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Published January 21st 2015

How News Spreads: Lessons from The Sun & #NoMorePage3

After 44 years, The Sun has shelved Page 3’s topless young women. The recurring feature drew criticism for being sexist, antiquated and offensive for almost as long as it has been running.

Monday’s edition of the The Sun didn’t feature topless models, sparking confusion across the news-hungry social sphere. Was Page 3 gone for good? Was The Sun gaining a conscience?

With each morning edition this week, it became clear that young girls with their kit off would no longer be a feature of the newspaper, which draws a readership of 2.2 million daily.



The decision has drawn over 300,000 mentions this week, with links from The Guardian, the BBC and Bloomberg being shared most.

On Twitter, celebrities such as Paloma Faith and Jack Whitehall, helped drive the conversation.

The biggest story of them all, though, was a resurgence of 1970s comedy Yes, Prime Minister, linked to by The Spectator editor Fraser Nelson.

Thanks for the mammaries

Page 3 was introduced during Rupert Murdoch’s relaunch of the newspaper in tabloid form in 1969.

Even at the time, several newsagents banned the paper for the provocative images. By the mid-1970s, the topless glamour models had become a famous feature of the UK’s best-selling newspaper.

As the world has matured, people aren’t as keen to feature topless women nestled between headlines of serious news. The biggest organised attack against the newspaper came in 2012, when Lucy-Ann Holmes launched a ‘No More Page 3’ campaign.

#NoMorePage3 has been one of the most popular hashtags this week around the topic, with over 9,000 mentions.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.53.15 AM

Over the course of the campaign, 30 universities ceased stocking the newspaper until the topless models were removed and 140 MPs came out against Page 3. Even Rupert Murdoch doubted the page’s relevance over Twitter.

The decision had reportedly come from Murdoch himself. Yet, the absence of uncovered breasts was not accompanied by an official statement. Many predict the models will reappear if The Sun sees sales decline.

The newspaper has been refusing calls and emails from the press, responding only with “Page 3 of The Sun is where it’s always been, between pages 2 and 4”.

Page 3 continues in spirit on The Sun’s website, however.

The replacement in print – two bikini-sporting Hollyoaks stars – has not impressed critics. ‘Boobs not news’ served as a slogan for the No More Page 3 campaign, and efforts are still focused on getting publications like The Sun and The Daily Mail to stop objectifying and obsessing over womens’ bodies.

Regardless, campaigners have celebrated the change, saying “This could be truly historic news and a great day for people power.”


We used Brandwatch Analytics to pull the data. Want to try it for yourself?

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