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174 years

The first edition of The Sun was published on this date in 1837. To mark the 174th anniversary, has posted a gallery of notable front pages.

You’re invited to write potential front-page headlines yourself over the span of the next 174 years. (Quick, try to get there before the trolls discover it.)

And you can look at some aspects of the paper’s history, including a short history of the paper’s vignette, or distinctive nameplate, and some of the articles that won the paper Pulitzer Prizes.

It is still here, and it means to continue.

I have worked at The Sun for twenty-four of the past twenty-five years, going in to the newsroom each working day over that span resolved to identify and correct errors without creating new ones, to order disordered texts, to establish clarity where there was confusion.

Every one of those days, I, along with the other editors, fell short of what we might have accomplished, and on every following day we fell to work determined to do better.

Today I go back to try once more.



Posted by John McIntyre at 11:00 AM | | Comments (6)


I've always liked continuity, even if I don't always agree with the paper's editorial positions.Good luck to The Sun, and I hope it lasts for another 174 years.

How does it feel to make it this far as a publication? And when you look back at the years, how much journalism, newspapers and news in general has adapted and evolved. It's really amazing to be a part of some of the oldest works in the business.

:) So neat to see how newspaper design has changed over such a short span.

Goodness, but your forebears seem to have found it difficult to keep their hands off the type box. Changing the dress so often can't be a good idea.

Issue 1 is very handsome, I think, followed closely by the Obama election issue and the Nixon resignation. But here and there are some horrible concoctions.

Tell me, John, was the Sun an early adopter of sentence case heads in the European style rather than title case in the American style? Seems to have happened in the seventies?

Many if not most American papers adopted "downstyle" headlines--sentence case--in the 1970s and 1980s. The easier count was a boon head headline writers.

I was surprised to see that when headlines still used upstyle (?), everything was capitalized, even prepositions and articles: "Astronauts Walk On The Moon" – I thought that came in only with word processors, when it became easy to capitalize all the words in a line with one or two strokes.

The other thing that caught my eye was the curious subheadline about the Iran hostages: "All 52 flying to Algiers, Germany" – I thought that Algiers was in Algeria.

Also, it is interesting that there seems to be a particular grace when the big headline is from sports: the Ripken front page is perhaps the most eloquent of the posted selection, followed by the one celebrating the Ravens' Super Bowl championship – and I'm not a sports fan.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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