Why Should I Bother Reading Old Newspapers?
With the rise of digital media, you might question the value of a newspaper written twenty years ago. However, old print media offers a view of the past unencumbered by the passage of time and left untouched by scholarly analysis. You’ll see how people truly felt about an issue as it happened and learn what the world was like on any given day. Reading back issue papers doesn’t just help you understand history; it helps you understand yourself and your community. Just be aware, like most of us, that papers typically have an agenda all their own. That’s certainly true for the UK’s top-selling, conservative tabloid, The Sun.
The History of The Sun
The Sun has been casting its figurative light on the world since September 15th of 1964. Launched by the International Publishing Corporation to replace The Daily Herald, it was meant to tap into society’s desire for social radicalism and Labor Party support. However, regardless of what researchers at Sussex University had concluded, The Sun’s success proved to be short-lived. Less than five years after its first issue, the broadsheet was a few steps away from bankruptcy. That’s when Rupert Murdoch stepped in, purchasing The Sun for £800,000.
Under his leadership, The Sun relaunched as a tabloid. This first tabloid issue showcased two things that would later become synonymous with the paper itself: a controversial headline and sex appeal. After the removal of the topless models in 2013, the paper lost its right to the second. By 1981, after replacing editor Larry Lamb with Kelvin MacKenzie, the paper departed wildly from its Labor Party roots. The Sun became a highly sensational, highly- conservative paper that featured headlines such as “Freddie Star Ate My Hamster”. Throughout the eighties, The Sun became notorious for its anti-homosexual stance, its support for Margaret Thatcher and The Falklands War, and its spreading of coverage of the AIDS epidemic.
In 1989, The Sun made what many consider its biggest blunder. In its coverage of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, which left 96 people dead, the paper accused fans of picking pockets and urinating on emergency workers. To this day, circulation in Liverpool has never recovered. Throughout the aftermath of this incident, the paper remained loyal to Thatcher and her party until she resigned in 1990. After that, the paper turned viciously on the EU and the labor party. Less than six years after its worst blunder, the paper’s circulation peaked at nearly 4.5 million. That success did not last long. Due to a wide variety of editorial and production issues in the new millennium, including racist remarks and charges of corruption, the paper has failed to replicate its brightest moment.
Since its release, The Sun has changed its political leaning no less than six times during its existence. While digging through this tabloid’s archive, be prepared to read the sensationalist, outrageous, and downright opinionated.
Interesting Facts About The Sun
- The Sun has had 11 editors since its founding in 1964.
- The first featured article in the tabloid was titled "Horse Dope Sensation".
- Sowerby Bridge once banned The Sun for excessive sexual content.
- Piers Morgan once edited The Sun’s "bizarre" pop column.
The Sun’s Archives