I was one of more than 2.6m people who bought the first copy of the Sun on Sunday, launched today under a manifesto to campaign for its readers and champion good journalism.
Today’s leader sets out the ‘new’ paper’s approach in typically strident terms:
“Over two generations The Sun has forged a bond of trust with you, our readers. As we launch the seven-day Sun, we want to strengthen that connection with a new independent Sun Readers’ Champion to accept feedback and correct significant errors.
“Our journalists must abide by the Press Complaints Commission’s Editors’ Code, the industry standard for ethical behaviour, and the News Corporation Standards of Business Conduct. We will hold our journalists to the standards we expect of them.
“After all, a newspaper which holds the powerful to account must do the same with itself.
“You will be able to trust our journalists to abide by the values of decency as they gather news.”
An understandable tone, given what happened to its predecessor, but the jury appears to be out on this one if the critics are anything to go by (guilty until proven innocent, one could argue). Time will tell whether the ‘new’ paper, headed up by The Sun’s editor Dominic Mohan will find a distinctive, campaigning voice which sets the news agenda for the following week. I hope it does.
But my initial reaction to the ‘female friendly’ paper, which contains endorsements from Simon Cowell and George Osborne, amongst others, and a column from Katie Price (do we really need that?) is that it has some way to go before getting to this point. Today’s edition is low on quality, not hard hitting and does not feel any different from The Sun. And perhaps that’s part of the problem. The News of the World, for all its difficulties, was a ‘must read’ and incredibly influential. Yes, it carried tat. But it also covered stories that mattered to ordinary people. Its campaign for better living conditions for the armed forces was just one example of how the impact it could have on issues connected with the housing sector.
The new paper may aim to be more upstanding, which is to be supported. But it does not excite, which is a shame. I wish its journalists the best of luck in the months ahead.