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Amid a public backlash and the withdrawal of advertising, News International announced the closure of the newspaper on 7 July 2011.The scandal deepened when the paper was alleged to have hacked into the phones of families of British service personnel killed in action.The paper's Football Annual was a long-standing publication, and a Household Guide and Almanac was also published at one time.By 1950, the News of the World had become the biggest-selling newspaper in the world with a weekly sale of 8,441,000 and individual editions sold over 9 million copies.
Matthew Engel, in his book Tickle the Public: One Hundred Years of the Popular Press (Gollancz, 1996), says that the News of the World of the 1890s was "a very fine paper indeed". As one writer later related: Frederick Greenwood, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, met in his club one day Lord Riddell, who died a few years ago, and in the course of conversation Riddell said to him, "You know, I own a paper." "Oh, do you? " "It's called the News of the World—I'll send you a copy", replied Riddell, and in due course did so.Next time they met Riddell said, "Well Greenwood, what do you think of my paper?" "I looked at it", replied Greenwood, "and then I put it in the waste-paper basket.It had a reputation for exposing national or local celebrities' drug use, sexual peccadilloes, or criminal acts, setting up insiders and journalists in disguise to provide either video or photographic evidence, and phone hacking in ongoing police investigations.From 2006, allegations of phone hacking began to engulf the newspaper.