Four years ago, Peter Worthington, a columnist and former editor-in-chief of The Toronto Sun, parted company with Douglas Creighton, president of The Toronto Sun Publishing Corp., over remarks that Worthington had made about the function of some papers in the Sun chain. But last week, at an Ottawa news conference, Creighton announced that he has asked Worthington, 61, to become the editor of the latest addition to the Sun network. For less than $1 million, his company, a subsidiary of Maclean Hunter Ltd., which owns Maclean's and other publications, purchased a 90-percent interest in the Ottawa Sunday Herald, and Creighton said that he may transform the tabloid into a daily— complete with scantily clad SUNshine girls and short news stories.
Creighton said that Worthington had “expressed an interest” in editing the Sunday paper, but he added that no formal arrangement had been made. In response to the announcement, Russell Mills, publisher of the Southam Inc.owned Ottawa Citizen, declared: “The Sun is a newspaper geared for an adolescent mind. They may find that Ottawa is a more grown-up town than they think.”
But Creighton and his formula have never failed in a Canadian market. In the first half of 1988, earnings and sales reached record levels. And after selling its foundering Houston Post last year for a $60-million profit, Sun Corp. has money to spend. Indeed, negotiations are under way to launch a tabloid in Washington. Still, Creighton acknowledged that starting a daily in the Canadian capital—which would be called The Ottawa Sun—may be difficult, especially because the Citizen has dominated the English-daily market since the closure of the Ottawa Journal in 1980.
Creighton has guaranteed the jobs of the 29-member Herald staff and says that he plans to double its size. He is also talking with London Daily Telegraph owner Conrad Black—who also owns and publishes Ottawa’s Frenchlanguage daily, Le Droit—about becoming involved in the operation. For now, at least, Creighton has ruled out any more acquisitions in Canada. But, if the past is any guide, the empire of the Sun is unlikely to resist the lure of expansion for long.
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