The announcement that this Sunday will be the last issue of News of the World, the 168-year-old British tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., shocked the publication’s employees, readers, and those around the world who have been following the phone hacking scandal during the past week.
But information has now emerged that shows shuttering News of the World may have come not as a knee-jerk reaction but as part of a longer-term plan to integrate with the Sun, another Murdoch-owned publication.
BBC business editor Robert Peston had earlier said that some of the companies that pulled their advertising from the News of the World in reaction to the scandal had shifted it to its sister daily paper, the Sun.
Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International (a publisher owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. that publishes both the Sun and News of the World ), made a statement in June about a new managing editor structure that would integrate News Interational’s daily and Sunday titles, saying:
We will take a comprehensive look at where there is common ground across our titles and where we should remain unique.
Where there is common ground we will find ways of implementing efficiencies to editorial systems and processes and, where appropriate, we will find ways of introducing seven day working.
The integration of Sun and the News of the World included Richard Caseby, the current managing editor at the Sunday Times, who was appointed group managing editor with responsibility for both publications.
News International has declined to comment on rumors that a Sunday edition of the Sun will be launched.
Many noted the possibility of the integration wryly on Twitter:
The sun are doing a seven days a week paper that is what i call a rebranding #notw
#NOTW closure looks like a stitch-up. It gets folded into the Sun, no hacking culprits lose jobs, biz as usual at News Corp. Pure wind.