News International 'leading by example' with Sun on Sunday, experts say

The Sun on Sunday will give News International the chance to repair its reputation and will help the Sunday market more broadly, comms experts have said.

PRWeek podcast: Warren Johnson and Rebecca Grant
PRWeek podcast: Warren Johnson and Rebecca Grant

Speaking before the news that James Murdoch had given up his News International role, Warren Johnson of W Communications and Cohn & Wolfe’s consumer MD Rebecca Grant agreed that the newspaper's launch was a step in the right direction.

Their views, expressed in the PRWeek podcast, follow on from the paper’s launch in the wake of the News of the World’s closure last year.

Johnson helped oversee the launch of the Independent’s I newspaper in 2010 and said Murdoch’s paper had a good chance of success despite the findings of the ongoing police investigations and the Leveson Inquiry.

‘They will be using the Sun on Sunday as a best practice to show they’ve tidied up their house and that everything is in order,’ he said, adding that News International could ‘lead by example with their new product'.

The Sun on Sunday splashed with the story of Amanda’s Holden’s difficult childbirth, and was seen by many commentators to have ‘softer’ approach.

It was suggested that the new content seen in the first edition could point to the newspaper competing more with titles like OK! Magazine and Hello!, with a focus on ‘good news stories’.

This shift in coverage led to the need for a fine balancing act, said Grant.

‘The spotlight is firmly on them and so they will tread very carefully,’ she said, adding that ‘the challenge is now to create interesting content with whiter than white practices’.

Both Grant and Warren, who highlighted a Financial Times’ piece stating the paper was ‘designed for an audience of one, which was Lord Justice Leveson’, were surprised at the lack of hard-nosed competition from other papers.

However, the W Communications founder added he felt it would ‘be good for the Sunday market’.

Click here to watch the full podcast

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