Gideon Spanier: So if The Sun 'needs a kick', can a change of editor provide it?

Media Studies: Critics say Dominic Mohan failed to find new columnists and the paper has been losing its touch

Dominic Mohan has had the most difficult tenure of any Sun editor. On some days, it was a feat just to get the paper out because of the scandals over illegal payments and hacking that have led to the arrest of dozens of colleagues.

Now the 44-year-old is moving to an advisory role after less than four years and hands over today to David Dinsmore, also 44, a former editor of The Scottish Sun.

Mohan must be relieved he was not the last editor of Britain's biggest selling red-top – a real fear among some staff who wonder whether the weight of scandal could force the paper to go the same way as the axed News of the World. Dark clouds still hang over The Sun with the trials of so many journalists to come this autumn.

In these circumstances, Mohan's big achievement was to launch The Sun on Sunday last year to fill the void left by the NotW's closure – a move to a seven-day operation that saved millions in costs. However, the replacement Sunday title lacks a distinctive voice and sells 800,000 less than the Saturday edition, the bestseller of the week on 2.6 million.

In many ways, Mohan's biggest problem has been confidence. When he took over in September 2009, there was a sense that predecessor Rebekah Brooks, then the chief executive, was in the driving seat when it came to decisions such as the "Labour's lost it" front page. The subsequent 2010 election – when The Sun's choice, David Cameron, failed to win outright – undermined the reputation of the paper "wot won it".

Mohan performed a slick U-turn when The Sun withdrew its support for the Tories last year by attacking the coalition's "toffs" but, as Rupert Murdoch's tweets showed, the proprietor was behind that decision.

Admirers say Mohan deserves credit for campaigns over issues like binge-drinking and petrol prices and witty front pages such as "Scrape Me Up Before You Go Go" after singer George Michael's motorway accident.

But critics say Mohan failed to find new columnists and the paper has been losing its touch. The crass "Maggie dead in bed at the Ritz" front page went down badly with the proprietor.

Those close to NI emphasise Dinsmore is a hard newsman in contrast to Mohan, a former editor of showbusiness column Bizarre. "Dins" has broader vision and business nous after a spell in management, say allies. They talk about how the paper has lost its mojo and "needs a kick". The new editor also appears to be more of a political animal, having impressed Murdoch by building relations with Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond.

Commercially, The Sun's recent history has been mixed. Print circulation has fallen by a quarter from 3.1 million in September 2009 to 2.3 million last month but Murdoch's decision to stop price-cutting and hike the weekday cover price from 20p to 40p mean circulation revenues have compensated. The Sun still makes handsome operating profits – some say £70m-£80m a year.

The big issue is the internet where Mohan's title has lagged far behind the Daily Mail, Guardian and Telegraph, even though The Sun has stayed free. Dinsmore's first task is to introduce an internet paywall in August, after personally leading NI's effort to buy up exclusive online television rights to Premier League football highlights.

The Glaswegian father of two is an imposing figure at 6'3". He smoked and drank in his younger days and jokes how he failed his shorthand exams several times. But now he is a teetotal fitness fan who cycles as much as 50 miles at weekends. It will be interesting to see if The Sun lifer decides to clean up Page 3, by dropping the topless pictures.

The shake-up comes as Murdoch splits his media empire this week, with television and movies in one company called 21st Century Fox and the weaker newspaper assets left in what has been dubbed new News Corporation.

As Dinsmore knows, it means The Sun will be more important in financial terms to new News Corp than it has been to old News Corp.

The new football season loses one of its big players

The timing of Ian Livingston's decision to resign as BT chief executive after five years to be a trade minister looks odd.

Livingston, was about to embark on a potentially career-defining battle with BSkyB, after buying up Premier League football rights and making a £1bn bet on pay-TV sport, yet he is walking away as the first season begins.

BT's evolution from telecoms giant to a media company is not new. BT has had a pay-TV business since before Livingston took charge. Alas the problem is it has not been very good, winning over only 800,000 customers in seven years. In that time, Sky, the market leader in pay-TV, has acquired over 4 million broadband subscribers.

Hence Livingston's gamble on BT becoming a broadcaster in its own right, rather than just being a TV platform for others. His thinking is that BT can use football to win broadband customers – even though Virgin Media, another rival to Sky, has successfully adopted a different strategy by ditching its own channels.

The City is surprisingly relaxed about Livingston's exit and seems happy with internal successor Gavin Patterson. BT shares are at their highest levels in six years.

But it is a shame that Livingston won't stick around to prove BT can succeed where Setanta, ESPN and ITV Digital all failed.

When an ad trade fair becomes a festival of creativity

A few years ago, the Cannes Lions advertising festival was renamed a festival of creativity. After spending the last few days at the trade fair, it makes sense.

Traditional 30-second television advertising feels old and quaint. All the talk is about "content" and "story-telling" that can be shared online.

The most acclaimed commercial work barely looked like ads. Dumb Ways To Die was a three-minute, musical animation film by Australian ad agency McCann that only mentioned its message, rail safety, at the end.

Ogilvy & Mather, the most awarded agency, also created two fascinating pieces of communication for IBM: one was a 90-second film called A Boy And His Atom, a stop-go animation using real-life atoms that were magnified for the screen. Another was an outdoor campaign that turned poster sites into branded benches, bus shelters and luggage ramps to show IBM's usefulness.

Paid-for media still matters. But the new opportunities in the mobile internet age are owned and earned media – that is brands creating their own content that can be shared and talked about for free.

Ian Burrell is away

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'