The Daily Mirror

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<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center;">
</td></tr> <tr><th>Editor</th><td>Richard Wallace</td></tr> <tr><th>Political allegiance</th><td>Labour</td></tr>
TypeDaily newspaper

OwnerTrinity Mirror
FoundedNovember 2, 1903
HeadquartersOne Canada Square, London

For the Australian newspaper, see The Daily Mirror (Australia).

The Daily Mirror, often referred to simply as The Mirror, is a British tabloid daily newspaper.

During a couple of periods in its history -- 1985 to 1987 and 1997 to 2002 -- the front-page masthead was changed to The Mirror.


[edit] Early years

The Daily Mirror was launched on 2 November 1903 by Alfred Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe) as a newspaper for women, run by women. It was not a success, and in 1904 he decided to turn it into a pictorial newspaper, firing the women journalists and appointing Hamilton Fyfe as editor. With its innovative use of photography and populist right-wing politics, the relaunched Mirror rapidly established itself with a circulation of more than 500,000.

When Northcliffe died in 1921, ownership of the Mirror passed to his brother Harold Harmsworth (Lord Rothermere). Circulation continued to grow: by 1930 the Mirror was selling more than 1 million copies a day and had the third-largest sale among Briitsh national newspapers, behind only the Daily Express (owned by Lord Beaverbrook) and the Daily Mail (also owned by Rothermere).

Rothermere used the Mirror for his own political purposes just as he used the Mail. Both papers were an integral part of his joint campaign with Beaverbrook for "Empire Free Trade" in 1929-32, and the Mirror, like the Mail, gave enthusiastic support to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists in 1933-34 — support that Rothermere hastily withdrew after middle-class readers recoiled at the BUF's violence at a rally at Olympia.

By the mid-1930s, however, the Mirror was struggling — it and the Mail were the main casualties of the early-1930s circulation war that saw the Daily Herald and the Express establish circulations of more than 2 million — and Rothermere decided to sell his shares in it. His withdrawal paved the way for one of the most remarkable reworkings of a newspaper's identity ever seen.

[edit] The Mirror transformed

With Cecil King (Rothermere's nephew) in charge of the paper's finances and Guy Bartholomew as editor, the Mirror in the late 1930s transformed itself from a gently declining, respectable, conservative, middle-class newspaper into a sensationalist left-wing paper for the working class that soon proved a runaway business success. The Mirror was the first UK paper to adopt the appearance of the New York tabloids and was noted for its consistent campaign in opposing the appeasement of Adolf Hitler. By 1939, it was selling 1.4 million copies a day.

During World War II, the Mirror positioned itself as the paper of the "ordinary" soldier and civilian, critical of the incompetence of the political leadership and the established parties. In the 1945 general election it strongly supported Labour in its eventual landslide victory. By the late 1940s, it was selling 4.5 million copies a day, outstripping the Express; for some 30 years afterwards it dominated the British daily newspaper market, selling at its peak in the mid-1960s more than 5 million copies each day.

[edit] "Open To The Public"

One of the most 'open' publishers of tabloid newspapers, the Daily Mirror arranged regular tours of its printing presses at the Holborn Circus site in London, built on the site of the former Gamages department store. At the time it was one of the most technically advanced printing works in the world. Visitors were taken on tours of the entire production process and shown everything involved in producing a newspaper: the linotype machines where text was entered, the lead-melting plant where the curved leaden printing plates were cast before being attached to the cylindrical printing-press rollers, the huge reels of newsprint (paper), and the presses themselves. Shortly after the day's edition was complete the visitors could get a fresh copy of the paper literally 'hot off the press'.[citation needed]

[edit] Toppled by Murdoch

The Mirror's mass working-class readership had made it the United Kingdom's best-selling daily tabloid newspaper. But it became complacent about its success. In 1960, it acquired the Daily Herald (the popular daily of the labour movement), when it bought Odhams, in one of a series of takeovers that created the International Publishing Corporation (IPC). The Mirror management did not want the Herald competing with the Mirror for readers and in 1964 relaunched it as a mid-market paper, the Sun. And when it failed to win readers, the Sun was sold to Rupert Murdoch -- who immediately relaunched it as a more populist and more sensationalist tabloid competitor to the Mirror.

