Out with red tops as Mirrors get serious

The new Daily Mirror masthead and the Sunday paper’s new magazine

The Mirror newspapers have dumped their red tops and signed up a handful of respected writers in a bid to be taken more seriously.

As part of a two-year, £20m investment programme, the papers have also vowed to halt bulk sales, and The Mirror has gone back to calling itself the Daily Mirror. The Sunday paper is also launching a new magazine called M Celebs.

Mirror editor Piers Morgan said: "The red top used to be a badge of tabloid honour. Now it epitomises something downmarket, sleazy and tacky – three adjectives that could never apply to the new Mirror."

The masthead is now white, underlined in red.

Morgan added that the red top had become a purchasing barrier to people who did not usually buy the paper.

"Too many people out there are oblivious to what we are doing," said Morgan.

He said that the move away from trivia had begun after September 11, but added that the 3am showbusiness page had doubled in size and staff.

He described the column as a "frontline assault weapon", boosted by serious news, sport and M magazine.

Morgan said too many readers had missed calling the newspaper the Daily Mirror and said the return to the old name was part of making clear the identities of both papers.

Another tip of the cap to tradition for the newspaper is the return of the Cassandra column, which championed people’s rights and once famously got sued for questioning Liberace’s sexuality.

The Saturday paper has been redesigned slightly with the addition of a new Review section and a larger racing supplement called The Winner.

The recent columnist signings to boost the Mirror’s credibility include John Pilger, Christopher Hitchens, Miranda Sawyer and Jonathan Freedland.

Morgan declared the "end of the decline" in the Mirror’s circulation – a sales erosion that has been constant over the past 30 years.

Having already stemmed that decline, he vowed circulation this time next year would be higher and said the central tool in achieving this would be persuading existing readers to buy the paper more often.

The changes to the papers will be backed by a television advertising campaign.

Ashley Davies

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