The Sun, City Page

The Sun is, perhaps, not best known for its business news. Yet, as Rhodri Phillips, business editor at the tabloid which is the UK’s largest circulation, paid-for, daily newspaper, told the audience at an exclusive Gorkana event this week, the City page has a “loyal following” of readers.

In print, The Sun has a circulation of 1,739,206 copies and a readership of 4.4 million people. Having dropped its online paywall last year, it is, once again, focused on building a digital audience with more and more content.

Consequently, Phillips said he wants to do more content online while, in print, the City page is there to offer readers a condensed take on major business and financial stories. But, it’s important to make these relevant and accessible to its readership. As Phillips said: “We like to have a bit of fun on the business page.”

The media briefing, which was chaired by Philip Smith, head of news and content at Gorkana, gave the audience an insight into the requirements of the City page and what The Sun looks for in its business coverage overall. Here are some key takeaways:

Rhodri Phillips 1

Rhodri Phillips (left) and Philip Smith (right)

The Sun likes heroes and villains
Phillips said: “We’re a tabloid; we like villains, we like goodies and we like black and white situations.” The City page, specifically, tends to focus on the successes and failures of well-known consumer brands and retailers, and the individuals who manage them. He added: “You do need these strong personalities. There are too many bland personalities in business. We like the colourful characters.” He cited Mike Ashley, the controversial, billionaire founder of Sports Direct and the owner of Newcastle United Football Club, as one example.

How would you summarise the story to your friend in the pub?
Phillips explained how he has to think about the way that business news will affect the man on the street, he has to, “Tell a complicated story in a simple way”. Phillips suggested that PR professionals do the same when pitching their stories by thinking about how they can sum-up the pitch, or a business story, in one sentence.

When emailing keep it short and to the point
As a one-man team, Phillips is stretched for time. But, he said: “I do read the first four or five words of every email.” Just like the paper, Phillips asks that PR professionals tell a complicated story in a simple way, and get the message across in the subject line of an email if possible.