An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, last night launched The Sunday Papers: A History of Ireland’s Weekly Press which is co-edited by Dr Mark O’Brien of DCU’s School of Communications and Joe Breen, formerly of the Irish Times.
Describing the book as "an elegant, engaging, interesting and important volume", the Taoiseach noted that Sunday newspapers have always played "a unique role in Irish life".
As late as 1979, every Saturday night / Sunday morning, over one million Sunday newspapers were printed in Dublin city centre before being dispatched to every parish in the country. A core part of weekly life for over one hundred years, Sunday newspapers have informed, entertained and infuriated readers with their coverage of the week’s political events and sporting fixtures. They have also provided a platform for incisive investigative journalism. Reviews, agony aunt columns, competitions and children’s pages completed the mix.
Read in their hundreds of thousands for much of the 20th century, the Taoiseach noted that the titles examined in the book were responsible for breaking many significant political stories and that the need for quality journalism was "as strong today as it ever was". Mr Varadkar also noted that the government has an "enormous responsibility" to protect the free press and democracy and that journalism needed to cover personal stories in a responsible way.
The book is the first to examine the history of Sunday newspapers and contains chapters on fondly remembered titles such as the Sunday Press and Sunday Tribune. Written by academics and former journalists, the book also examines the histories of titles – such as the Sunday Independent and Sunday World – that are still publishing, with every chapter providing key insights into the Ireland in which the titles appeared, their origins, proprietors, editors, journalists, major stories and controversies, circulation and readership, and coverage of politics, sports and other areas of public interest.
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