The sun hasn't gone down on Fleet Street

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The Independent Online

Rebekah Wade, editor of The Sun, had a super soaraway January according to the latest ABCs. She began the month by dancing rings around the House of Lords Communications Committee on the topic of Rupert Murdoch's role in setting her editorial agenda. Then she broke a pair of exclusives, one about footballer Ashley Cole and the other about Amy Winehouse.

Sorted? Not quite. Ms Wade followed up with promotions involving free energy-saving lightbulbs, cheap holidays and Only Fools and Horses DVDs. Result? The Sun climbed back above 3 million copies per day after a miserable December in which it descen-ded below that figure for the first time since 1974.

Other editors with reasons to smile include Lionel Barber of the Financial Times and Veronica Wadley of London's Evening Standard. The FT's average daily sale is up by 3.04 per cent since January 2007 and this trend-bucking result includes 8,888 additional daily sales in America. The Standard's circulation has gone up by 3.66 per cent since December and by 6.6 per cent since January 2007.

All the quality titles recovered from the Christmas sales slump. They usually do. But the Independent papers had an especially good month, with the daily title up by a sector leading 9.74 per cent and this newspaper celebrating an even lar-ger 19.31 per cent month- on- month sales increase.

Across the board, circulations of paid-for newspapers continued their slow adjustment to the internet age, but print is still thriving through the medium of free papers. Associated Newspapers' Metro recor-ded a 16.76 per cent annual circulation increase and News International's thelondonpaper handed out 6.25 per cent more copies than in December.

When paid-for and free distribution is combined, British newspaper circulation looks extremely healthy. Add the growing audience attracted to the brands on the web and the total readership of historic British titles is probably higher than at any time since 1945.