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Daily Mail
Daily Mail front page April 7, 2008.
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner Daily Mail and General Trust
Publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd
Editor Paul Dacre
Founded 4 May 1896
Political alignment traditionalist conservatism[1]
Language English
Circulation 1,993,698 [2]
Official website www.dailymail.co.uk

The Daily Mail is a British daily middle market tabloid newspaper. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper, The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982. Scottish and Irish editions of the paper were launched in 1947 and 2006 respectively. The Daily Mail was Britain's first daily newspaper aimed at the newly-literate "lower-middle class market resulting from mass education, combining a low retail price with plenty of competitions, prizes and promotional gimmicks"[3], and the first British paper to sell a million copies a day.[4] It was, from the outset, a newspaper for women, being the first to provide features especially for them, and is still the only British newspaper whose readership is more than 50% female.[5][6][7]



The Mail was originally a broadsheet but switched to a compact format[8] on 3 May 1971, the 75th anniversary of its founding. On this date it also absorbed the Daily Sketch, which had been published as a tabloid by the same company. The publisher of the Mail, the Daily Mail and General Trust is currently a FTSE 250 company and the paper has a circulation of just under two million which is the third-largest circulation of any English language daily newspaper and one of the highest in the world.[9]

Circulation figures according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations in February 2010 show gross sales of 1,993,698 for the Daily Mail.[2] According to a December 2004 survey, 53% of Daily Mail readers voted for the Conservative Party, compared to 21% for Labour and 17% for the Liberal Democrats.[10] The main concern of Viscount Rothermere, the current chairman and main shareholder, is that the circulation be maintained. He testified before a House of Lords select committee that "we need to allow editors the freedom to edit", and therefore the newspaper had no firm political allegiance or policy.[11] The Mail has been edited by Paul Dacre since 1992.


Early history

The Daily Mail, devised by Alfred Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe) and his brother Harold (later Lord Rothermere), was first published on 4 May 1896. It was an immediate success. It cost a halfpenny at a time when other London dailies cost one penny, and was more populist in tone and more concise in its coverage than its rivals. The planned issue was 100,000 copies but the print run on the first day was 397,215 and additional printing facilities had to be acquired to sustain a circulation which rose to 500,000 in 1899. By 1902, at the end of the Boer War, the circulation was over a million, making it the largest in the world.[12][13]

With Harold running the business side of the operation and Alfred as Editor, the Mail from the start adopted a imperialist political stance, taking a patriotic line in the Second Boer War, leading to claims that it was not reporting the issues of the day objectively.[14] From the beginning, the Mail also set out to entertain its readers with human interest stories, serials, features and competitions (which were also the main means by which the Harmsworths promoted the paper).

In 1900 the Daily Mail began printing simultaneously in both Manchester and London, the first national newspaper to do so (in 1899 the Mail had organised special trains to bring the London-printed papers north). The same production method was adopted in 1909 by the Daily Sketch, in 1927 by the Daily Express and eventually by virtually all the other national newspapers. Printing of the Scottish Daily Mail was switched from Edinburgh to the Deansgate plant in Manchester in 1968 and for a while The People was also printed on the Mail presses in Deansgate. In 1987 printing at Deansgate ended and the Mail's northern editions were thereafter printed at other Associated Newspapers plants.

In 1906 the paper offered £1,000 for the first flight across the English Channel and £10,000 for the first flight from London to Manchester. Punch magazine thought the idea preposterous and offered £10,000 for the first flight to Mars, but by 1910 both the Mail's prizes had been won. (For full list see Daily Mail aviation prizes.)

In 1908, the Daily Mail began the Ideal Home Exhibition, which it still runs today.

The paper was accused of warmongering before the outbreak of World War I, when it reported that Germany was planning to crush the British Empire. Northcliffe created controversy by advocating conscription when the war broke out.[15] On 21 May 1915, Northcliffe wrote a blistering attack on Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War. Kitchener was considered a national hero, and overnight the paper's circulation dropped from 1,386,000 to 238,000. 1,500 members of the London Stock Exchange ceremonially burned the unsold copies and launched a boycott against the Harmsworth Press. Prime Minister H. H. Asquith accused the paper of being disloyal to the country.

