launch of the HuffPo, but apparently what was sent in was deemed too dull and “basically a press release”. There were few Cameroons at Arianna’s party, unless you count Toby Young.
Miliband jumped in to fill the void with his own post on the site today. Team Ed assure Guido that their boy wrote it all by himself. This is contradicted only by what Guido overheard discussed in the lift at the launch party last night about Bob Roberts working hard to ensure “it sounded like him” and to “get the tone right”. Ed it seems had a little help from the ex-Mirror hack. This is believed to be the closest anyone has come to actually being paid to blog for HuffPo.
In other related news, apparently we are set to enjoy another Ask Ed Miliband event on Twitter “very soon”. Given recent behaviour, Ed will no doubt just retweet the same reply to every question. Over and over again…
A poll by Survation for Channel 4 News has found 72% of the public do not believe that executives at News International were unaware of the new hacking allegations. As the nation wakes up to the confusion that the newspaper that most ardently supports our armed services was snooping on our dead servicemen, things aren’t looking good for anyone.
The country seems split on the BSkyB deal, with 48% now thinking News Corp are unfit to proceed with the deal, but that could the least of the worries. The magnificent Peter Oborne has given Cameron two barrels in the Telegraph:
“Until now it has been easy to argue that Mr Cameron was properly grounded with a decent set of values. Unfortunately, it is impossible to make that assertion any longer. He has made not one, but a long succession of chronic personal misjudgments…
So the Prime Minister is in a mess. To put the matter rather more graphically, he is in a sewer.”
Things are starting to turn for Cameron very rapidly and we’re yet to reach the bottom…