First Edition of Daily Mirror
The 2nd of November 1903 AD
The Daily Mirror remains a fixture of our national press, but a look at its first week of operation raises the question of how it managed the feat.
Launched by Alfred Harmsworth (the future Lord Northcliffe – British newspaper ownership so often coincides with elevation to the peerage for some reason) to capture a market under represented on Fleet Street at that time, i.e. women, The Daily Mirror was innovatively staffed mainly by women, including for the first edition Mary Howarth as editor. Howarth was women’s editor at The Daily Mail , also owned then by Harmsworth.
The first edition, on Monday November 2 1903 sold 276,000 copies, deemed a success; the next day sales were down to 143,000, and the numbers kept plummeting, dipping to 100,000 after a week.
Though its basis was new, the first edition of The Daily Mirror had little innovative about the front page that would sell it – a column explaining the new venture; the court circular; the latest news about national security. Harmsworth intended it to be ‘for gentlewomen by gentlewomen’ but little of that idea showed through. Howarth quickly returned to the Mail, as planned, and a new man was brought in to rescue the already ailing journal, a mission effected in the following year by making photography central to the way the paper related the news.
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