1st Edition of The Daily Mail
The 4th of May 1896 AD
The Daily Mail is a relative newcomer to the market compared to rivals like The Times which preceded it by more than a century (first published on January 1 1788 ), as did The Observer (which saw the light of day on December 4 1791 ). But it was cleverly targeted at the rising middle class, from the outset also making sure that its female readers were catered for, and consequently was an almost immediate success.
Priced at 1/2d compared to the 1d cost of its competitors, The Daily Mail - all eight pages of it - sold nearly four times the expected 100,000 copies on the first day of publication, and soon had a regular circulation of half a million.
This exercise in popular journalism launched by brothers Alfred and Harold Harmsworth – subsequently Lord Northcliffe and Lord Rothermere respectively – can be praised for its original democratic purpose, extending the reach of the press and thus debate on political matters to the man on the Clapham omnibus. How sad then that its later history included strong support for Hitler, Mussolini and Oswald Mosley, and that vilely it railed against Jewish refugees driven from Germany settling in Britain.
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