Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ten thoughts about the Sun on Sunday

There really are no big surprises. The Sun on Sunday is just the same as the Sun on Saturday (and not too different from every other day). The typography, design, tone and masthead are all instantly recognisable. Even Dear Deidre has had to give up her day off. Fabulous magazine is so much a direct lift that it still carries yesterday's dateline. There are subtle differences though. I doubt a weekday Sun would devote five early pages to the Amanda Holden interview ... and there isn't a single nipple in sight. This is definitely not a resurrected News of The World, this is The Sun. It's a safe post-Leveson tabloid newspaper, that will do its job of filling a gap in the popular Sunday market. I was hoping for something newsier, something that had a meaningful investigation, that set the agenda for the week. But the Murdoch strategy is clear. If you have the market leader six days a week, why not seven? It will no doubt sell ... and as journalists we should applaud any newspaper launch. Anyway, for those of you with nothing better to do, here are my ten random thoughts on today's first issue.

i) There isn't a F*** Me Doris or Cor F*** Me story - or even a truly classic Sun headline. The cleverest is 'HERE COM&S THE SUN' about the Beatles' song being chosen for an M&S advert. After that, 'Piggy Beck ride,' above a picture of Harper Seven on her dad's shoulders, is about as good as it gets. 

ii) The most graphic headline of the day is without doubt 'I heard splash ... it was Amanda's blood hitting floor'. Woah. Good headlines should build pictures ... but I wasn't quite ready for this one.

iii) Katie Price may have many attributes, and written many books, but maintaining a compelling column is one of the hardest things to do - even for accomplished journalists. Employing celebrities, sports people and politicians as columnists is usually to provide an insight into their exclusive world. But do Sun readers really care that Ms Price doesn't like Rachel Johnston, that she would like to have met Marie Colvin and that her name doesn't guarantee a table reservation in some restaurants? Needs to step up the game. 

iv) There may be no Page 3 girl, indeed there are no nipples at all, but there is still a semi naked Kelly Rowland on Page 3 and plenty of glamour shots, not least Holly Willoughby in a leather studded catsuit.    

v) There is one small surprise - the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, joining the ranks of the Sun's columnists. He quotes Alexander Pope and rages against unemployment. He also provides the non-sequitur of the week. His penultimate paragraph of his main piece reads: "Ours is a God of second opportunities. With that in mind, live in hope, free from fear and embrace every day that God puts before you with confidence." This sage advice is then followed by: "And if you can buy The Sun seven days a week, even better." Well, it made me laugh.

vi) As usual, one of the biggest reasons to buy the Sun is the sport or, to be more precise, the football. The Goals Plus supplement is 28-pages with every league game covered. The graphics and stats are just what you need for a bit of Sunday morning analysis. I trust Roy Keane will shake off his leash once in a while.

vii) Putting seven-day TV listings in the main paper is far from ideal. TV watchers may hang on to a mag throughout the week but Sunday's newsprint will be  pretty dog-eared by Tuesday.

viii) For typographical geeks the Sun persists with Tempo for news display, which is not only clean with impact but gives a good headline count. Far more interesting though is the Cooper Black fest in the features section. It used to be the Sun's news font - so a little bit of heritage continues. The white serif text on red on Page 15 of Fabulous is asking an awful lot.

ix) There is plenty of mainstream advertising ... so any worries about companies wanting to disassociate themselves from the paper will have evaporated. Looks like the Sun on Sunday is here to stay

x) Finally a woman's perspective ... a quick conversation with my female colleagues indicates that Fabulous is one of the best newspaper magazines around and well suited to a Sunday. They particularly like the two pages of shoes (sigh). They are also impressed with the depth of the main paper, with plenty going on for women after the centre spread. Best quote: "Nancy Dell'Olio on style ... do me a favour."

1 comment:

  1. It's Dr John SENTAMU, not Setamu