When Kitchener died, the Mail reported it as a great stroke of luck for the British Empire[citation needed]. The paper then campaigned against Asquith, who resigned on 5 December 1916.[16] His successor, David Lloyd George, asked Northcliffe to be in his cabinet, hoping it would prevent him from criticising the government. Northcliffe declined.[17]

Inter-war period

As Lord Northcliffe aged, his grip on the paper slackened and he might have nothing to do with it for months at a time. But light-hearted stunts might enliven him, such as the Hat campaign in the winter of 1920. This was a contest with a prize of £100 for new design of hat — a subject in which Northcliffe took a particular interest. There were 40,000 entries and the winner was a cross between a top hat and a bowler which was christened the Daily Mail Sandringham Hat. The paper subsequently promoted the wearing of it but without much success.[18] In 1922, when Lord Northcliffe died, Lord Rothermere took full control of the paper.

In 1919, Alcock and Brown made the first flight across the Atlantic winning a prize of £10,000 from the Daily Mail. In 1930, the Mail made a great story of another aviation stunt, awarding another prize of £10,000 to Amy Johnson for making the first solo flight from England to Australia.[19]

On 25 October 1924 the Daily Mail published the forged Zinoviev Letter, which indicated that British Communists were planning violent revolution. This was a significant factor in the defeat of Ramsay MacDonald's Labour Party in the 1924 general election, held four days later.[20]

From 1923, Lord Rothermere and the Daily Mail formed an alliance with the other great press baron, Lord Beaverbrook. Their opponent was the Conservative party politician and leader Stanley Baldwin. By 1929, George Ward Price was writing in the Mail that Baldwin should be deposed and Beaverbrook elected as leader. In early 1930, the two Lords launched the United Empire Party which the Daily Mail supported enthusiastically. The rise of the new party dominated the newspaper and, even though Beaverbrook soon withdrew, Rothermere continued to campaign. Vice Admiral Taylor fought the first by-election for the United Empire Party in October, defeating the official Conservative candidate by 941 votes. Baldwin's position was now in doubt but, in 1931, Duff Cooper, won the key by-election at St George's, Westminster, beating the UEP candidate, Sir Ernest Petter, supported by Rothermere, and this broke the political power of the press barons.[21]

In 1927, the celebrated picture of the year, Morning by Dod Proctor was bought by the Daily Mail for the Tate Gallery.[22]

On 10 July 1933, Rothermere wrote an editorial titled "Youth Triumphant" in support of Adolf Hitler, this was subsequently used as propaganda by the Nazis.[23] In early 1934, Rothermere and the Mail were editorially sympathetic to Oswald Mosley and the radical National Socialist British Union of Fascists.[24] Rothermere wrote an article entitled "Hurrah for the Blackshirts", in January 1934, praising Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine".[25] During the great abdication crisis of 1936, the Daily Mail supported the King, but was only joined by the Daily Express, Evening Standard and Evening News.[26]

Rothermere was a friend and supporter of both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, which influenced the Mail's political stance towards them up to 1939.[27][28] Rothermere visited and corresponded with Hitler. On 1 October 1938, Rothermere sent Hitler a telegram in support of Germany's invasion of the Sudetenland, and expressing the hope that 'Adolf the Great' would become a popular figure in Britain. However, this was tempered by an awareness of the military threat from the resurgent Germany, of which he warned J.C. Davidson. Rothermere had an executive plane built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company which, with a speed of 307 mph, was faster than any fighter. In 1935, this plane was presented to the RAF on behalf of the Daily Mail where it became the Bristol Blenheim bomber.[29]

In 1937, the Mail's chief war correspondent, George Ward Price, to whom Mussolini once wrote in support of him and the newspaper, published a book, I Know These Dictators, in defence of Hitler and Mussolini. Evelyn Waugh was sent as a reporter for the Mail to cover the anticipated Italian invasion of Ethiopia.

In 1938, as persecution of the Jews in Europe escalated, the Mail objected to their seeking asylum in Britain. “The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage. The number of aliens entering the country through the back door is­ a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed.”

