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Sunday papers in the UK | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Sunday papers in the UK

Sunday papers in the UK

Sunday papers in the UK

London, Asharq Al-Awsat-Like their American counterparts, the Sunday newspapers of Britain contain numerous supplements of varied topics, to the extent that its vast content is sold wrapped in plastic bags. However, unlike American counterparts, most British Sunday newspapers are completely independent from the main weekday papers. Not only do they have their own editing team but they also have a private budget, private resources, maybe even a separate building and different political inclinations.

It is well known that the ”Guardian” is not distributed on Sundays as the owning publisher issues the ”Observer”. As an example of the difference in political tendencies, many are aware that the ”Guardian” opposed the decision of Tony Blair”s government to participate in the war on Iraq whilst the ”Observer” supported this step.

As for the popular tabloid, ”The Sun”, it paves the way on Sunday for ”News of the World”. Some people are mistaken in thinking that the ”The Sunday Times” is the Sunday version of the former, ”The Times” newspaper.

Although they are both publications of the same company, Times Newspapers of the News Corp, they are completely independent of each other.

Even the Sunday Times wasn”t known by this moniker at first. When it was established in 1821, it was called the ”New Observer” to compete with the ”Observer”. Its publisher and editor-in-chief, Henry White, later decided to bank on the success of ”The Times”, which is not issued on Sundays, by calling his new publication ”The Sunday Times”. Even when Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the News Corp organization later merged the two newspapers, he preserved the independence of both. Yet, why do most people maintain the idea that the Sunday issues are an extension of the daily paper? Kathleen Herron, deputy managing editor of the Sunday Times believes that the similarity of names is most probably the reason, and suggests that in many cases the similarity is intentional. She then confirms that there is no connection between the two newspapers at all but rather, &#34There is competition between us, especially now, after the success of the Sunday only issues. Daily newspapers now support their Saturday issues with more pages, supplements and gifts in an attempt to undermine the success of the Sunday papers. The proof is that both Saturday and Sunday issues include a TV-guide for the following week.&#34

The Sunday phenomenon

what are the reasons behind the incredible success of Sunday press? Herron says that the concept of Sunday depends on the weekend in the west. Most people have more time to go through the paper as opposed to during the week when they are more than likely rushed due to work.

Heron reinforced the importance of the ”Review” sections that cover the week”s incidents, saying that the Sunday papers have come to represent more than only this. As Sunday is a family day, the papers also seek to address the whole family. It is for this reason that the Sunday Times contains supplements about culture, fashion, business and the ”Fun day Times” supplement for kids. The Sunday issues enjoy success in the form of extensive sales and numerous advertisements.

In fact, the Sunday newspapers are a magnet for advertisements in the UK. Kathleen Herron explains that advertisers always seek to attract the maximum range of customers and our figures indicate why they should advertise in our newspaper. Statistics provided by the Newspaper Marketing Agency show that the Sunday Times sells approximately one million and 400,000 copies every Sunday whilst The Times sells 700,000 copies on the other weekdays. Herron adds that, &#34We constantly give Mr. Murdoch reasons for the Times” success&#34 when it comes to sales and advertisements. She says that it costs approximately three pounds sterling to produce one copy, whereas the newspaper is actually sold for half of this cost, highlighting the importance of the income from advertising for the sustenance of the newspaper.

Other newspapers figures are 441,000 copies for the Observer on Sunday, against 372,000 copies for its weekday publication The Guardian.

On the other hand, The Sun comes close to News of The World with a rate of 3 million copies. All figures have been obtained from the British Newspaper Marketing Agency, NMA.

The Sunday Times

The Sunday Times appears every Sunday with the newspaper itself in

addition to thirteen other supplements and magazines. As a weekly publication, it requires just as much effort as the daily newspapers. Work begins on the Sunday Times from Tuesday morning, when the first editorial meeting is held, until Saturday night when the newspaper is sent to be printed. The newspaper like the specialized supplements and magazines has most of its material prepared during the week.

Preparation begins in good time for the issues of the coming weeks.

What also helps is that sports pages, for example, are not subject to time, unless some scandal or breaking news comes up. Naturally, news pages are subject to stories of the final hour especially because it is a weekly publication. On many occasions, the editorial team may be busy processing one story only to find another daily newspaper covering it before them. After a short outburst of pressure, the team will quickly agree on another story and their minds start ticking again. There are 315 people working for the Sunday Times, varying from journalists to graphics designers, assistants, page builders and production managers. Another 150 contracted photographers and writers in addition to other journalists who send articles and reports covering special events.

By 6.30pm on Saturday, the editing of the first issue of that week would be completed and then sent for printing. According to Herron, there is what she calls &#34A gentleman”s agreement&#34, that goes back to old times when editors-in-chief of weekly papers agree to send a copy of its coming issue to its competitor. This tradition is known as ”Show me what you have and I”ll show you what I have!&#34 Yet, is it not possible that the competitor adapts some material or changes the order of its content before the final issue? Herron replies, &#34It is likely and does happen sometimes, but that is the way things go.&#34