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“Sun Up”: The Birth of a National Newspaper

26 February 2012

Today’s political news is dominated by Rupert Murdoch’s launch of his new Sun on Sunday. According to the paper’s own publicity, the new title draws on its heritage and has  keen to reference the tabloid’s history since 1969. But one part of this history has been neglected.

On 15th September 1964, the press was similarly interested in the launch of the original broadsheet Sun by International Publishing Corporation (IPC). The paper replaced the ailing Daily Herald  and launched with a readership of 3.5m.

According to The Times the brash new paper ‘burst forth with tremendous energy’. Then, as now, ‘There [was] no shortage of advertisements’ and the paper enjoyed a large initial print run. Its high circulation  was pinned down to ‘curiosity’ and the ‘advantage of novelty’ (15th Sept, pp. 10-11).

Interestingly, the new paper was also keen to set out its approach. In a front page article announcing its birth, the paper stressed: ‘It will set itself the highest journalistic standards. If inadvertently, though in good faith, we ever fall below the objectives of truth and accuracy we have set ourselves the facts will be corrected with frankness and without delay’ (15th Sept, p.1). All of this continues to resonate within a new paper that has declared itself to be ‘a new dawn’.

The 1964 Sun was, though, unable to live up to its expectation. It’s circulation soon entered a worrying decline and in 1969 IPC decided to sell the paper to Rupert Murdoch.

For his take on this later history, see:

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