The above headline appeared in this newspaper on April 6, 1910. It topped an announcement that a new Evening Sun was to be launched as a companion to the morning Sun that had been tossed on doorsteps and hawked from Baltimore street corners for 73 years. Now, 85 years later, we are printing that headline again -- this time to proclaim that a new, improved version of The Sun will appear Sept. 18, three days after the Evening Sun rolls from our presses for the last time.
This is a bitter-sweet occasion. Bitter in the loss of a fine newspaper that made a lasting mark on American journalism. Sweet in the expectation that by concentrating all our attention and resources on one publication we can produce a bigger and better paper, one that is more comprehensive in its coverage and more interesting for its readers.
In its heyday, no paper in the country could rival the Evening Sun in its twitting of the Verities and the Very Important People who reigned over American society. Led by H.L. Mencken, its irreverent commentary was picked up coast to coast.
The decision to close the Evening Sun was taken after careful study. Surveys, interviews and focus group sessions showed conclusively that our readers would prefer a morning paper incorporating the best of both newspapers. Circulation figures confirmed. In the past ten years Evening Sun circulation has declined to a 50-year low while the morning Sun has zoomed to an all-time high.
Such a trend did not occur in isolation. Not so long ago, newspapers were almost the sole source of late-breaking stories and they responded with multiple editions and many an EXTRA! But today the news flash has gone electronic. All over the country, afternoon papers have fallen victim to changing work schedules and living habits. The more sensible mission is to publish when the bulk of the day's news is in and readers are hungry for the details, context, analysis, controversy and browsing only the print media can convey. The result: morning newspaper ascendancy.
The Sun, as befitted a dignified older sister, continued to report the news soberly and completely during the glory years of the Evening Sun. Baltimore and its environs became the special province of the upstart afternoon newspaper.
For most of its 158 years, since 1837, The Sun has made its mark as an enterprising newspaper with correspondents in many parts of the globe and a strong, influential Washington Bureau. It built a reputation that to this day is extraordinary for a newspaper of its size. That treasured tradition will continue. But the new Sun will also offer more intense and complete coverage of the Baltimore region, as well as expanded business and entertainment sections. It will literally be Maryland's state newspaper. An appealing typographical redesign will provide for both the quick and the in-depth read.
This is a big moment for The Sun. We intend to serve our community with integrity and excellence.