The Blenheim Sun is a free weekly full colour newspaper in tabloid format established in 2002 by Katrina and Les Whiteside. The couple were previously involved in other community newspaper publications elsewhere in the country, including The Northern Outlook in North Canterbury, which ironically is now owned by Fairfax Media, who also own The Marlborough Express, the incumbent and competitor to The Blenheim Sun. Although named The Blenheim Sun, and with offices in Blenheim, the paper is distributed throughout Marlborough.
Reaction by the Marlborough Express
The Marlborough Express created some controversy when it countered with a free mid week community paper of its own, the Marlborough Midweek, launched in November 2004, after an extensive and rather opaque advertising campaign, however the reaction from the community was mixed, with some seeing it as an attack on the underdog, while the quality of content in the Midweek, much of it republished from other Fairfax properties failed to produce a Sun killer.
Features of The Blenheim Sun include an 'Out and About' page with photos of locals in various public settings, a baby page, an opinion poll and the somewhat controversial 'Bible Answers with Pastor Jeff Williams'. The editors of the Sun have stated when queried by readers that 'Bible Answers' is an advertisement, however the regular column has become an institution of the paper. Controversy has arisen from Jeff William's rigid and literal interpretation of the Bible, which have on occasion provoked some heated letters to the editor.
The Sun regularly runs themed advertising features, with 'Men in Business', and 'Women in Business' as recurring features.
Up until 2010, the Sun did not have any online presence, and as of July 2010, the online format consists of images of the print edition, rather than a fully interactive and searchable site as has tended to become the norm with other online newspapers.
Link to The Blenheim Sun