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The Daily Mirror (informally The Mirror) is a British national daily tabloid newspaper which was founded in 1903. From 1985 to 1987, and from 1997 to 2002, the title on its masthead was simply The Mirror. It had an average daily circulation of 1,083,938 in March 2012. Its Sunday sister paper is the Sunday Mirror.

 

 

Daily Mirror newspaper front page news

 


The Mirror has had a number of owners. It was founded by Alfred Harmsworth, who sold it to his brother Harold Harmsworth (from 1914 Lord Rothermere) in 1913. In 1963 a restructuring of the media interests of the Harmsworth family led to the Mirror becoming a part of International Publishing Corporation. The Mirror was owned by Robert Maxwell between 1984 and 1991. The paper went through a protracted period of crisis after his death before merging with the regional newspaper group Trinity in 1999 to form Trinity Mirror.

 

On 2 April 1996, the Daily Mirror was printed entirely on blue paper. This was done as a marketing exercise with Pepsi-Cola, who on the same day had decided to re-launch their cans with a blue design instead of the traditional red and white logo.


In May 2004, the Daily Mirror published what it claimed were photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at an unspecified location in Iraq. The decision to publish the photos, subsequently shown to be hoaxes, led to Morgan's sacking as editor on 14 May 2004. The Daily Mirror then stated that it was the subject of a "calculated and malicious hoax".

 

The newspaper issued a statement apologising for the printing of the pictures. The paper's deputy editor, Des Kelly, took over as acting editor during the crisis. The tabloid's rival, The Sun, offered a £50,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those accused of faking the Mirror photographs.


In February 2008 both the Daily and the Sunday Mirror implied that TV presenter Kate Garraway was having an affair. She sued for libel, receiving an apology and compensation payment in April 2008.


On 18 September 2008, David Anderson, a British sports journalist writing for the Mirror, repeated a claim deriving from vandalism on Wikipedia's entry for Cypriot football team AC Omonia, which asserted that their fans were called "The Zany Ones" and liked to wear hats made from discarded shoes. The claim was part of Anderson's match preview ahead of AC Omonia's game with Manchester City, which appeared in the web and print versions of the Mirror, with the nickname also quoted in subsequent editions on 19 September. The episode was featured in Private Eye.


On 12 May 2011, the High Court of England and Wales granted the Attorney General permission to bring a case for contempt against The Sun and the Daily Mirror for the way they had reported on the arrest of a person of interest in the Murder of Joanna Yeates. On 29 July, the Court ruled that both newspapers had been in contempt of court, fining the Daily Mirror £50,000 and The Sun £18,000.

 

 

1995 to 2004 


Front page of the Mirror 24 June 1996, with headline "ACHTUNG! SURRENDER For you Fritz, ze Euro 96 Championship is over", and accompanying contribution from the Editor "Mirror declares football war on Germany"Under the editorship of Piers Morgan (from October 1995 to May 2004) the paper saw a number of controversies. Morgan was widely criticised and forced to apologise for the headline "ACHTUNG! SURRENDER For you Fritz, ze Euro 96 Championship is over" a day before England met Germany in a semi-final of the Euro '96 football championships.

In 2000, Morgan was the subject of an investigation after Suzy Jagger wrote a story in The Daily Telegraph revealing that he had bought £20,000 worth of shares in the computer company Viglen soon before the Mirror 's 'City Slickers' column tipped Viglen as a good buy. Morgan was found by the Press Complaints Commission to have breached the Code of Conduct on financial journalism, but kept his job. The 'City Slickers' columnists, Anil Bhoyrul and James Hipwell, were both found to have committed further breaches of the Code, and were sacked before the inquiry. In 2004, further enquiry by the Department of Trade and Industry cleared Morgan from any charges. On 7 December 2005 Bhoyrul and Hipwell were convicted of conspiracy to breach the Financial Services Act. During the trial it emerged that Morgan had bought £67,000 worth of Viglen shares, emptying his bank account and investing under his wife's name too.

In 2002, the Mirror attempted to move mid-market, claiming to eschew the more trivial stories of show-business and gossip. The paper changed its masthead logo from red to black (and occasionally blue), in an attempt to dissociate itself from the term "red top", a term for a sensationalist mass-market tabloid. (On 6 April 2005, the red top came back.) Under then-editor Piers Morgan, the newspaper's editorial stance opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and ran many front pages critical of the war. It also gave financial support to the 15 February 2003 anti-war protest, paying for a large screen and providing thousands of placards. Morgan re-hired John Pilger, who had been sacked during Robert Maxwell's ownership of the Mirror titles. Despite such changes, Morgan was unable to halt the paper's decline in circulation, a decline shared by its direct tabloid rivals The Sun and the Daily Star.

