Celebrity near-death experiences, smiling topless models and puns aplenty – Rupert Murdoch has a reason to wake up on Sundays again.
Less than a year ago, the News Corp. titan swiftly shuttered the world's highest circulation Sunday paper, the News of the World, amid allegations of widespread phone hacking. But that was all so long ago (even if the 10 criminal cases, most relating to the payment of officials by journalists, will take years to resolve). And there are millions of readers without their Sunday News Corp. fix – some 2.7 million read the notorious News of the World.
But rather than dwell on the ethical breaches that were pervasive at the Sun's sister paper, Mr. Murdoch has simply added an extra day of publication at the Sun to make up for the hole left in his UK publishing schedule.
And don't worry about all that ethical stuff about hacking and bribing: the paper vowed in its introductory note on its website that it's totally not going to break any laws.
“News International closed our sister paper the News of the World over the phone hacking scandal. Since then 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. It has been a sobering experience for our entire industry. But it is vital to remember that The Sun has been responsible for some truly outstanding, award-winning investigative and campaigning public interest journalism.”
See? Everyone has been sobered, so read on. And the note is being pretty modest – it didn't even mention the thousands of Page 3 girls who have graced its pages wearing nothing but a smile (sometimes pants, too).
Here's what else you would find if the paper landed on your doorstep today.
When the first pictures of the front cover began to leak on Twitter, rumours instantly began to circulate that the image was a fake. As interesting as Amanda Holden may be – and I have no idea if she is or not since she's a judge on Britain's Got Talent and has never been on my television – pundits were confused about why the “inside story” of the difficult birth of her daughter would merit a cover and five pages of inside coverage of the most anticipated newspaper launch in decades. Great headline, though since she's alive to tell the story it loses a little oomph: “My heart stopped for 40 seconds.”
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First flash of skin
The Sun is famous for its smiling Page 3 girl, although she's better known for her toplessness than her smile. The Sun on Sunday is apparently targeted toward women, so the paper toned it down. Sunday, the photo is of X Factor star and former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland. She's naked, sure, but her arms are crossed over her chest.
First celebrity grandmother story
Adele's Brit pain over nan: Adele bravely battled through the Brits after her doting gran was rushed to hospital following a heart attack.
First headline pun
“Someone likes cue” runs above the page three story about how Adele has THREE (caps theirs) snooker tables in her house.
First funny but confusing headline
“Mandelly Belly: Anti-apartheid hero Nelson has stomach surgery”
First use of giant, red EXCLUSIVE tag
Britain has a plan to invade Iran, the paper reports. Under a red headline that says “Army, subs and jets ready,” the story outlines that the army, subs and jets are indeed ready (according to anonymous sources).
Guest columnist with most to prove
Katie Price is one of the paper's most famous Page 3 girls, and she said in a story Saturday that her new column will be a chance to prove she's about more than “fake tans and boobs.” Her debut column tackles the question of “why are people always blaming failing schools for failing kids.” A full size body shot appears next to the column, but she's clothed. The photo appears above a column outlining her thoughts about Whitney Houston's death: “I know I've lived my life in front of the cameras,” she writes for some reason. “But death is different.”
First Canadian scoop
Ok, not really. But on Page 24, there's a little ad for a Drake concert. It's on July 7, by the way.
First ironic advertisement
Cellphone provider Three takes out a full page to advertise its new data plans. The ad comes a few pages after the editorial, which is titled “A new Sun rises today.” In it, the paper points out it had to point out the hacking scandal was “sobering.” But it vowed to obey the law, and added the paper has “always been a force for good.” So go ahead, get the extra-large voicemail inbox.
Here are a few other things the world now knows thanks to a Sunday publishing schedule at the Sun: David Beckham gives his daughter piggyback rides, Holly Willoughby “ditches her smart TV reporting clothes and turned herself into “a leather clad biker babe,” and an Arthur Dent-like tenant refused to “quit his flat overlooking the Olympics stadium,” which sits on the site of the future BBC broadcasting centre.