The Daily Mail - what's the point?

  Kate A 15:41 05 Sep 2006

Yesterday I received a copy of the new London evening paper, London Lite, which is published (I think) by the publishers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, etc. Having read it, I began to wonder - is there really a market for this paper when almost every article seems to have been covered far more extensively on various websites during the day?

Does anyone still buy a national daily newspaper now?

On another note - With the Daily Mail's ridiculous focus on asylum seekers and illegal immigration, ASBOs and property prices, to name but a few, does anyone buy the Mail for its unbiased news coverage?

Kate A

  Kate B 15:56 05 Sep 2006

Now that is the million-dollar question for all newspapers.

Newspapers make money through selling advertising and the higher the claimed circulation and readership figures, the higher the rate they can charge for advertising. So in many ways the debate about the future of newspapers is not about is the content worth it when there are free websites out there, but is there a market that wants to buy print advertising and how big is it?

I suspect the new London papers won't last long. One might emerge battered and bloody but I'm not holding my breath. The Standard said that it didn't see any drop in its sales yesterday and I wonder if there is enough advertising to support two new evening papers. There might be for a while because the advertisers will play one paper off against the others, which is good for nobody except of course the advertisers themselves.

On the editorial content, this is something that newspapers around the world are grappling with. I think the answer is to give newspapers more personality, and by that I mean distinctive layouts (look at the Guardian and the Independent) and distinctive columnists. As you say, news can be accessed anywhere and of course with newspapers it's old by the time the paper lands on your doormat.

That sort of links into your final point about the Mail, which I think is a repellent, small-minded rag. However, it's a successful repellent small-minded rag because it delivers very precisely what its readers want. It has a personality - strident, small-minded, xenophobic and blustering - that reflects and reinforces the depressing worldviews of many people. That's what makes a paper successful.

  Kate B 15:56 05 Sep 2006

Just noticed your username! I feel as though I'm talking to a twin!

  Kate B 16:16 05 Sep 2006

Absolutely, they all succeed by reflecting back at their readership the attitudes they hold. The same is true of the Telegraph and the Guardian and the FT as well as the red-tops.

Having said that, it applies rather less to the FT, which is traditionally a second paper - ie one that's supplementary to your first choice; and one that you have to read if you're a banker or similar. The FT does strive for personality and partly succeeds, but it's much less successful at that than the bigger-circulation white broadsheets.

  Kate A 16:28 05 Sep 2006

Kate B - nice user name! Thanks for the response, I can understand advertisers jumping on board for the first few issues/weeks of this free daily. It's bound to be read by many just to see whether it's any different to Metro or the Evening Standard. But I agree with your point that it probably won't last long...

As for the small-minded, xenophobic editorial slant - I couldn't agree more!

pattoo - I don't think anyone would suggest that the Sun isn't small-minded or xenophobic, the others you mention are comics, aren't they?

  pavvi 16:45 05 Sep 2006

I would put the sun int the same area asthe comics myself.....sometimes also The Daily Mail runs out of news and prints news that is up to a month old. Avoiding the Daily Mail group is difficult however as they have a subtantial holding in Local newspapers not just in London, but also in provicncial cities like Bristol. They also have a large shareholding in the GWR group who runs most of the independent radio in the country like GWR in Bristol, Bath, Swindon, and also Classic FM and Capital Radio, Red Dragon arouind Cardiff, to name but a few

  Jackcoms 17:02 05 Sep 2006

"Does anyone still buy a national daily newspaper now?"

Er, yes. That's why they're published each day and still in business.

What a strange question.

  oresome 17:08 05 Sep 2006

"Does anyone still buy a national daily newspaper now?"

Those that commute by public transport are probably the only workers that have the time to read a paper providing they have a seat.

Young mens interests appear not to go beyond the sports pages and young women show little interest in news, sport, or politics.

So you're left with the retired and unemployed.

I know it's an over simplification and sexist to boot, but my observation for what it's worth.

  Kate A 17:12 05 Sep 2006

Jackoms - Well yes, they're published each day and are still in business. But only just... I'm sure the circulations of almost all of the nationals have take a nose-dive over the past few years, precisely because of the popularity and availability of news sites on the internet.

I wasn't seriously asking whether *anyone* buys a national newspaper - but I think you knew that really, didn't you?

  Jackcoms 17:51 05 Sep 2006

"precisely because of the popularity and availability of news sites on the internet."

Which are not available to everyone - and I can't think of a more 'uncomfortable' way to sit and digest the daily news (via a PC monitor). Which is why I buy and read a newspaper 7 days a week.

"but I think you knew that really, didn't you?"

Not necessarily. Unfortunately I can't read minds.

  VoG II 18:01 05 Sep 2006

I no longer buy a paper - well, only extremely rarely. I signed-up for the Telegraph's Crossword Society (one of the reasons I used to buy it) some years ago and I read all the news I want on line (mainly the beeb).

I bought a Telegraph yesterday - only because I was away from home with no internet access.

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