News of the World is sacrificed – how long before we have The Sun on Sunday?
It’s not often that a news announcement can be described as truly staggering, but the news just breaking that The News of the World is to be closed down is just that.
This is Britain’s biggest selling newspaper – first published in 1843 - and an enormous cash cow for News International.
Nothing like this has ever happened in British newspapers.
It appears that James Murdoch has decided that the only way to de-contaminate the tarnished News International brand is to take the nuclear option and close down the title.
The move is also designed to save his skin and that of Rupert Murdoch’s UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks.
The wave of public revulsion that has greeted the phone hacking revelations and the withdrawal of ads by a string of big companies threatened to sweep them away.
But most of all, this move is designed to ensure that News Corporation’s bid for BSkyB goes ahead.
That is at the heart of Murdoch’s strategy, not the fate of Britain’s best-selling red top.
And I suspect it won’t be too long before we hear that the News of the World is to have an exciting successor – The Sun on Sunday.