The Daily Mirror used to provide a genuine, popular alternative to
the Sun. It had a strong campaigning editorial stance which gave it a
place in working-class life that no other paper could challenge. Sadly
for the Mirror, the world ran away from it.
So whatever you thought about the Daily Mirror and its readers - earthy,
honest, struggling to survive, old - forget it. Young, thrusting Piers
Morgan has finally convinced his boss that the only way to stop the
Sun’s surge into the sunset, and to attract young, thrusting readers, is
to join them. He’s therefore created a new Mirror in his own image and
that of his old stomping ground, the News of the World.
To be successful, this relaunch has to capture the new mood and new,
younger readers at a time when New Labour’s popularity could benefit new
Mirror. This looks unlikely because the changes fail to provide a
compelling reason to start buying the paper again. There is the
resurrection of a page three girl - without the tits. Without the open
sexuality of the Loaded/FHM approach, this is unlikely to cause a rise
in anything related to circulation. With it, older readers will probably
The same problem exists with Tony Parsons. He’s perfect for Arena, is a
nicely discordant presence in the Telegraph and works as an antidote to
the ghastly Alison Pearson on the Late Show. However, I can’t see too
many Sun readers getting the Mirror in order to read Parsons’ cynical,
knowing slant on current social and cultural issues.
Miriam Stoppard isn’t a bad addition. She’ll be popular with
hard-pressed mums and appeals to the whole family. The new showbiz/pop
column, ’Mad for it’, is much needed but only gives the Mirror what the
Sun has already got.
The big problem is that it is just responding to the Sun’s agenda. It
needs values that make it modern and different.
Tim Elton is an associate director of BBJ Media Services.