The British owned Mail on Sunday has been severely criticized after they published 25,000 copies of their newspaper with what looks like the masthead of another Sunday publication in Ireland, the Sunday Tribune.
The Tribune announced it was ceasing publication last week and is desperately seeking a new owner. The Mail made the move seeking to lure Tribune former buyers to buy their publication.
When the reader opened the “Tribune” cover, the paper was in fact the Mail on Sunday.
The National Union of Journalists was none too impressed with the actions of the Mail on Sunday.
“This was a cynical marketing exercise and represents a new low in Irish journalism,” said NUIJ Secretary Séamus Dooley.
The Sunday Tribune had a receiver put in place last week to search for a buyer. The paper is not in publication while this process unfolds.
Tribune editor Noirin Hegarty issued a statement slamming the Mail on Sunday for its action.
"The Mail On Sunday has shown in this act that it will leave no stone unturned in the race to the bottom.
“The Tribune management and staff and, indeed, Jim Luby the receiver, are working flat out in the hope of keeping the newspaper afloat.
“We are talking about 43 jobs in Ireland here, not extra remuneration for Associated Newspapers back in the UK.
"This attempt at burial of a still alive corpse and grave robbing by the Mail group is a shameless act of commercial vandalism and I would beseech the fair-minded Irish Sunday newspaper audience to fight back by refusing to buy its titles."
The Mail on Sunday came out and defended the action, saying that they did it to “persuade as many Tribune readers as possible to keep buying newspapers,” and labeled the Tribune cover on the Mail on Sunday a “marketing exercise.”
The Mail on Sunday’s editor, Sebastian Hamilton, released a statement where he answered what he says was a request by Hegarty for readers to purchase an Irish newspaper this Sunday.
“We wanted to make sure those readers were aware that the Irish Mail on Sunday is an Irish paper.
“The Mail employs 161 people here in Dublin - almost four times as many as the Tribune. The Irish Mail on Sunday is written here, edited here, printed and produced here.”
Dooley from the NUJ remained unimpressed by the Mail’s move.“The defense offered by the Mail on Sunday is disingenuous. Even in a fiercely competitive market there must be respect for basic standards of decency.
“This was an attempt to confuse readers and to cash in on the crisis at the Sunday Tribune in a crass manner which does no credit to the Irish Mail on Sunday or publishers, Associated Newspapers.”