Sun on Sunday launch shows there's fight in Murdoch yet

Feb 24, 2012

But if it succeeds, it could change forever how Sunday newspapers produced

NEWS INTERNATIONAL has announced it will publish the Sun on Sunday for the first time this weekend having closed the News of the World last July at the peak of the phone hacking scandal. Is the launch good news for journalism - or bad news for journalists?

Murdoch's still got it
Three weeks short of his 81st birthday, Rupert Murdoch can still do it, says an editorial in The Guardian. "The old newspaperman remains the arch-magician of print." Anything that appears to increase the diversity of voices in the press and which gives employment to journalists in troubled times is welcomed. So, let's wish the Sun shines brightly "while still keeping very focused on learning the lessons of the past".

You can accuse Rupert Murdoch of many things, but defeatism ain't one of them, says Catherine Rushton in The Daily Telegraph. The Sun has been accused of hacking and bribery crimes, too, but the popular daily is more likely than the NotW to "brazen it out". And by launching now, it will have time to share in the advertising windfall expected to accompany the London Olympics.

Has he learnt anything?
Alas, Rupert Murdoch doesn't do remorse for very long, says Polly Toynbee in The Guardian. Some celebrate the media tycoon's chutzpah, but what is "hailed as a victory for journalism is a sign that despite it all, News Corp's boss won't get his comeuppance in the UK".

Pity the workers
I suppose we should be grateful for the Sun, blogs Steven Baxter for the New Statesman. That print is still alive and that there is demand for the Sun at all is something. But what does it mean for the Sunday newspaper marketplace? Baxter's sympathies go to "the poor souls in Wapping working harder and harder to keep churning it out".

They're unlikely to get big pay rises and bonuses in the current less-is-more media climate, Baxter argues. And if it succeeds, it could open the floodgates to more mergers, more of the same - "and that could change Sundays forever".

Sophy Ridge, blogging for Sky News, says many former News of the World staffers are unhappy they have not been re-employed, while Sun staff dread working on a seven-days-a-week operation. And it remains to be seen if "former News of the World readers will become loyal readers of the Sun on Sunday".

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