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23 February

Make Britons pay for the “sidebar of shame” to save the Daily Mail, says columnist

Can anyone tell Stephen Glover what’s wrong with this idea?

By The Chatterer

The Chatterer would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when March’s edition of the Oldie landed in the Daily Mail newsroom. In his Media Matters column Stephen Glover – one of the Mail’s star writers – opens up about his concerns for the future of… the Daily Mail.

Glover starts the column by venting his frustrations about how people fail to distinguish between Mail Online (“with its fascination for showbiz figures” and its “sidebar of shame”) and the actual Daily Mail (which he suggests “seems high-minded and almost prim” by comparison).

He believes the “widespread perception” that they are one and the same “doubtless explains” why his company “has experienced such difficulty in building up” Mail Plus, a paid-for digital service that includes a replica of the newspaper. The danger, writes Glover, is that as the Mail‘s print circulation declines, Mail Plus is unable to “make up the deficit. In such a world, Mail Online would continue to be a commercial success, but the Daily Mail, and its culture and values, would be slowly shrivelling.” 

Glover’s solution – which he stresses is his own and is based on “no inside information” – is to make readers pay for Mail Online in the UK, while keeping the website free for its huge US audience. “Those in this country who tried to gain access to the free US version could probably be blocked,” he reckons. “The Daily Mail would be protected.”

Glover ends his column (headlined: “Time to pay for the Mail’s sidebar of shame”) by asking the Oldie’s readers: “Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this idea?”

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Hmm. The Chatterer can think of a few reasons why this strategy might now go down too well among Mail Online’s loyal British readership.

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