Oops. If you’re going to fuck up in a story about the national
newspaper market, the last person you want to upset is the Daily Mail’s
managing director, Guy Zitter.
Zitter is one of the smartest, wittiest and most stylish operators in
the marketplace but also one of those people who have no fears when they
walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Have we grovelled
In a piece purporting to show that the Mail’s huge circulation increases
hadn’t been at the expense of quality of readership, our reporter,
Alasdair ’hopeless fuckwit’ Reid, got his figures wrong. Very wrong
indeed. This after Zitter had not only spelled out the figures in words
of one syllable but had followed that up with a fax.
Zitter was threatening to buy Campaign - the company, not a subscription
- so he could have the pleasure of personally handing a P45 to the
hapless hack. Then he discovered that, like the management trainee in
the Economist ads, Reid has been on probation for almost a decade and
doesn’t actually hold down a full-time job. If fact, one of the problems
is that Reid is so downmarket that he has a less than firm grasp of the
For the record, the Daily Mail has one of the country’s most upmarket
readerships, with 64 per cent in the ABC1 category and 29 per cent in
the even more rarefied AB demographic.
Zitter, who claims to be a reasonable man and who doesn’t mind being
called a balding fat git now and then, draws the line at this sort of
slur. Last week, he confronted Reid: ’You utter bastard. This when we’re
negotiating on next year’s budgets. Can you think of anything that will
give me satisfaction and humiliate you completely? And remember, I’m
very happily married.’
Er ... how about this Diary piece?