Daily Mirror Not Up for Sale; Editor Not Up for Slaughter

09 May 2003

The chairman of Trinity Mirror, Britain's largest newspaper publishing group, was categorical. Its flagship title Daily Mirror is not up for sale; and the head of its editor, Piers Morgan, will remain attached to his neck – “at the moment”.

Responding to an angry shareholder at the group’s annual meeting, chairman Sir Victor Blank said he regarded Morgan as “a very good and capable tabloid editor. He is not at the moment on the way out”. But the qualification in Sir Victor’s last sentence will give Morgan little comfort.

The Mirror has recently lost sales big time, falling below the psychologically important two-million mark for the first time in its history [WAMN: 24-Apr-03] . This is partly attributed to the title’s animosity toward the US/UK attack on Iraq – but a far more significant factor is Morgan’s courageous decision to take the hitherto raucous tabloid upmarket and cease trying to outshine Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun in the tits and bums sector.

Group advertising sales for the first four months of the 2003 were marginally ahead of 2002, although advertising sank 5.4% year-on-year for TM’s local London titles. Over the same period, the price-cutting strategy – directed at The Sun – cost the group £5.7 million ($9.17m; €7.96m).

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff