current affairs

Analysis: Can The Sun prevail with an ombudsman?

2012 has not been a good year for The Sun.

2012 has not been a good year for The Sun. Its parent company, News International is still recovering from the effects of the phone hacking scandal which has put a stain on the state of British journalism, with the tabloid’s 21st journalist or executive arrested in the case involving payments to police officers and public servants, according to a Guardian report.

2012 has also been another year with the publication continuing to weather controversies, from the publication of nude photos of Prince Harry to calls to remove Page 3, to the controversy surrounding the request of an apology from police in South Yorkshire to its former editor Kelvin MacKenzie. Now, The Sun is looking to start fresh, with the appointment of Philippa Kennedy as the publication’s first ombudsman.

Kennedy’s appointment comes after The Sun pledged to strengthen its connection with readers when the Sun on Sunday was launched earlier this year, replacing the News of the World which closed in 2011. “For two generations The Sun has forged a bond of trust with you, our readers,” the paper’s editorial read on the first issue, according to The Guardian. “As we launch the seven-day Sun, we want to strengthen that connection.”

The Sun’s editor Dominic Monahan said in a press release by News International that “maintaining the trusted relationship between our 7.3 [million] readers and Britain’s best-selling newspaper is key to the title’s continuing success,” according to The Guardian. Monahan added that Kennedy was “a highly respected journalist and broadcaster whose career spans 40 years.”

Kennedy said in the release that she wants to restore the trust in British journalism. “The industry has been through a bit of a battering and I want to play a part in restoring people’s faith in British journalism,” Kennedy said according to The Guardian. “Reporters strive for accuracy but things can go wrong. What’s important is how they’re put right.”

Kennedy does however have a few challenges in the midst of a culture of controversial content, phone hacking and illegal payments. Can she restore the confidence of the publication and indeed the company at the center of a scandal which has rocked not just itself but the rest of the industry? Moreover, what are the implications of this appointment on the future of the restoration of British journalism in light of the phone hacking scandal?

In order for Kennedy’s appointment to be successful, those are the points which she must address. Otherwise, the controversy will continue, and the internal culture at The Sun is to continue unchanged. British journalism is the best in the world, and it can continue to be, so long as a scandal like this never emerges again.

Philippa Kennedy therefore has her work cut out for her in her attempts to restore British journalism and its trust, especially at the core of what has made The Sun what should be – journalism.


What do you think? Is The Sun’s decision to appoint an ombudsman a right one? Have your say below.