Morgan was fired from the Mirror on 14 May 2004 after authorising the newspaper's publication of photographs allegedly showing Iraqi prisoners being abused by British Army soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment. Within days the photographs were shown to be crude fakes. Under the headline "SORRY.. WE WERE HOAXED", the Mirror responded that it had fallen victim to a "calculated and malicious hoax" and apologised for the publication of the photographs.

2004 to present

 

The Mirror's front page on 4 November 2004, after the re-election of George W. Bush as U.S. President, read "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?". It provided a list of states and their average IQ, showing the Bush states all below average intelligence (except for Virginia), and all Kerry states at or above average intelligence. The source for this table was The Economist, though it was a hoax. Richard Wallace became editor in 2004.

On 30 May 2012, Trinity Mirror announced the merger of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror into a single seven-day-a-week title. Richard Wallace and Tina Weaver, the respective editors of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, were simultaneously dismissed and Lloyd Embley, editor of The People, appointed as editor of the combined title with immediate effect

 

EDITOR 2012 

 

Lloyd Embley was born 16 March 1966. He attended Malvern College, a public school, and later entered journalism, working at the Daily Mirror. He served as Assistant Night Editor from 1999, Night Editor from 2001, and then Assistant Editor from 2004, before his appointment as Editor of The People in 2008. In May 2012, following the sacking of Richard Wallace and Tina Weaver, he was named as editor of both the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror.

 

 

 

 

Christopher Jefferies

 

One case of particular note, had it gone to trial, is that of Chris Jefferies. The media had condemned him as guilty before any charge had been laid. They did this on the basis of probability and to sell newspapers. There was no thought of justice, or obtaining justice. They were pandering to presumed public opinion. With the new statute preventing a trial Judge from warning a Jury about convicting without the need for any physical or other corroborating evidence, we feel that Mr Jefferies would without any doubt have been convicted - since the law requiring the state to prove guilt was reversed is cases where sexual assault is part of the crime. This may breach the Article 6 requirement for a fair trial - since the onus is now on the defence to prove innocence.

 

The manner in which certain aspects of the case were reported by the British media led to one television broadcaster being temporarily banned from attending press conferences, and the instigation of legal proceedings against several newspapers by both Yeates' former landlord, and the Attorney General. It is bad enough that a young lady had been murdered, but to seek to capitalise on that fact is not only immoral but criminal irresponsibility.

Following a television news report on 4 January 2011 that criticised the handling of the investigation, ITN reporters were banned by the Avon and Somerset Constabulary from attending a press conference convened to give updates on the murder case. The item, presented by journalist Geraint Vincent claimed police had made little progress with their investigation, and questioned whether they were following correct procedural methods. A former murder squad detective told the report that "certain routine inquiries" such as looking for fresh evidence at the crime scene were not being carried out. ITN accused the police of attempting "to censor what information we can broadcast" while the constabulary filed a complaint with the Office of Communications, calling the broadcast "unfair, naïve and irresponsible reporting". The police subsequently lifted the sanctions against ITN, but said that they would "not hesitate to adopt similar tactics in the future." Legal action was also considered over a tweet revealing that Tabak had viewed internet pornography showing erotic asphyxiation and bondage. The contempt of court charges were dropped after the tweet was removed.

Writing in London's Evening Standard on 5 January 2011, the media commentator Roy Greenslade expressed concern over a number of negative articles that had appeared in newspapers concerning Yeates' landlord, Chris Jefferies, following his arrest, describing the coverage as "character assassination on a large scale". He cited several examples of headlines and stories that had been published, including a headline in The Sun describing Jefferies – a former teacher at Clifton College – as weird, posh, lewd and creepy; a story from the Daily Express quoting unnamed former pupils referring to him as "a sort of Nutty Professor" who made them feel "creeped out" by his "strange" behaviour; and an article from the Daily Telegraph, which reported Jefferies "has been described by pupils at Clifton College…as a fan of dark and violent avant-garde films". Jefferies launched legal action against six newspapers on 21 April – The Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Star, the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and the Daily Record – seeking damages for libel. On 29 July he accepted "substantial" damages for defamation from The Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Record, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Daily Star and The Scotsman in connection with their coverage of his arrest. In an interview following Tabak's conviction, Jefferies commented: "It has taken up a whole year virtually of my life, that period of time has meant that everything else that I would normally be doing has been in abeyance." He criticised the government's plans to change the law on legal aid, which he said would prevent people with limited means from taking action against newspapers.

Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General for England and Wales, stated on 31 December 2010 that he was considering action under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 to enforce the obligation of the media not to prejudice a possible future trial. Criminology professor David Wilson commented on the resonance of the murder case with the national news media: "The British public loves a whodunnit ... It's a particularly British thing. We were the first nation to use murder stories to sell newspapers and that culture is more ingrained here than elsewhere." Wilson called Yeates, a white female professional, an "ideal victim" for the media. On 1 January, Yeates' boyfriend Greg Reardon commented on the media coverage surrounding the arrest of Christopher Jefferies: "Jo's life was cut short tragically but the finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of as yet innocent men has been shameful."

On 12 May 2011, the Administrative Court granted the Attorney General permission to move a motion for committal for contempt of court against The Sun and the Daily Mirror for the way they had reported the arrest of Jefferies. On 29 July, the court (Lord Judge CJ, Thomas LJ & Owen J) ruled that both newspapers had been in contempt of court, and fined the Daily Mirror £50,000 and The Sun £18,000. The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Judge stated that "in our judgment, as a matter of principle, the vilification of a suspect under arrest is a potential impediment to the course of justice." The publishers of The Sun and the Daily Mirror subsequently appealed against their fines, but the Mirror case was rejected by the Supreme Court of England and Wales on 9 March 2012, while The Sun withdrew its appeal.

 

PHONE TAPPING

 

The phone tapping scandal is another issue that brings the press and the criminal justice system into disrepute. The press were breaking the law to obtain private information and the Information Commissioner knew all about it but were turning a blind eye - for who knows what reason. Yet again the press cannot be relied on to report impartially and in accordance with the laws of the land.

 

 

LINKS:

  1. ABCs: National daily newspaper circulation March 2012 The Guardian 13 April 2012

  2. Sex, Smut and Shock: Bild Zeitung Rules Germany Spiegel Online 25 April 2006

  3. Back Issues 23.01.03". Press Gazette. 23 March 2009.

  4. http://www.bjr.org.uk/data/2002/no4_evans.htm.

  5. Oh, Sorry: Tabloids Lose the Soccer War". The New York Times

  6. Mirror editor saw his shares soar after paper tipped company

  7. Morgan cleared after shares probe". BBC News. 10 June 2004

  8. Mirror editor 'bought £67,000 of shares before they were tipped' The Guardian (UK)

  9. Daily Mirror statement in full". CNN. 13 May 2004.

  10. Fake abuse photos: Editor quits". CNN London.

  11. The Axis of Stupidity". The Guardian (London)

  12. Fool Me Twice". Snopes. 12 November 2004

  13. Richard Wallace and Tina Weaver depart as Mirror titles go seven-day".

  14. Daily Mirror to merge with Sunday Mirror as both editors sacked". Daily Telegraph.

  15. Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror to merge: full statement". Daily Telegraph. 30 May 2012

  16. A century of Daily Mirror front pages". Daily Mirror. UK..

  17. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/politics97/background/pastelec/ge79.shtml.

  18. 1983: Thatcher triumphs again". BBC News. 5 April 2005.

  19. 1987: Thatcher's third victory". BBC News. 5 April 2005.

  20. 1992: Tories win again against odds". BBC News. 5 April 2005.

  21. 1997: Labour landslide ends Tory rule". BBC News. 15 April 2005.

  22. Which political parties do the newspapers support?". Supanet.

  23. Bamber Gascoigne (1993) Encyclopedia of Britain (Macmillan)

  24. Fake abuse photos: Editor quits CNN. 15 May 2004.

  25. GMTV Kate wins 'affair' libel award

  26. New-look Manchester City side begin their UEFA Cup campaign in earnest

  27. Omonia Nicosia 1–2 Manchester City: Goals start to flow for Jo

  28. Sun and Mirror in contempt case over Jo Yeates stories BBC News (BBC). 12 May 2011

  29. Sun and Mirror accused of Jo Yeates contemp. BBC News (BBC). 5 July 2011

  30. Sun & Mirror fined for contempt of court in Christopher Jefferies articles The Guardian

  31. Press Gazette, Roll of Honour

 

 

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