Murdoch’s new Sun rises, with a vow to behave and a hint of mischief


Rupert Murdoch has not quite given it his all. The first issue of his much-trumpeted Sunday edition of The Sun does have a naked page-three girl, but the paper is still a coyly nipple-free zone because she has been shot with her hands clutching her breasts.
A concession to the Sabbath? Or to the twin commercial desires to hold on to the lads among potential readers without alienating lassies?
The cover story of the new tabloid was aimed squarely at female readers. It featured a Madonna and Child shot of blonde celebrity Amanda Holden, a judge on the Britain’s Got Talent show, talking about how she nearly died during childbirth.
Forget the tough investigative reports of the fake sheikh in the old News of the World, the paper Mr Murdoch shut down over phone hacking, and the paper the Sunday Sun is designed to replace. This story was pure girl-talk. Ms Holden and her husband told how she lost 15 litres of blood, which hit the floor like a bucket of water and created a scene from a horror movie, the sudden loss of fluid shrinking her face to half its normal size and stopping her heart for 40 seconds.
Mr Murdochpersonally supervised the final stages of the celebrity-heavy edition on Saturday night.
The celebrity-heavy paper had 92 pages plus a 28-page football pull-out and it is believed 3 million copies were printed.
Mr Murdoch pulled the plug on his most successful title, the Sunday tabloid News of the World, last July because it had become too tainted by phone-hacking after revelations it had broken into the voicemail of the murdered 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Its replacement, which he hopes will pick up many of the 800,000 News readers who have not gravitated to other titles, took pains yesterday to promise it would behave itself.
In an editorial headlined “A new Sun rises today”, the paper said it would be “fearless, outspoken, mischievous and fun” and that the daily Sun had been a “tremendous force for good” over the years.
Of the cloud hanging over the masthead – 10 senior journalists have been arrested over payments to police – it said: “Some of our own journalists have been arrested, though not charged, over allegations of payments to public officials for stories. We believe those individuals are innocent until proven guilty.”
But the paper said it would have an independent “Sun readers’ champion” who would “accept feedback and correct significant errors”.

First published in the Sydney Morning Herald.