Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Now that we don't have to buy them we're all newspaper readers

I tweeted a recommendation of a very good column by the Daily Mail's Martin Samuel. Somebody tweeted back that, "while I never read the Daily Mail", the column was very good. Which can only mean that he read it and therefore it's not strictly true to say that he "never reads the Daily Mail".

It strikes me that these days it's as anachronistic to describe yourself as a militant non-reader of a particular title as it is to call yourself a reader of another one. Being a reader of a newspaper in the old fashioned sense implied buying a newspaper at the station on the way to work and then reading it in public in such a way that it advertised something of your social status or world view.

Now that the newspapers have done us the enormous favour of giving away all their content for free we have no need to announce ourselves as a reader of one or another. Instead we go merrily clicking over the wide savannah of the internet oblivious to the jurisdictions we may be crossing. There's strong evidence to suggest that the Daily Mail website became the most popular site in Britain because it is patronised equally by people who would describe themselves as "readers" as "non-readers". What both groups have in common is they read it.


  1. That's because we all like stories and don't really mind who's written them. Leaders aside, the slant which could be detected from 100 paces until recently has all but vanished from most dailies (The Mail excepted). Weekly columns by the likes of Clarkson or Gill don't even have to be read in The Times - they can be found almost anywhere on the net. And if you miss one then just wait 'til they bag 'em all up and put them into stocking fillers. With your iPads/laptops/Kindles you're just reading 24 hour rolling news which, by the time you stick News At Ten on, soon becomes the modern day equivalent of yesterday's chip wrappers.

  2. There is, of course, the option of employing an ad-blocker so that you limit the financial gain the Mail makes by enticing you in through outrage.

  3. It's true, I'm always on the guardian site but I do go onto the mails website once or twice a day. Mostly because it's hilarious to read the anti health and safety stuff, muslims are evil and so on

  4. I hate it when I follow a link and inadvertently end up on the Mail site which I have a policy of avoiding.

  5. John - if you really want to remove any financial gain to the Daily Mail from your visits - the truly paranoid would read it via a google cache. As although with an ad blocker you are breaking part of the advertising machine, you'll still be registering traffic on the site. And this traffic number (10 million unique users a day or whatever) will be a figure used by the sales team to inflate prices.

    Also you'll have to not click any external links on the site as you'll not be sure which have been placed there with an affiliate marketing kickback.

    And finally you'll need special glasses to filter the advertorial that might seep into your brain which is indistinguishable from the editorial by any tech test I can think of.

    The Daily Mail - it's a brilliantly successful site, love it or hate it you visit it.

  6. The mail is a bit like the crazy man in town who dances in the middle of the roundabout with a can of special brew in his hands. You can't help but gawp at the stupid attention seeking activities but you certainly don't want them in your own home.