Whittow will edit the new Star, which may spark a Sunday price war
Richard Desmond’s Sunday Star is just weeks from launch. Editor-in-chief Peter Hill and editor Hugh Whittow have recruited a string of national newspaper journalists.
Dummies are being produced and desks moved in at Ludgate House and at the Star’s northern printing plant at Broughton in Lancashire.
The newspaper which most of Fleet Street thought would never see the light of day is pencilled in for launch on 1 September.
Industry insiders believe the entrance of a new player into the Sunday tabloid market could spark a price war. News International has been quick to hit back at the Daily Mirror’s price-cutting by slashing the cover price of The Sun and sustaining the cut even when the Mirror returned to full price in some areas.
The News of the World could get just such support from owner Rupert Murdoch and NI executive chairman Les Hinton in an attempt to strangle the baby Star at birth.
This week, the staff line-up began to emerge. Hill, while editing the Daily Star, will have overall charge of the Sunday paper while Whittow will retain his deputy editorship of the daily and edit the Sunday.
Whittow’s deputy and night editor at the Sunday Star will be Dave Harbord, who was part of the Daily Star launch team in 1978. Harbord, who has also been night editor of Today and the Daily Express, is joining from The Sunday Times sports department. He will bring with him from Wapping Peter Carvery as his deputy night editor.
Michael Woods, former night editor at the Sunday People, will be chief sub and will head a team of subs at Broughton.
News editor will be Ian Trueman, who has been on the Daily Star for 20 years and moves up from his No.3 position on its newsdesk. His deputy is Michael Booker, who has been working as a reporter and deskman at the daily.
Sam Taylor, former Now magazine news editor, will be boosting the features department of the Daily Star but working across both papers.
Picture editor will be Peter Case, a former No.2 on the Sunday People picture desk. Barry Williamson will be returning to the Star as northern picture editor.
Sports editor will be Ray Ansbro and his deputy will be Ed Barry, reversing the roles they held on the Sunday People. Paul Hetherington joins from the Sunday Mirror as football editor and Stuart James and Andy Sokill will be on the sports staff. The whole of the sports operation will be subbed and designed in Broughton.
Pippa Geeves, No.2 on the Sunday People art desk, will be the Sunday Star’s art director. However, launch date is a bit of a problem at the moment for Geeves, since that will be her wedding day.
There will be more names on the editorial role by launch date, including a name columnist. One of the senior staff said: "It’s very exciting. They are putting a hell of a lot of energy into it because the Star is so successful at the moment."
That claim is certainly true, with the Daily Star selling 951,000 on Saturday, 27 July, its highest sale since 1986.
By Jean Morgan