MEDIA HEADLINER: Tabloid stalwart plans to give The Mirror the feminine touch. The paper’s deputy editor is overseeing a glossy for women. By Anna Griffiths

By ANNA GRIFFITHS, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 22 October 1999 12:00AM

Tina Weaver, The Mirror’s deputy editor, looks remarkably cool when she is told during one of Roger Eastoe’s lectures on the newspaper’s rejuvenation plans that she is doing a Headliner interview with Campaign in 20 minutes.

Tina Weaver, The Mirror’s deputy editor, looks remarkably cool when

she is told during one of Roger Eastoe’s lectures on the newspaper’s

rejuvenation plans that she is doing a Headliner interview with Campaign

in 20 minutes.



But then, working for The Mirror and alongside the newspaper’s editor,

Piers Morgan, she has to be ready for anything.



Weaver, who could be mistaken for one of Hall’s Angels (a term coined

for the News of the World’s glamorous blonde hackettes who work on

exclusives for its editor, Phil Hall), is a tabloid hack through and

through. So her new venture, M magazine, a weekly glossy title that will

come out with The Mirror every Tuesday, has been a relatively new

experience. ’I’ve enjoyed working with women for the first time,’ jokes

Weaver, who has plundered IPC for M’s editorial team.



The magazine’s existence has opened up a new front on the newspaper

battleground.



And for once, The Mirror has managed to get in there first. The

conception and development of the magazine had been a closely guarded

secret until Campaign wrote about it three weeks ago. Even when I’m

given a copy of the magazine on Friday afternoon, Eastoe, Trinity

Mirror’s group managing director of national newspapers, wraps it up in

a suspicious-looking brown envelope, because it is still a closely

guarded secret.



M has been designed to broaden The Mirror’s appeal to women, but Weaver

is insistent that it will not be too upmarket for the newspaper’s

readership.



It will cover shopping, celebrities, beauty, fashion, health,

relationships, interiors, travel and food, and will run two major

features every week.


’It’s not pompous, up itself or threatening,’ Weaver says. ’It’s very

easy reading and friendly. We want it to be a woman’s guide to

everything, pared down and made simple.’



Weaver will look after the title, along with her normal duties of

overseeing features and fashion and deputising for Morgan. ’Most

newspaper sections are designed by men, and they look like it. There are

no newspaper people involved on this magazine, apart from myself,’ she

declares.



The magazine will have made a significant dent on The Mirror’s budget,

but its presence is part of the paper’s rejuvenation plan. Weaver and

Eastoe both admit that in the past the daily newspaper has not done

enough for its female readers and it is hoped that M will bring in more

women and boost the newspaper’s sales.



Weaver says: ’There are three million women reading The Mirror every

weekday and we don’t feel they are well catered for. So we wanted to do

something different.’



During her time at The Mirror, Weaver has doubled the number of female

journalists and introduced five new sections to the paper. Despite a

taste of the glossy world on M, Weaver is adamant that newspapers are

her ’thing’. She says: ’I like the immediacy and excitement of

newspapers. You start with 70 blank pages at 10am and fill them with

bright ideas with very few mistakes.’



Morgan is bullish about the attributes Weaver’s new project will bring

to The Mirror. ’There’s been a lack of boldness by newspapers for too

long,’ he claims. ’We believe we will increase our profits and

circulation. The benefits to (parent company) Trinity Mirror of having

the flagship title going forward, not backwards, cannot be

qualified.’



Morgan is keen to point out that M is entirely Weaver’s doing. He says:

’This has been nothing to do with me. Every single contribution I’ve

made has been rejected - they’ve used me as an arbiter of bad taste, and

as a result have created a very good magazine.’



Weaver joined The Mirror as assistant editor (features) in 1995 from

Today. The previous year, she was named reporter of the year at the

British Press Awards, after breaking the story that one of Michael

Jackson’s chief accusers in the paedophile case would be paid off. When

Morgan’s second and third in command left to join The Sun, he promoted

Weaver to deputy editor.



After school Weaver, 33, completed an NCTJ training course before going

to work for South West News where she moved up the ranks to become news

editor. At 21, she was offered a reporter’s post on The People and

hasn’t looked back since.



But despite years spent in a male- dominated, cut-throat industry,

Weaver seems sensitive about M. Her parting shot as I leave the office,

accompanied by a plaintive look and wide open blue eyes, is: ’Please say

nice things about the magazine.’ Morgan, on the other hand, gives any

potential rivals a two-fingered provocation: ’Come and match it -

nothing would give me more pleasure.’



THE WEAVER FILE



1987: South West News, reporter/news editor



1989: The People, reporter rising to chief reporter



1993: The Mirror, reporter



1993: Today, reporter/features writer



1995: Today, features editor



1995: The Mirror, assistant editor (features)



1997: The Mirror, deputy editor



1999: M magazine, launch editor.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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