Rothermere and the Mail supported Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement, particularly during the events leading up to the Munich Agreement. In 2005, the British Foreign Office disclosed previously secret letters from Rothermere addressed to Hitler from the summer of 1939, in which he congratulated the German leader on his annexation of Czechoslovakia, urged him to invade Romania, and called Hitler's work "great and superhuman". [1] [2]

Recent history

On 5 May 1946, the Daily Mail celebrated its Golden Jubilee. Winston Churchill was the chief guest at the banquet and toasted it with a speech,[30]

I remember lunching at Londonderry House on the day when the Daily Mail first came out, and Alfred Harmsworth sat as the guest of honour at a very small party — a very remarkable man, a man of great influence and independence. In a free country where enterprise can make its way, he was able to create this enormous, lasting, persuasive and attractive newspaper which had its influence in our daily lives and with which we have walked along the road for 50 years.

In reply, Lord Rothermere II, had something to say about the newsprint shortages at that time for, while the Mail of 1896 was 8 pages, the Mail of 1946 was reduced to just 4.[30]

The Daily Mail was transformed by its editor of the seventies and eighties, Sir David English. Sir David began his Fleet Street career in 1951, joining The Daily Mirror before moving to The Daily Sketch, where he became features editor. It was the Sketch which brought him his first editorship, from 1969 to 1971. That year the Sketch was closed and he moved to take over the top job at the Mail, where he was to remain for more than 20 years. English transformed it from a struggling rival selling two million copies fewer than the Daily Express to a formidable journalistic powerhouse, which soared dramatically in popularity. After 20 years perfecting the Mail, Sir David English became editor-in-chief and chairman of Associated Newspapers in 1992.

The paper enjoyed a period of journalistic success in the 1980s, employing some of the most inventive writers in old Fleet Street including the gossip columnist Nigel Dempster, Lynda Lee Potter and sportswriter Ian Wooldridge (who unlike some of his colleagues — the paper generally did not support sporting boycotts of white-minority-ruled South Africa — strongly opposed Apartheid). In 1982, a Sunday title, the Mail on Sunday was launched (the Sunday Mail was already the name of a newspaper in Scotland, owned by the Mirror Group.) There are Scottish editions of both the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, with different articles and columnists. In 1992, the current editor, Paul Dacre, was appointed.

Scottish, Irish & Indian editions

Scottish Daily Mail

Scottish Daily Mail masthead.jpg

The Scottish Daily Mail was published as a separate title from Edinburgh, starting in 1947.[31] The circulation was poor though, falling to below 100,000 and the operation was rebased to Manchester in December 1968.[32] In 1995 the Scottish Daily Mail was relaunched printed in Glasgow. With a circulation in Dec 2009 of 113,771 making it the third highest daily newspaper sale in Scotland.[33]

Irish edition

The Daily Mail officially entered the Irish market with the launch of a local version of the paper on 6 February 2006; free copies of the paper were distributed on that day in some locations to publicise the launch. Its masthead differs from that of UK versions by having a green rectangle with the word "IRISH", instead of the Royal Arms. The Irish version includes stories of Irish interest alongside content from the UK version. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Irish edition had a circulation of 63,511 for July 2007 and is steadily increasing on each survey.[34] Since 24 September 2006 Ireland on Sunday, the Irish Sunday newspaper acquired by Associated in 2001, was replaced by an Irish edition of the Mail on Sunday (the Irish Mail on Sunday), to tie in with the weekday newspaper.

Mail Today

The newspaper entered India on 16 November 2007 with the launch of Mail Today,[35] a 48-page compact size newspaper printed in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida with a print run of 110,000 copies. Based around a subscription model, the newspaper has the same fonts and feel as the Daily Mail and was set up with investment from Associated Newspapers and editorial assistance from the Daily Mail newsroom.[36]

Libel lawsuits

The Daily Mail has been involved in a number of notable libel suits. Among them are:

  • 2009 - January - £30,000 award to Dr Austen Ivereigh, who had worked for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, following false accusations made by the newspaper concerning abortion.[37]
  • 2006 - May - £100,000 damages for Elton John, following false accusations concerning his manners and behaviour.[38]
  • 2003- October — Actress Diana Rigg awarded £30,000 in damages over a story commenting on aspects of her personality.[39]
  • 2001 - February — Businessman Alan Sugar was awarded £100,000 in damages following a story commenting on his stewardship of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.[40]

Editorial stance

Current columnists

The paper is generally critical of the BBC, which it argues is biased to the left.[41]

In the late 1960s, the paper went through a phase of being liberal on social issues like corporal punishment but returned to its traditional conservative line.