Since then, the story of the Mirror has been one of continuous decline. By the mid-1970s, the Sun had overtaken the Mirror in circulation, and in 1984 the Mirror was sold to Robert Maxwell. The import of heavyweight columnists and writers with a following, like Paul Callan from the Daily Mail sat uneasily with the perceived need to compete with The Sun. After Maxwell's death in 1991, the Mirror went through a protracted crisis before ending up in the hands of Trinity Mirror, its current owner. In recent years the paper's circulation has also been overtaken by that of the Daily Mail.

[edit] The Mirror today

The Mirror's cover on November 4, 2004 after the 2004 US elections.

Trinity Mirror is based at One Canada Square — the focal building in London's Canary Wharf development.

In 1978, the paper announced its support for a United Ireland.

During the 1990s, the paper was accused of dumbing-down in an unsuccessful attempt to poach readers from Murdoch's Sun, and was widely condemned in 1996 for publishing a headline "For you, Fritz, ze Euro 96 is over!" (regarding England's match versus Germany in the 1996 European Championships) complete with mocked-up photos of Paul Gascoigne and Stuart Pearce wearing tin helmets.

In 2002, the Mirror changed its logo from red to black in an attempt to dissociate the paper from the term "red top", a term for a sensationalist mass-market tabloid. Sometimes it was blue. On 6 April 2005, the red top came back.

Under then-editor Piers Morgan, it was the only tabloid newspaper in the UK to oppose the 2003 invasion of Iraq and ran many front pages critical of the war. It also gave financial support to the February 15, 2003 anti-war protest, paying for a large screen and providing thousands of placards.

The tabloid gained notoriety in the United States after the re-election of George W. Bush for a second term as President, with its November 4, 2004 cover. It trumpeted, "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?". The cover became a favourite of anti-Bush websites. [citation needed]

In April 2006 the paper broke the story of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's affair with his secretary.

The current editor is Richard Wallace.

[edit] Famous Mirror features

  • The "Old Codgers" letters page.
  • Chalky White, who would wander around various British seaside resorts waiting to be recognised by Mirror readers (an obscured photo of him having been published in that day's paper). Anyone who recognised him would have to repeat some phrase along the lines of "To my delight, it's Chalky White" to win £5.
  • "Shock issues" intended to highlight a particular news story.
  • The Shopping Basket -- starting in the mid 1970s, the paper monitored the cost of a £5 basket of shopping to see how it increased in price over the years. By 1979 it had doubled in price, highlighting the high inflation of those years and, ironically, helping to undermine the Labour government that the paper supported.
  • On 2 April 1996, the Daily Mirror was printed entirely on blue paper. This was done as a marketing exercise with Pepsi-Cola, who on the same day had decided to relaunch their cans with a blue design instead of the old red and white logo.

[edit] Fake abuse photos

Image:The Daily Mirror - Sorry We Were Hoaxed.jpg
Front page of The Daily Mirror after publishing faked photographs.

In May 2004, the Daily Mirror published what it claimed were photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. The decision to publish the photos, which were subsequently shown to be hoaxes, led to the sacking of Morgan on 14 May 2004. The Daily Mirror then stated that it was the subject of a "calculated and malicious hoax" [1]. The newspaper issued a statement apologizing for the printing of the pictures and immediately accepted the resignation of editor Piers Morgan. The paper's deputy editor, Des Kelly, took over as acting editor during the crisis. The tabloid's rival, The Sun, offered a £50,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those accused of faking the Mirror photographs.

There is a belief that the Mirror accepted the photos without any detailed background checks of their origin because of the paper's opposition to the Iraq War. Military experts who looked at the photos were instantly able to point out discrepancies. However, in his autobiography The Insider, based on diary entries from the time, Piers Morgan wrote that the decision to publish the photos was a difficult one and extensive consultation was made, not least with his brother, Jeremy, who was in Basra at the time.

[edit] The Sunday Mirror

The Sunday Mirror is basically the same newspaper published on Sunday. It began life in 1915 as The Sunday Pictoral and changed to become the Sunday Mirror in 1963. Trinity Mirror also owns The People (once Sunday People). Many commentators have said that the company's ownership of two red-top Sunday papers chasing a similar market is odd, especially as they fight each other for readers as well as the News of the World.

The Sunday Mirror's current editor is Tina Weaver.

[edit] References in popular culture

A sketch in a 1969 episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus parodied the Mirror's letters pages: 'Dear Mirrorview, I would like to be paid five guineas for saying something stupid about a television programme.'

In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, The Delta Mirror is a newspaper intended to be read by the "Delta" caste, the fourth out of five intelligence castes.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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The Daily Mirror

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