The Herald Sun is a daily newspaper based in Melbourne, Australia, published by The Herald and Weekly Times, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia, itself a subsidiary of News Corp. The Herald Sun primarily serves Melbourne and the state of Victoria and shares many articles with other News Corporation daily newspapers, especially those from Australia.

It is also available for purchase in Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and border regions of South Australia and southern New South Wales such as the Riverina and New South Wales South Coast, and is available digitally through its website and apps. In 2017, the paper had a daily circulation of 350,000 from Monday to Friday.[2]


The Herald Sun newspaper is the product of a merger in 1990 of two newspapers owned by The Herald and Weekly Times Limited: the morning tabloid paper The Sun News-Pictorial and the afternoon broadsheet paper The Herald. It was first published on 8 October 1990 as the Herald-Sun.

The hyphen in its title was dropped after 1 May 1993 as part of an effort to drop the overt reminder of the paper's two predecessors that the hyphen implied, and also by the fact that by 1993, most of the columns and features inherited from The Herald and The Sun News-Pictorial had either been discontinued or subsumed completely in new sections.[3]


The Herald

The old Herald and Weekly Times building in Flinders Street.
The Melbourne Arts Centre Spire viewed from behind the rooftop signage for the Herald and Weekly Times building.

The Herald was founded on 3 January 1840 by George Cavenagh as the Port Phillip Herald. Born in India in 1808, the son of a military man, Cavenagh had arrived in Australia in 1825, following his brother, hoping to make his fortune in the growing colony of New South Wales. Cavenagh then had a career as clerk and a dairy farmer before becoming editor of the Sydney Gazette in 1836. He moved south in 1840 looking to found his own paper, launching the Port Phillip Herald in 1840, offering news that was "Impartial, not neutral."[4] It quickly became one of the most popular papers in Melbourne and by 1841 had the highest circulation of the city's three big newspapers, beating the Melbourne Advertiser and the Port Phillip Gazette. In 1849, the paper became The Melbourne Morning Herald. At the beginning of 1855, it became The Melbourne Herald before settling on The Herald from 8 September 1855 - the name it would hold for the next 135 years. From 1869, it was an evening newspaper. Colonel William Thomas Reay was sometime literary editor and later associate editor, before becoming managing editor in 1904. With the acquisition of the Weekly Times, a paper aimed primarily at a rural audience, in 1892, the company became known as the Herald and Weekly Times (or HWT).

Keith Murdoch takes charge

In 1921 Keith Murdoch took over as editor of the Herald. Murdoch was known for the part he had played in alerting the world to the condition of troops at Gallipoli and the failure of the campaign. Murdoch had come under the influence of Lord Northcliffe, proprietor of The Times, while he was in England and he took elements of Northcliffe's more popular papers to revitalise the Herald. He introduced more pictures and a greater emphasis on human interest stories, inspired by the Daily Mail and Evening News in England. Murdoch even recruited some of the best writers of the day including poet Kenneth Slessor who wrote light verse for the Herald in the 1920s. Murdoch expanded HWT's holdings into radio. He became chairman of the Herald in 1942 and ran the paper until his death in 1952. When The Argus newspaper closed in 1957, The Herald and Weekly Times bought out and continued various Argus media assets.[5] In 1986, The Herald's Saturday edition - The Weekend Herald - which had adopted a tabloid format, in order to distinguish it from the Monday to Friday editions' broadsheet format - was closed. HWT was taken over by Keith Murdoch's son Rupert in 1987, who had built his own media empire starting with the Adelaide Advertiser, the only paper left to him by his father when he died in 1952. Rupert Murdoch had been keen for some time to be running the newspaper and the company his father had run so successfully, but the paper's circulation had dropped dramatically in the 1980s calling for drastic action. It was merged with the morning paper the Sun News Pictorial.

The Sun News-Pictorial

The Sun News-Pictorial was founded on 11 September 1922, by Montague Grover, the man who had been credited with rejuvenating the Sydney afternoon newspaper the Sun. He was appointed by media baron Sir Hugh Denison to start a new evening newspaper, called the Evening Sun, to rival Murdoch's Herald. But Murdoch put a stop to the paper, evoking the terms of a no-competition agreement among newspaper owners that still had six months to run. Grover instead convinced Denison to make the new paper a morning newspaper, a punchy, unconventional tabloid. It was a big success, but when the no-competition agreement ran out, Denison launched his Evening Sun, which did not do so well. Due to mounting losses with the afternoon paper, both were sold to The Herald and Weekly Times in 1925. Murdoch shut down the Evening Sun but kept the Sun News-Pictorial running. It went on to become the highest selling paper in Australia.[6]

1990 merger to form the Herald-Sun

In its prime, The Herald had a circulation of almost 600,000, but by the time of its 150th anniversary in 1990, with the impact of evening television news and a higher proportion of people using cars to get home from work rather than public transport, The Herald's circulation had fallen below 200,000. This was much less than that of the morning Sun.[citation needed]

With the only alternative option being to close The Herald, The Herald and Weekly Times decided to merge the two newspapers, and so after one hundred and fifty years, ten months and two days of publication, The Herald was published for the last time as a separate newspaper on 5 October 1990. The next day, The Sun News-Pictorial published its last edition. The Sunday editions of the two newspapers, the Sunday Herald and the Sunday Sun, were also merged to form the Sunday Herald Sun. The resulting newspaper had both the size and style of The Sun News-Pictorial. Bruce Baskett, the last Editor of The Herald, was the first Editor of the Herald-Sun.

