Wednesday, November 21, 2007

When it finally dawned on the Sun

Not that it's any of my business, but I was just a tad depressed that Rebekah Wade wrote to her staff to ask them to get behind plans to embrace the web and publish on a “truly global scale”.

It's 2007, 13 years since newspapers began to embrace a medium their kids already had and, more significantly for her, more than two years since Rupert Murdoch told editors exactly that.

The Sun has had a very successful site for a long time. Its use of images has, ahem, made it very clickable but, more importantly, they've had a clever editor in Pete Picton who knew all about recreating and enhancing a successful brand online.

A few years ago, Wade blamed the success of Sun Online for the drop in her paper's circulation. Picton was quizzed on this during a panel discussion at an AOP event shortly afterwards and diplomatically sidestepped. But we all knew it was nonsense. Web hits were growing, print sales were falling and the relationship between the two in terms of cause and effect were limited.

Even so, the Sun apart, this does paint a time capsule picture of journalism as a whole and one which rings true.

For too long, too many senior journalists dismissed the Web as they would an advertising supplement, embraced it when the penny dropped that their futures depended on it and are chasing the game in understanding the logistics of how it works.


spleenal said...

As time goes on some people will naturally move from papers to internet.
if the sun doesn't have it's own site people will just read another site. it can't be stopped.

All they can do is make sure that those reading the site know that the only way to get the "carry on up the jungle" DVD is to buy the paper.

Anonymous said...

Dear Richard,

Please forgive the intrusion,I’ve been following your blog for some time and wonder if you would mind answering a few questions. I’m a PhD student from the University of Aberdeen and I’m doing some research on online news work, particularly the social forces that are reshaping the public’s relationship to news media, the opportunities that the web has provided for innovation and new news management, and the ways in which news work and news-workers are affected by technological change. Would be fantastic if you (or anyone else reading!) could contact me at

sincere thanks,