The 25th and last editor of the News of the World – Colin Myler – led his journalists out on Saturday night to face the world’s media after putting the 8674th and final edition of the paper to bed.
He said: ‘It is not a record of any editor to want to close a title – of course I didn’t close it. I want to pay tribute to this wonderful team of people here who after a really difficult day have produced a brilliantly professional newspaper.”
He added: “As I said to the staff this morning, this is not where we wanted to be or where we deserve to be. But as a final tribute to 7.5 million readers, this is for you and for the staff. Thank you. In the best tradition of Fleet Street, we are going to the pub.”
On Twitter, former News of the World reporter Sophy Ridge, said a “tearful” Myler had earlier “banged out” the staff in the traditional Fleet Street manner by himself.
This came after he rallied reporters together with a personal email in which he told employees: “I know we will produce a paper to be proud of”.
The paper’s apology, which was printed on page three, read: “We praised high standards, we demanded high standards but, as we are now only too 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.
“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.”