The shocking closing of the News of the World – the most popular newspaper in Britain – in the wake of a phone hacking scandal has prompted fury and outrage among 200 employees who will soon lose their jobs.
David Wooding, political editor of the paper, told reports outside News International’s office in Wapping, East London: Some people are crying, very upset. People are just standing round in the office looking dazed. They just can't believe what's happened. All I am concerned about is that 200 professional people who have done nothing wrong have lost their jobs because of what's happened five or six years ago.
Wooding added: I have just been told I am on 90 days' notice. I don't know what the commercial reasons are for doing this. The [NOTW] sells four out of 10 newspapers every Sunday. Even if our circulation was halved we would still be selling more than many red tops [British tabloids].
He had also told BBC: A couple of days ago when we heard about Milly Dowler [phone hacking] – which none of us had the slightest idea about – we thought 'how can it get any worse than that?' This morning we hear the business about the soldiers and you think 'well things can get worse', and then this happens.
Colin Myler, the editor, called the announcement of the paper’s closing the saddest day of his career.
Myler told media: Whatever price this staff are paying for past misdeeds, nothing should diminish everything this great newspaper has achieved. It has one of the best campaigning and investigative records of any newspaper in the world.
Dan Wootton, the paper's entertainment editor, told the Guardian: The [reporting and editorial] team was not given the chance to turn the paper around. Obviously there is a lot of anger at the newspaper.
According to the Guardian newspaper, NOTW generates in excess of £130-million in advertising revenue every year.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) was also angered by the sudden job losses.
Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said the closure reflects contempt that the Murdoch empire has for its loyal staff. This is an act of damage limitation to salvage Murdoch's reputation and that of News International, both of which are now tarnished beyond repair … Closing the title and sacking over 200 staff in the UK and Ireland, and putting scores more freelances and casuals out of a job, is an act of utter cynical opportunism.
Separately, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has his own uncomfortable ties to the NOTW scandal, warned that senior executives at the paper, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, will likely face questioning by the police over the hacking matter.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.