It has Richard Littlejohn, who returned in 2005 from The Sun, alongside Peter Hitchens, who joined its sister title the Mail on Sunday in 2001, when his former newspaper, the Daily Express, was purchased by Richard Desmond, the owner of a number of pornographic titles. The editorial stance was critical of Tony Blair, when he was still Prime Minister, and endorsed the Conservative Party in the 2005 general election[42] In Blair's earlier years as Labour leader and then Prime Minister, the paper wrote positively about him and his reforms of the party. Johann Hari, a noted gay journalist [43] accused Littlejohn of having a "psychiatric disorder" about homosexuality with a "pornographic imagination."[44]

The Mail has also opposed the growing of genetically-modified crops in the United Kingdom, a stance it shares with many of its left-wing critics.

On international affairs, the Mail broke with the establishment media consensus over the 2008 South Ossetia war between Russia and Georgia. The Mail accused the British government of dragging Britain into an unnecessary confrontation with Russia and of hypocrisy regarding its protests over Russian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia's independence, citing the British government's own recognition of Kosovo's independence from Russia's ally Serbia.[45]

Famous stories

On 7 January 1967, the Mail published a story, "The holes in our roads", about potholes, giving the examples of Blackburn where it said there were 4,000 holes. This detail was then immortalised by John Lennon in the Beatles song A Day in the Life along with an account of the death of Tara Browne which also appeared in the same issue.[46]

The Mail campaigned on the case of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager who was murdered in a racially motivated attack in Eltham, London in April 1993. On 14 February 1997, the Mail led its front page with a picture of the five men accused of Lawrence's murder and the headline "MURDERERS", stating that it believed that the men had murdered Lawrence and adding "if we are wrong, let them sue us".[47] This attracted praise from Paul Foot and Peter Preston.[48]

On 16 July 1993 the Mail ran the headline "Abortion hope after 'gay genes' finding";[49] this headline has been widely criticised in subsequent years, for example as "perhaps the most infamous and disturbing headline of all" (of headlines from tabloid newspapers commenting on the Xq28 gene).[50]

The 16 October 2009 Jan Moir article on the death of Stephen Gately,[51] which many people felt was inaccurate, insensitive, and homophobic, generated over 25,000 complaints, the highest number of complaints for a newspaper article in the history of the Press Complaints Commission.[52][53] Major advertisers such as Marks and Spencer responded to the criticism by asking for their own adverts to be removed from the Mail Online webpage around Moir's article. The Daily Mail removed all display ads from the webpage with the Gately column.[54]

Supplements and features

The newspaper sponsored the first Ideal Home Exhibition in 1908 and this became a regular event. At first, Northcliffe disdained this as a publicity stunt to sell advertising and he refused to attend. But his wife exerted pressure upon him and he changed his views, becoming more supportive. By 1922, the editorial side of the paper was fully engaged in promoting the benefits of modern appliances and technology to free its female readers from the drudgery of housework.[55]

Daily Mail

  • City & Finance - City & Finance is the business part of the Daily Mail, and the Financial Mail is the business paper free with the Mail on Sunday. City & Finance features City News and the results from the London Stock Exchange, and also has its own website called This is Money.[56]
  • Travelmail - Contains travel articles, advertisements etc.
  • Femail - Femail is an extensive part of the Daily Mail's newspaper and website, being one of four main features on Mail Online others being News, TV & Showbiz and Sport. It is designed for women.
  • Weekend - The Daily Mail Weekend is a TV guide published by the Daily Mail, included free with the Mail every Saturday. Weekend magazine, launched in October 1993, is issued free with the Saturday Daily Mail. The guide does not use a magazine-type layout but chooses a newspaper style similar to the Daily Mail itself. In April 2007, the "Weekend" had a major revamp. A feature changed during the revamp was a dedicated Freeview channel page.

