The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

Well, any editor who edits a paper, his values, his world view will obviously be relevant, but can I deal with this? Because I think it's a bit of a canard that I, single-handedly and with great and total willpower, impose my will on the paper. It, again, is a misunderstanding of how newspapers work.

First of all, I employ an immensely diverse range of journalists. We invest, at Associated, in quality journalism. It's our philosophy. We employ the best writers, the best leader writers, the best reporters, the best executives, the best sub-editors et cetera to produce quality papers to appeal to our market.

On any given day, the paper will adopt a position on things in its leader column. I will call a leader conference. It will be attended by some of my top writers, some brilliant leader writers, a diverse assembly of people. We vigorously debate the issues of the day. There is no world view there imposed by me. Diametrically opposed views. On one side, I'd have Alex Brummer, my distinguished City editor, violently disagreeing, on an almost daily basis, with my distinguished political commentator, Simon Heffer. Out of that debate, we adopt a view that we feel best represents our position for our readers in looking after their interests.

Again, you know, the Daily Mail is a huge, huge paper. It's a huge product. It's 120 pages. Are you telling me that I impose my views on the brilliant writers we employ? Do you think I tell Sir Max Hastings what to write? A distinguished historian who graces our pages every day? He has his own views. Do you think I tell Janet Street Porter, from a different political perspective, what to write? She's a columnist. Do you think I Craig Brown, one of Britain's premier parodists, what to write? These people would leave if I imposed my view to them.

All our writers -- and I'm leaving out some brilliant ones -- have their strongly held views, many of them different. It's a rich, diverse spectrum of opinion that permeates the paper.

Again, the Daily Mail -- you know, the Daily Mail -- different parts in different parts of the country. I appoint editors to reflect the interests of their readers, not impose their wills. In my time, I launched the Scottish Daily Mail. It's now the biggest selling paper in Scotland. The editor there has values and views, which he represents in his papers because he's reflecting his readers' interest, which are totally antipathetic to the views in London. Ditto in Ireland. We started the Irish Daily Mail. It's proving very successful. Some of the views espoused by its editors there make my hair go white, but nevertheless he's appealing to his local market, representing his readers' interests.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech