The Sun on Sunday launches
The Sunday edition of The Sun launched yesterday and early reports are that it has sold well. News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch, who has personally overseen the launch of the new Sunday tabloid tweeted that it has sold three million copies on its debut. Last year, Murdoch closed his corporation’s The News of the World in response to the public outcry over the phone hacking scandal.
The new Sunday paper, said its first leader column, would be “fearless, outspoken, mischievous and fun” and promised readers “you will be able to trust our journalists to abide by the values of decency as they gather news.” But the new title has not impressed the media commentariat, who have largely branded the newspaper as bland, boring and, in terms of its ability to create controversy and generally put the system on trial, not a patch on the defunct News of the World.
‘Unusually bland’ magazine-style newspaper. Writing at The Guardian, media specialist Roy Greenslade described The Sun on Sunday as “less of a newspaper, more of a magazine.” Greenslade said that, “in order to avoid giving offense and therefore hint at being a reincarnation of its deceased ugly sister, the News of the World, it appeared unusually bland,” and sniped that the “splash and the four inside pages devoted to actor Amanda Holden’s problems in giving birth read like a feature from Hello! magazine.” “Technically, it was excellent,” acknowledged Greenslade, who insisted “that’s a tribute to the subeditors and, presumably, the editor, Dominic Mohan. But overall, this was less of a paper and more of a magazine.”
“Not only were there no investigations, there were few revelations of any kind, and no hint of controversies or even surprises,” argued The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade.
Well-behaved but boring. Stephen Glover of The Independent insisted that the title is “not simply a refashioned News of the World rising from the ashes.” He pointed out that “it doesn’t have any of the filthy stories associated with the News of the World. You wouldn’t feel slightly grubby to be caught reading this, though you might be a bit bored. It is more well-behaved not only than the deceased Sunday red-top but also the weekday Sun. The Page 3 girl demurely covers her breasts, and they have even found a columnar berth for the Archbishop of York.” Glover insisted there is little “radical” about the new title and concluded that “The Sun has been revolutionary in its influence on our culture and other titles. The new paper will be a footnote. The Sun was the brightest star in his firmament. The Sunday edition of the paper is a comparatively insignificant event at the outer rim of an empire over which he cannot long preside.”
“Lord Justice Leveson will be pleased to know that Mr Murdoch has kept his promise: this is not the News by the World by another name. Those anxious for sensation or breasts or even a laugh will be less satisfied,” sighed Matthew Engel at The Financial Times.
Timid, mumbling, joyless and dull. “The paper, said its first leader column, would be ‘fearless, outspoken, mischievous and fun,’” reminded Matthew Engel of The Financial Times, who sniped, “on the evidence so far, it would be more accurate to call it timid, mumbling, joyless and dull.” Engel said that Murdoch’s aim with the launch is to spark another tabloid price war: “There is a strategy here: the paper cost only the normal weekday 50p, forcing the other redtop tabloids, produced by companies less well-heeled than News Corp, to match it; and half the pages are devoted to sport. The aim, presumably, is to grab back a share of the ever-diminishing Sunday market without the vast expense and – these days – political risk incurred by committing high-stakes tabloid journalism.” “However, in the British market, seven-day-a-week journalism has always been an expression of despair: a triumph of Accounts over Editorial,” slammed Engel. “No Sunday paper has achieved real success when produced, as this one is, by weary daily hacks for whom it is just another shift.