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Mass Media

 

THE PLAN

 

1. National Daily and Sunday Papers

 

2. Local and Regional Papers

 

3. The Weekly and Periodical Press

 

4. Radio and Television

 

Mass Media

 

1. National Daily and Sunday Papers

 

The British buy more newspapers than any other people except Swedes and

the Japanese. The daily press differs in two obvious ways from that of

any similar western European country. First, all over Britain most

people read national papers, based in London, which altogether sell

more copies than all eighty-odd provincial papers combined. Second,

there is a striking difference between the five quality papers and

the six mass-circulation popular tabloids.

 

These characteristics are still more salient with the Sunday press.

Almost no papers at all are published in Britain on Sundays except

national ones: six popular and five quality based in London.

Three appear on Sundays only; the others are associated with dailies

which have the same names but different editors, journalists and

layouts. The quality Sunday papers devote large sections to literature

and the arts. They have colour supplements and are in many ways more

like magazines than newspapers. They supply quite different worlds of

taste and interest from the popular papers.

 

Scotland has two important quality papers, The Scotsman in Edinburgh

and the Glasgow Herald.

 

The dominance of the national press reflects the weakness of regional

identity among the English. The gap in quality is not so much between

Labour and Conservative, as between levels of ability to read and

appreciate serious news presented seriously. Of the five quality morning

papers only The Daily Telegraph is solidly Conservative; nearly all

its readers are Conservatives. The Times and Financial Times have a

big minority of non-Conservative readers. Of the popular papers only the

Daily Mirror regularly supports Labour. Plenty of Labour voters read

popular papers with Conservative inclinations, but do not change their

publican opinion because of what they have read. Some of them are

interested only in the human interest stories and in sport, and may well

hardly notice the reporting of political and economic affairs.

 

Except in central London there are very few newspaper kiosks in town

streets. This may be because most pavements are too narrow to have room

for them. In towns the local evening papers are sold by elderly men and

women who stand for many hours, stamping their feet to keep warm.

Otherwise, newspapers can be bought in shops or delivered to homes by

boys and girls who want to earn money by doing paper-rounds.

 

Most of the newspapers are owned by big companies, some of which have

vast interests in other things, ranging from travel agencies to Canadian

forests. Some have been dominated by strong individuals. The greatest of

the press barons have not been British in origin, but have come to

Britain from Canada, Australia or Czechoslovakia. The most influential

innovator of modern times is partly Indian, and spent his early years in

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