The St. Louis Sun, an ambitious attempt to build a big-city paper fast, has folded after a seven-month run during which it was accused of titillation and praised for its coverage of Trans World Airlines and a stadium project.
"It is clear that we could not achieve sufficient circulation to make this enterprise viable and so, we have concluded that there is no longer room in St. Louis" for the Sun, editor in chief Ralph Ingersoll II announced Wednesday.The seven-day morning tabloid, launched Sept. 25, published its last edition Tuesday night. Wednesday's paper carried the big headline "Deathly Quiet."
John O'Connor, who joined the Sun staff a little over a week ago, was one of 194 full-time employees trying to recover from the shock of the closing.
"I walked into a bar and I saw Ralph Ingersoll on TV," he said. "I said, `That looks like my boss. I'm from the Sun.' They said, `That is your boss, you're out of a job.' "
The Sun had hoped to be the first major metropolitan newspaper to make a successful launch in this country since World War II.
With a circulation of about 100,000, it never threatened the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's circulation of 375,000 daily and 565,000 on Sunday. But it did manage to generate a fair share of controversy in this conservative Midwestern city.
The Sun was accused of sensationalism for its coverage of a politician involved in a sexual assault and of the five-year anniversary of an accident in which a man was nearly sawed in two.