When newsrooms die, the spirit does not
Tonight's farewell shift at the News of The World will be like no other.
Too many journalists have experienced such last nights but there's normally something of a build-up before the last rites. Falling circulations, takeover speculation, a shift in ownership – all of which staff read about in the Media Guardian before it makes the newsroom noticeboards.
Even when those on days off get the dreaded call at home and word spreads across the floor that “an announcement” is about to be made, there's always a sense of inevitability mixed with that of impending loss.
Final editions can engender a tremendous sense of solidarity and pledges for annual reunions, even as they work in split-screen mode with one eye on the job ads. But whatever fallout any of those working into the night tonight expected from the hacking scandal, the closure of one of the world's leading newspapers was not one of them.
(Claims that the 'brand' had been irreperably damaged, leaving closure as the only option, are, to use tabloid expletives, b*****ks, by the way. And that's understating it).
What we'll see on the stands tomorrow will be a classic of its day. If I know Colin Myler as well as I think I do, he'll produce a paper worthy of a curtain call, and one worth bringing to that first reuinon. There'll be no "splash", just a no-nonsense leader and a historical retrospective on the days when the management knew what they were doing.
Breaking news: I'm writing this in a waiting room of a car dealership next door to the now infamous MacDonalds restaurant in Wapping where all those money exchanges were said to have taken place. The only coppers in sight are the ones clanking around in the charity box on the counter.