After a progressive decline in circulation the afternoon edition was cancelled, the last edition being published on 21 December 2001.[7] The News Corp Australia-produced mX had filled part of that gap, being freely distributed of an afternoon from stands throughout the Melbourne CBD until 12 June 2015, though generally not available outside that area.[citation needed]

Recent editors include Sam, Weir, Damon Johnston, Simon Pristel, Phil Gardner and Peter Blunden. The Herald Sun plays a key role in Victoria's arts, sport, charity and major events industry and is the custodian of the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal, the Jayco Herald Sun professional cycling tour and Victoria's biggest fun run the Herald Sun/Transurban Run For The Kids. It also supports the Herald Sun Aria singing contest and partners with key sporting organisations like the Australian Football League, Cricket Australia and the Victoria Racing Club - home of the Melbourne Cup. [8]

Controversies and alleged breaches of ethics

Article referring to transgender Australians as a ‘fad’ that most ‘disagree with

On 9 June 2021, Sydney University researcher Dr Alexandra Garcia published a corpus linguistics analysis of reporting about LGBTI Australians by the Herald Sun and affiliated Newscorp mastheads the Daily Telegraph and The Australian. [9] Following an analysis of more than one million published words, Dr Garcia concluded that the Herald Sun and its associated publications covered transgender people and issues substantially more than any other organization, and the coverage was found to be overwhelmingly negative, with more than 90% of articles representing transgender Australians in a strongly negative light. The research found that the publication of Advisory Guidelines by the Australian Press Council had not improved the standard of reporting, with most reports and columns being characterised by fear-mongering, misrepresentation of medical science, divisive rhetoric, derogatory language, and suppression and under-representation of the voice of transgender people. One commentator suggested that reporting standards amounted to “outright bombardment of harassment” targeted at transgender Australians, with unethical reports also being exploited by extreme right-wing groups to mobilize hate against minorities. A few days later, the Herald Sun published an opinion article by James Campbell calling transgender Australians a “fad” that “most of us disagree with”, and accusing them of an “Orwellian” erosion of “free speech”. No column space was given to any transgender Australian. [10] Around the same time that Sydney University published its analysis, Dr Ada Chugg of Melbourne University published research showing the impact of societal discrimination and prejudice on transgender Australians. She found that the unemployment rate amongst transgender Australians was three times the national rate, that more than 68% of transgender Australians experienced physical and verbal assault, and 43% had attempted suicide as a result of social marginalisation. [11]

The analysis followed similar work by LGBTI rights watchdog, Rainbow Rights Watch, in 2017, which analysed more than 8 million published words which found that reporting in Australian press publications Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, and The Australian were calculated to inflame fear, uncertainty, and confusion about transgender people and issues, and that the Australian Press Council was ineffectual at upholding long term balance and good media ethics. [12]

Gratuitous Emphasis About LGBTI Status

On 21 January 2021, the Herald Sun published a factual report by journalist Serena Seyfort concerning a woman accused of detonating a molotov cocktail in a Melbourne suburb.[13] The article included prominent and repeated references to the transgender status of the accused in the sub-headline and throughout the body of the article, also describing the woman using her former name without any obvious public interest justification. On 21 July, 2021, the Australian Press Council concluded that the article breached media ethics standards, saying "publishers should exercise great care not to place unwarranted emphasis on characteristics such as race, religion, nationality, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, illness or age".[14]

Australian Greens policy on drugs

Shortly before the 2004 election, the Herald Sun published an article entitled "Greens back illegal drugs" (Herald Sun, 31 August 2004) written by Gerard McManus which made a number of claims about the Australian Greens based on their harm minimisation and decriminalisation policies posted on their website at the time. The Greens complained to the Australian Press Council. The text of their adjudication reads:

In the context of an approaching election, the potential damage was considerable. The actual electoral impact cannot be known but readers were seriously misled. [...] The claims made in the original article were seriously inaccurate and breached the Council's guiding principles of checking the accuracy of what is reported, taking prompt measures to counter the effects of harmfully inaccurate reporting, ensuring that the facts are not distorted, and being fair and balanced in reports on matters of public concern.[15]

Contempt of court for source protection

In June 2007, two Herald Sun journalists, and Gerard McManus, were found guilty in the Victorian County Court of contempt of court after refusing to disclose the source of a story the pair wrote in the Herald Sun on Australian Government plans to scale back proposed veterans entitlements. The controversy resulted in agitation to change the law to introduce "shield laws" in Australia to take into consideration the journalists' code of ethics.[16]