Mail on Sunday

  • Financial Mail on Sunday - now part of the main paper, this section includes the Financial Mail Enterprise, focusing on small business.
  • You - You magazine is a women's magazine featured in the Mail on Sunday. It is a mix of in-depth features plus fashion, beauty advice, practical insights on health and relationships, food recipes and interiors. The Mail markets it, with Live magazine, as the only paper to have a magazine for him (Live) and for her (You). The Mail on Sunday is read by over six million a week.[57]
  • Live - this magazine is aimed at men. The main features are columns by well-known people[citation needed].
  • Mail on Sunday 2 This pullout includes review, featuring articles on the arts, books and culture and it consists of reviews of all media and entertainment forms and interviews with sector personalities, property, travel and health.
  • Sportsmail - on the back pages of the Mail. It features different sports including an emphasis on alternative sports such as darts and snooker.[citation needed]
  • Football Mail on Sunday - this reviews Premier League, Championship and Football League games from Saturday as well certain international games.

Regular cartoon strips

Current cartoon strips that are in the Daily Mail include Garfield which moved from the Daily Express in 2006 and is also included in The Mail on Sunday. I Don't Believe It is another 3/4 part strip, written by Dick Millington. Odd Streak and The Strip Show, which is shown in 3D are one part strips. Up and Running is a strip distributed by Knight Features and Fred Basset follows the life of the dog of the same name in a two part strip in the Daily Mail since 8 July 1963.[58] The Gambols are another feature in the Mail on Sunday.

The long-running Teddy Tail cartoon strip, was first published on 5 April 1915 and was the first cartoon strip in a British newspaper.[59] It ran for over 40 years to 1960, spawning the Teddy Tail League Children's Club and many annuals from 1934 to 1942 and again from 1949 to 1962. Teddy Tail was a mouse, with friends Kitty Puss (a cat), Douglas Duck and Dr. Beetle. Teddy Tail is always shown with a knot in his tail.[60][61]

Online media

The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday publish most of their news online in a service called the Mail Online. Most of the site can be viewed for free and without registration, though some services require users to register.


Notable regular contributors (past and present)




Past writers


1896: S. J. Pryor
1899: Thomas Marlowe
1922: W. G. Fish
1930: Oscar Pulvermacher
1930: William McWhirter
1931: W. L. Warden
1935: Arthur Cranfield
1939: Bob Prew
1944: Sidney Horniblow
1947: Frank Owen
1950: Guy Schofield
1955: Arthur Wareham
1959: William Hardcastle
1963: Mike Randall
1966: Arthur Brittenden
1971: David English
1992: Paul Dacre

Source: D. Butler and A. Sloman, British Political Facts, 1900–1975 p. 378

See also

  • Daily Chronicle, a newspaper which merged with the Daily News to become the News-Chronicle and was finally absorbed by the Daily Mail


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  27. ^ Griffiths, Richard (1980). Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany, 1933-9. London: Constable. ISBN 0-09-463460-2. 
  28. ^ Taylor, S. J. (1996). The Great Outsiders: Northcliffe, Rothermere and the Daily Mail. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-81653-5. 
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  40. ^ Daniel RogersSugar wins libel battle, 16 February 2001, The Guardian
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  57. ^ Advertising for the Daily Mail
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  62. ^ Source: Williams' memoir, The World of Action (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1938), which describes his career and journalistic adventures.

External links

Simple English

[[File:|200px|thumb|right|Daily Mail seen with other newspapers]] The Daily Mail is a large well-known newspaper printed in Britain. It started in 1886. It is published, from a factory in London, every weekday and Saturday in London, England. It is not printed on Sundays. Its sister paper, the Mail on Sunday, is printed instead.

It is the second most sold newspaper in Britain and sells more than a million copies a day. Its political opinion is right-wing and supports the Conservative Party in elections. The newspaper is available in many countries outside Britain, such as Egypt and the USA. There is a different Scottish edition of the newspaper which is sold in Scotland only and differs mainly in the Sport pages. There is also an Irish version of the newspaper, but the main international version is the English one. It is the principal publication of the Daily Mail and General Trust, but the company also prints the Evening Standard, London Lite and Metro newspapers in the UK.

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