Murdoch promises 'bright future' as Herald Sun celebrates

News Corp is proclaiming its Victorian roots with a campaign to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the merger of Melbourne's Herald and Sun-News Pictorial.

Both executive chairman Rupert Murdoch and chief executive Robert Thomson are Victorian-born.

They and Murdoch's niece Penny Fowler - who is chairman of the Herald & Weekly Times business - contribute their own '30 Words' to the multiplatform campaign, together with "love letters" from Matt Preston, Kate Ceberano, Steve Moneghetti, Kevin Sheedy, Shane Crawford and Ann Peacock in a 12-page wrap of today's print edition.

Then evening masthead The Herald - launched in 1840 - and 98-year-old daily the Sun News-Pictorial - were acquired by Murdoch's News Limited in 1987, after a struggle to gain control of the newspaper group once run by his father, Keith Murdoch.

Murdoch senior had been editor-in-chief of The Herald when a Sydney rival tried to break into the market in 1922, launching the Evening Sun and the Sun News-Pictorial and prompting a fight which saw HWT buying both tabloids and closing the afternoon paper.

According to Wikipedia, the high circulation of the Sun News-Pictorial - Australia's biggest and occasionally the world's - is sometimes credited to free life insurance given to regular home delivery customers during their subscription.

In a tribute to his biggest Australian print brand, Rupert Murdoch said the Herald Sun was going from strength to strength: "It the voice of Melbourne and Victoria, and this powerful connection with its audience in print and digital ensures Australia's largest-selling newspaper has a bright future ahead."

Pictured: Classic milkbar marketing of the new brand (from the '30 Words' TVC), and (below) the first front page

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