Cartoon of Serena Williams

Following Serena Williams' claim of sexist behaviour by umpire Carlos Ramos at the 2018 U.S. Open women's final, the Herald Sun's cartoonist Mark Knight drew an illustration of the match which was described as sexist and racist. In the cartoon, Williams is shown to have smashed her racket whilst a baby's dummy lays on the floor. Knight's illustration has been compared by some, including the political cartoonist and Washington Post columnist Michael Cavna, to illustrations popular during the Jim Crow era in the United States.[17] Knight is also accused of making Williams' Japanese opponent, Naomi Osaka, appear as a "white woman". Following this, there was significant condemnation of both the Herald Sun and Knight for the use of this image by the author J. K. Rowling and Jesse Jackson amongst others.[18] The Herald Sun defended its decision to publish the cartoon and two days after its initial publication, the cartoon was reprinted in part along with a series of other illustrations by Knight on its front page under the caption "WELCOME TO PC WORLD."[19]

Inaccurate depiction of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt published an opinion piece titled 'ABC a propaganda vehicle on public dime' in response to ABC's most recent Four Corners report. The report argues that Rupert Murdoch's US-based media corporation Fox News is former President Donald Trump's "most reliable echo chamber - that is a propaganda vehicle to destabilise democracy.[20]" In response, Bolt describes that the ABC itself is a propaganda vehicle, and does it with tax-payers money in a believed breach of the law, namely the ABC Act of 1983.[21] The Act describes the impartiality requirement of ABC's reporting, which Bolt believes reflect the hypocrisy of the Four Corners report, as this corporation is a believed echo-chamber for Australia's left-wing party.


In 2017, the Herald Sun was the highest-circulating daily newspaper in Australia, with a weekday circulation of 350 thousand[2] and claimed readership of 1.26 million.[22]

According to third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb, Herald Sun's website is the 74th and 125th most visited in Australia respectively, as of August 2015.[23][24] In 2015, SimilarWeb rated the site as the 15th most visited news website in Australia, attracting almost 6.6 million visitors per month.[24][25]

Collectible items

Over the years, the Herald Sun has had a range of magazines, pins and memorabilia (usually with an outside partner) that could be obtained by either getting it out of the newspaper, or using a token from the newspaper to collect or purchase the item. Items that have been a part of this scheme include:


The Sunday edition is called the Sunday Herald Sun. Its counterparts in Sydney are The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. In Brisbane, it is linked with The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail. In Adelaide, The Advertiser and Sunday Mail. In Hobart, The Mercury and The Sunday Tasmanian. In Darwin, The Northern Territory News and Sunday Territorian.

See also


  1. ^ "Herald Sun". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b Samios, Zoe (11 December 2017). "News Corp withdraws from newspaper circulation audit, raising new questions about future of AMAA". Mumbrella. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Tipping, Marjorie. "Cavenagh, George". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University.
  5. ^ Kirkpatrick, Rod. "Press Timeline 1951-2011". Australian Newspaper Plan. National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 15 April 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  6. ^ Dunstan, David. "Sun-News Pictorial". Auslit. Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. ^ "Vic: Herald Sun to cancel PM edition". AAP General News (Australia). 21 December 2001. Retrieved 21 September 2009.[dead link]
  8. ^ Crook, Andrew (18 May 2009). "A short history of bossy Herald Sun headlines: Read it now!". Crikey!. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Comment: Sydney University Corpus Lab on Daily Telegraph Reporting Standards about LGBTI, Dr Garcia, Dr Badge". Sydney Corpus Lab, Sydney University. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Campbell, James, "Gender Politics Swamps Left's New Agenda, Daily Telegraph". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Chugg, Dr Ada, "Why Have Nearly Half of Transgender Australians Attempted Suicide, Melbourne University". Melbourne University. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  12. ^ ""Translating Transphobia", Rainbow Rights Watch, 2017" (PDF). SBS. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Herald Sun article about transgender woman breached media ethics standards". Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  14. ^ "Australian Press Council Adjudication #1802". Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Adjudication No. 1270 (adjudicated February 2005) [2005] APC 3". Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  16. ^ R v McManus and Harvey
  17. ^ "An Australian artist's racist Serena Williams cartoon receives swift and international blowback". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  18. ^ Davidson, Helen (11 September 2018). "'Repugnant, racist': News Corp cartoon on Serena Williams condemned". the Guardian.
  19. ^ "Newspaper defends 'racist' Serena cartoon". 11 September 2018 – via
  20. ^ " | Subscribe to the Herald Sun for exclusive stories". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  21. ^ Communications. "Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983". Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Herald Sun confirms status as Australia's No.1 newspaper with rise in latest audience figures". Herald-Sun. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  23. ^ " Site Overview". Alexa. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  24. ^ a b " Analytics". SimilarWeb. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  25. ^ "Top 50 sites in Australia for News And Media". SimilarWeb. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Harry Potter: The Ultimate Collection". Retrieved 26 September 2021.

External links