Should Murdoch sell the Sun?

An intriguing proposal from Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff.

Trevor Kavanagh's article in today's Sun is notable for its hyperbolic attack on the police investigation (Kavanagh casually dismisses alleged bribery as "standard procedure") and for its coded critique of News Corp management.

Referring to "a sensitive domestic issue within the News International 'family'", Kavanagh, one of Murdoch's longest-serving lieutenants, writes that while it is important for News Corp to protect its reputation in the US, "some of the greatest legends in Fleet Street have been held, at least on the basis of evidence so far revealed, for simply doing their jobs as journalists on behalf of the company." Kavanagh's language ("simply doing their jobs") reflects the widespread sense at the Sun that the red-top, one of Murdoch's most successful papers, has been "hung out to dry" by News Corp.

The News of the World precedent means that there is natural speculation about the future of the Sun. In the absence of anything as toxic as the Milly Dowler scandal, it's hard to see Murdoch taking the nuclear option but one of his biographers, Michael Wolff, makes a smart suggestion in the Guardian. He argues that Murdoch should sell the Sun and use the proceeds (estimated at £500-£700m) to set up a not-for-profit trust to safeguard the future of the Times and the Sunday Times. This would strengthen Murdoch's claim to be the last of the great press barons and a supporter of "quality journalism". But as long as Rupert's alive, it's likely that the Sun will remain in the News Corp family.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Show Hide image

New Digital Editor: Serena Kutchinsky

The New Statesman appoints Serena Kutchinsky as Digital Editor.

Serena Kutchinsky is to join the New Statesman as digital editor in September. She will lead the expansion of the New Statesman across a variety of digital platforms.

Serena has over a decade of experience working in digital media and is currently the digital editor of Newsweek Europe. Since she joined the title, traffic to the website has increased by almost 250 per cent. Previously, Serena was the digital editor of Prospect magazine and also the assistant digital editor of the Sunday Times - part of the team which launched the Sunday Times website and tablet editions.

Jason Cowley, New Statesman editor, said: “Serena joins us at a great time for the New Statesman, and, building on the excellent work of recent years, she has just the skills and experience we need to help lead the next stage of our expansion as a print-digital hybrid.”

Serena Kutchinsky said: “I am delighted to be joining the New Statesman team and to have the opportunity to drive forward its digital strategy. The website is already established as the home of free-thinking journalism online in the UK and I look forward to leading our expansion and growing the global readership of this historic title.

In June, the New Statesman website recorded record traffic figures when more than four million unique users read more than 27 million pages. The circulation of the weekly magazine is growing steadily and now stands at 33,400, the highest it has been since the early 1980s.