Rupert Murdoch oversees first edition of Sun on Sunday

 
Rupert Murdoch holds the first edition of the Sun on Sunday newspaper Rupert Murdoch said he would be happy with sales of substantially over two million

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News International's new Sunday edition of the Sun has gone on sale.

Leading with an interview with Amanda Holden, it had a three million print run and aims to sell over two million.

It follows the closure of the Murdoch-owned News of the World last year in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

The first edition of the new Sunday title is light on kiss-and-tell stories and former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie said: "I like sleaze on Sunday so I feel slightly robbed."

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "This is not trying to be the News of the World with the Sun logo on it."

Media commentator Roy Greenslade described the new paper as "bland" and said: "Sunday papers are going out of fashion anyway, both tabloid and broadsheets, and it will be interesting to see if he (Rupert Murdoch) can turn that around."

He told BBC Radio 4 it read like a cross between Hello and Take A Break magazines and added: "What struck me is the paper's soft focus. Everyone is mentioned in a very kind way.

Analysis

It is recognisably the Sun, rather than the News of the World: an upbeat family paper with no sleaze, no kiss'n'tells

"There is a clear intention to draw a line under the News of the World and that type of intrusive journalism."

On the front page - and four inside pages - of the 50p title TV judge and actress Amanda Holden talks of how she nearly died giving birth to her daughter.

The paper's columnists include chef Heston Blumenthal; the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu; "fashion expert" Nancy Dell'Olio; retired footballer Roy Keane; and political writer and Free Schools pioneer Toby Young.

The editor of the daily edition of the Sun, Dominic Mohan, will also be in charge of the new Sunday edition. He is understood to have met Mr Murdoch at the press production site on Saturday evening.

'Old favourites'

Columnist Katie Price - the glamour model formerly known as Jordan - pays tribute to Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, who was killed in Syria earlier in the week.

Billboards outside News International in Wapping advertise the new Sun on Sunday, which is to launch on February 24 Saturday's Sun described the launch as a "brilliant new era"

"She was just the sort of woman who impresses me - utterly fearless," writes Price.

The paper also features "old favourites" such as Dear Deidre, Mystic Meg, Bizarre and TV Biz.

The Sun, which also includes 45 pages of sports coverage, said "thousands of copies" had been ordered for British forces overseas, which will be flown to bases in Afghanistan, the Falkland Islands and elsewhere.

The first edition of the Scottish Sun on Sunday used the headline Day of Destiny and claimed to name the date of the independence referendum - 18 October 2014.

Neville Thurlbeck, the former News of the World reporter who has denied hacking phones while at the paper, tweeted: "Sun ushers in new tabloid era. It's not NOtW but vital post Leveson (inquiry) product. The king is dead. Long live the queen."

Media commentator Steve Hewlett described the move to launch the title as a "weekend's welcome distraction" for News International chief executive Rupert Murdoch, amid the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and police investigation into phone hacking.

The Leveson Inquiry resumes on Monday, after a two week hiatus, with Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who is leading Scotland Yard's new inquiry into phone hacking, email hacking and corrupt payments to the police, appearing for a second time.

The police investigation has led to 30 arrests so far, among them 10 current and former senior staff at the Sun.

An editorial in the first edition of the new Sunday newspaper reads: "We believe those individuals are innocent until proven guilty.

"It has been a sobering experience for our entire industry."

The editorial adds that the paper had been a "tremendous force for good".

The paper also announced it will have an independent Sun Readers' Champion "to accept feedback and correct significant errors".

Last year the 168-year-old News of the World was closed following revelations that staff employed by the newspaper hacked the phones of public figures.

 

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