The Daily Mail(1900
By Becky Gray
The Daily Mail was first published on 4th May
1896 and was an immediate success, being half a penny cheaper than other
London daily newspapers and more concise, readable and populist in tone.
One new idea was the banner headline that went right across the page.
The Daily Mail was also the first newspaper to include a womens section
that included articles on fashion and cookery.
Another innovation by the Daily Mail was the publication of serials.
The opening episode was 5,000 words and had to have a dramatic impact
on the readers. This was followed by episodes of 1,500 to 2,000 words
every day until the conclusion.
The Mail was set up by Lord Northcliffe and
Lord Rothermere who ‘...came
not only to dominate the world of journalism, but through their publications
to influence two generations’
The Daily Mail supported Winston Churchill’s first (and unsuccessful)
attempt to get into Parliament under the Conservatives in 1899. Churchill
wrote to Northcliffe to express his
thanks and supported the Daily Mail despite its later political leanings
towards the extreme right.
Lord Northcliffe also helped to pioneer
the Sunday edition of the newspaper. He discovered that the Telegraph
was to launch a Sunday version of its newspaper and so he assembled a
Sunday Daily Mail and both papers came out on 9th April
1899 to the horror and uproar of what seemed like the entire nation as
Christians condemned the move.
In 1908 the Mail began the Ideal Home Exhibition which still runs today
and also set up a number of competitions such as the hat design competition
in 1920 that had 40,000 entries and a prize of £100.
Before the First World War the Mail was accused of warmongering, reporting
that Germany was going to crush the British Empire then in 1915 attacked
Lord Kitchener, then Secretary of State for War. Kitchener was well-liked
and considered a national hero and copies of the paper were burned. The
Mail’s circulation dropped from 1,386,000 to 238,000 overnight.
In 1922 Lord Northcliffe died and
Lord Rothermere took control of the
The Daily Mail influenced the 1924 general election when four days before
the election they printed the forged ‘Zinoviev Letter’ that
said that the British Communists were planning a violent revolution -
this was a significant factor in the defeat of the Labour Party.
Lord Rothermere openly supported
Oswald Mosely and the British Union
Of Fascists and wrote the famous article ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’ in
1934 praising Mosely and his views.
However due to pressures from advertisers in the Daily Mail Rothermere ceased
to openly support them. Rothemere was
a friend and supporter of Mussolini and Hitler which greatly influenced
the Daily Mail’s political stance. Rothemere supported
Germany’s invasion of the Sudetenland in 1938 and hoped that Hitler
would become a popular figure in Britain.