Associated Newspapers editor-in-chief Paul Dacre’s record pay (£2.8m) is an amazing amount, but he is probably worth every penny.
While bankers trouser tens of millions for doing little more than ride a rising stock-market, Dacre continues to perform an amazing publishing conjuring trick. At a time when everyone is writing off the printed word, the Daily Mail in particular continues to be a high profitable and seemingly unstoppable journalism supertanker.
The sales drop of two per cent in 2010 was far ahead of the market and in any case easily compensated for by an online readership which increased by more than 60 per cent to over 50m according to ABCe.
Associated’s profits of £95m on turnover off £850m must largely be put down to Dacre’s journalistic genius. Whatever anyone thinks about his politics, and that of the Daily Mail, he is the pre-eminent journalist of our age.
We talk endlessly about the future of journalism, but on current evidence – the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro are three newspaper titles where their survival and success for the foreseeable future is entirely assured. With the first of those two titles at least, that success is largely down to quality and being the best at what they do. So perhaps Dacre (not yet Lord, but just wait until he retires) has found the answer.