We was had. Well and truly kippered. The ‘news’ paper so many millions of Britons devoured each day has been sent to the slaughter-house to make chops for tea. But leaving aside the issue(s) of alleged ‘phone interceptions, bribes and editorial responsibility and journalistic ethics, what have News of the World readers really lost?
Before I itemise the demise, I would like to invite you to think about that clever little title: News. Of. The. World. I repeat. News. From around the World. If it were a television sitcom, you would need to change the name of the newspaper for believability. If you were to discuss the content of this newspaper with a class of eleven year olds, they would probably suggest that the paper should be renamed.
Yet, I maintain that the title was/is part of the appeal. Although the content was a potent mix of shock, celebrity lives, bizarre human interest, political scandal with a healthy vein of libidinous copy running through, it was very rarely news in the global, or even UK sense (unless it contain all aforementioned themes). Still readers bought it by the trolley load and advertisers knew where to find their demographic.
The ‘powers that be,’ the editorial bell-ringers and white-washers, were only giving the punters what they wanted: News from around the world. Or as Lloyd Grossman would say: “Who lives in a world like that?”