Run under world-renowned media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, The News of the World was part of the News Corporation group. Running a weekly circulation of 2,987,730 copies on average, the paper was once the highest selling Sunday newspaper in the UK. Generally the paper was considered to have a centre-right political stand, but it supported the Labour Party during Tony Blair’s three General Election wins (1997, 2001, 2005). The newspaper was printed from 1843 to 2011, after which it ceased publication. Our News of the World archive contains original copies of the newspaper that make fascinating keepsake gifts.
History of the News of the World
Founded by John Browne Bell, the first edition of the News of The World was published on October 1st 1843. This paper had an opening editorial which described the motivation behind the introduction of the publication as being made to suit all classes. In line with this, the newspaper was sold at a low and affordable price of three pence, aiming to secure circulation within the poor and rich. The first edition also went on to declare that it will ‘seek the patronage of no party’ and that it will support the prosperity of all classes. When the newspaper first began publishing, it was the cheapest newspaper available and targeted the newly literate working class. In particular, it established itself as the newspaper reporting on titillation, shock and criminal events.
Having a long standing association with the News of the World, the Carr family were part of a syndicate that acquired the publication in 1891. Sir Emsley Carr was appointed editor in 1891 and held this position for over 50 years until 1941 when he passed away. Under the Carr ownership, the News of the World became one of the biggest selling English-language publications in the world by 1950. Gaining further popularity on the 23rd October 1960, it merged with The Empire News – a Sunday newspaper for the British Empire. News of the World also had printing locations abroad, including Cyprus and Florida, USA.
In 1969 the News of the World was bought by Murdoch after he gained support from the Carr family. On the 15th November 1969, Murdoch acquired The Sun which was bought to become the daily sister paper to the News of the World. Up until present day these two publications have remained sister papers and are both still owned by the News Corporation Group. A magazine accompanied the paper from 1981 onwards and it changed its format in 1984 from broadsheet to tabloid. The magazine contained real-life stories and celebrity interviews, along with other topics such as body and soul, fashion, beauty and lifestyle.
The newspaper concentrated heavily on celebrities’ private lives and various scandals and was part of numerous controversies throughout its existence. In 2006 the paper’s royal editor, Clive Goodman and private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire were accused of accessing the private voicemail of royal aides after stories regarding Prince William were published. The accusation led to a police investigation and the two were jailed as a result. The News of the World editor at the time, Andy Coulson, resigned.
Allegations of phone hacking re-emerged in 2009 when reports of the newspaper settling claims from three victims out of court. The Metropolitan Police opened investigations in 2011 to fully review the cases raised in 2006 as more victims had stepped forward. The major turning point in the case was the revelation that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s voicemail had been targeted, a scandal the newspaper could not recover from as advertisers boycotted the publication.
After the paper was disgraced by the infamous ‘phone hacking scandal’ of 2011, it ceased operations on July 11th that same year and 200 people lost their jobs. The final edition featured the headline “Thank you and Goodbye” and the newspaper sold 3.8 million copies, which is roughly a million more than usual sales. The paper announced that the majority of the profits from the final edition would go to good causes, along with its advertising space. After the closure of News of the World, Murdoch was responsible for launching The Sun on Sunday, where some of the News of the World journalists became employed. Historic Newspapers house back issues of the News of the World up until this day and these are now truly considered ‘collectibles.’