No reflected glory for the new-look 'Mirror' as 'Sun' continues to shine

When the Daily Mirror unveiled its new look on 2 April, editor Richard Wallace said he did not want to unsettle readers. The jury is out on whether he achieved that modest ambition. The Mirror's circulation fell in April, continuing a decline that has marooned it below 1.5 million sales, less than half the circulation of its main rival, Rupert Murdoch's Sun, for which price-cutting continues to work magic. The Sun's circulation rose slightly in April and is up 2.8 per cent since last year.

If new typefaces and support for Gordon Brown failed to inspire Mirror readers, front page apologies to the McCann family did still less for the Daily Express. Its circulation declined by 0.63 per cent in a month and by 4.3 per cent on the year. Its Sunday sister fared worse. Their bitter rivals, Associated Newspapers' Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, recorded month-on-month increases, the Mail despite a 5p cover price rise to 50p.

Financial and political crises at home and abroad did not boost the fortunes of quality morning dailies. Every broadsheet, including the Financial Times, declined monthly and annually. Almost the same was true among quality Sunday titles. The Independent on Sunday managed a monthly rise of 1.67 per cent, but The Observer's recent feats of gravity defiance are over.

Scotland's constitutional future is making news, but the Herald and Sunday Herald in Glasgow and The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday in Edinburgh are in deep trouble, demonstrating the futility of pursuing national ambitions with local newspaper budgets.

The London Evening Standard got its man elected, but support for Boris Johnson did not inflate April sales, although annual performance remains good. Success in the capital went to the free titles, with City AM, London Lite, Metro and thelondonpaper all posting distribution increases.

Tim Luckhurst is Professor of Journalism at the University of Kent

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