The move by Rupe’s downmarket troops to establish the Super Soaraway Sunday Steamer has shaken up the Sunday tabloid market: it could hardly be otherwise, with a sale of over 2.5 million for its first three editions. Moreover, the 50p cost has sparked a price war, with the People, and the Daily Star Sunday, both of which have followed the Murdoch lead.
For the latter title, one might have thought that, given the amount of dosh that Richard “Dirty” Desmond claims to be raking in, he could stand a few weeks’ price cutting and trade this off against longer term market share. But that thought was shown to be misplaced, as a clear-out of pundits was announced by the deeply subversive Guardian last week.
The article claimed that Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow – admittedly not of a political stance that many Star readers would share – had been axed, along with broadcaster Matthew Wright, and former footballer and manager Graeme Souness. Des’ firm would not comment, but Ms Bercow confirmed her exit via Twitter. And there can only be one reason for the exits.
And that reason is money: far cheaper to use the space for more stories off the PA wire, recycled press releases, or re-heated copy from other sources, rather than pay a pundit of potentially inconvenient stance. Most Daily Star Sunday regulars would not have noticed the departure, save those who would check out Souness’ opinions on the world of football.
But one recently instigated column is staying put, and that is the domain of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, from the Guido Fawkes blog. The less than dynamic duo appeared once more in yesterday’s Star, with their latest offering showing precisely zero comments as at 1700 hours today.
Given that Staines and Cole are little-known outside politics, and that few Daily Star Sunday readers will have heard of them, that seems a strange move, unless of course the decision was taken purely on cost, and the cost of the Fawkes column was less than that of those that have been axed – or if the cost of that column were zero, that it was being provided for free.
That would be a most interesting outcome, given Staines’ constant carping at the Huffington Post UK for not paying its blog contributors, and his going after the Guardian for offering unpaid (voluntary) work placements. So, Fawkes folks, what’s the deal? Is Dirty Des paying you in money for that column? Let’s have a straight answer to a straight question.
After all, it’s what open journalism is all about. Isn’t it?