Lloyd Embley wants us all to know why the Daily Mirror is not like the others. Seriously


If readers of the Daily Mirror spluttered over their maize-based breakfast cereals as they turned to page three this morning, then the editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley will have done his job.

The picture stunt – which is not, on closer inspection, a Sun-style Page Three image – is intended to provoke a double-take and remind Mirror readers of the differences between their paper and its red-top rivals.

It is tied to the #Madeuthink advertising campaign, the Mirror’s biggest brand promotion in ten years, linked to a redesign of the daily paper and its Sunday sister title which took place at the weekend.

“It’s a visual way of illustrating the point that we think we are not quite the same as the other tabloids,” Embley tells me. “The difference between the Mirror, the Star and The Sun is not exclusively down to Page Three – but it’s a significant difference. We haven’t carried topless women – we never have done – and now more than ever I can’t see that it’s appropriate, certainly for this newspaper.”

Embley has been group editor-in-chief at Trinity Mirror for a year (and editing the two Mirror titles for nearly 18 months). He has improved its fortunes.

Suddenly the Mirror versus The Sun seems like a more even contest than it has in years – even if the Murdoch title undercuts by 10p on cover price. News UK’s decision to put The Sun behind an online paywall on 1 August has delivered a great fillip to the Mirror’s websites, which saw daily traffic increase by 19.65 per cent last month. In print, the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror both recorded small monthly increases in August, while the circulations of The Sun and The Sun on Sunday both declined.

The weekend’s design change is a delicate balancing act intended to position the Mirror upmarket of its sector rivals – but retaining its tabloid zest. This is about sharpening the identity of a title that wants to be taken more seriously. “Inherently, those of us that work at the Mirror know what it is that makes us different from the other tabloids but what we have not done particularly well is articulate that,” the editor-in-chief admits. His papers have a “social conscience” and give due weight to “big, heavy news stories” but do not mislay their sense of humour.

There is another more basic reason for the changes: literally to help people to read the paper since some Mirror readers find a bright and busy page layout indecipherable.

“We’ve had a growing number of comments from readers that they find the paper hard to read – the body type, the crossword clues, the racing card, the sports pages with the bright colours everywhere,” Embley says. “So we have tried to address that with more conventional body type and a more muted colour palette that will still keep the energy of a tabloid.”

Listening to readers makes sense. Hopefully, they will repay him by supporting a laudable commitment to “proper news”. But it is a gamble in a cut-throat popular media market where, internet traffic tells us, celebrity gossip often wins.

Over at News UK, The Sun has also been displaying its caring side of late. Its new editor, David Dinsmore, seems to be moving the title into a more family-friendly space. He is currently campaigning to save the military dogs – “hero hounds” – put down by the Ministry of Defence. Friday’s Page Three girl kept her T-shirt on and promoted Jeans for Genes Day, a charity to help children with genetic disorders. We may not have a new system of press regulation, but this is the post-Leveson era and the tabloids are treading carefully.

But The Sun still bares its fangs over the subject of the Mirror. Tony Parsons, who joined The Sun on Sunday this month after 18 years as a Mirror columnist, has already partly repaid his fee by describing his old paper as “dying” and melodramatically backing The Sun’s paywall by saying: “I don’t see how I can support my family if the people I work for keep giving away their product for free.” His new employers are delighted.

News UK bosses say they are convinced that Sun digital features such as its Premier League goals app will drive online subscriptions. A new editor, Victoria Newton, has been appointed to the relaunched Sun on Sunday. As the company prepares to move to new London premises near the Shard next year, its biggest-selling paper has “got its mojo back”, as one exec puts it.

The truth is that neither the Mirror nor The Sun can look to a new dawn. Irrespective of the merits of either of their different digital strategies, and whether their refreshes and relaunches please the eyes of their readers, Britain’s two biggest tabloids face a turbulent future. The storm clouds heading from the direction of New Scotland Yard will see to that.

WikiLeaks gets its retaliation in first

Isuppose it was inevitable there would be leaks of the WikiLeaks film The Fifth Estate, with the website angrily publishing what it claims is a “mature” version of the screenplay while complaining that “most of the events depicted never happened”.

The WikiLeaks version gives an amusing insight into how the film-makers styled the senior figures at The Guardian, who star in the opening scene.

It’s close to midnight inside the paper’s “looming modern structure, steel and glass” and there is “a low buzz, a hustle of activity, journalists swirling”. The camera focuses on two men. “REPORTER NICK DAVIES, 50s, handsome, hustles along with RUMPLED EDITOR ALAN RUSBRIDGER, 50s. Alan’s on a Blackberry.” So much hustling!

Davies is played by David Thewlis, while Peter Capaldi is Rusbridger. Ian Katz, his deputy before he moved to Newsnight, is not described as handsome (only “40s”) although he is played by Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens.

Rusbridger is “as agitated as he gets” over delays in publishing the leaked Afghan war logs; and then, later, “blanches” as he considers whether he might be indicted under the Espionage Act.

As the relationship with Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) goes sour, Rusbridger turns to Davies and says, “Sorry, wasn’t he your messiah?” Assange has “feet of clay”, comes the reply. And Katz is depicted as chipping in: “So he’s a liar, a callous little zealot … like every other oddball source.” Davies muses: “He’s not a source. He’s a reckless, irresponsible head of a huge media empire that’s accountable to no one. And we put him there.”

All very entertaining but the audience is surely sold short by the absence of Guardian veteran investigative reporter David Leigh, who has been written out of the script. With his trademark popped collar, Leigh would have suited the script – although Walter Matthau is no longer around to play the role.

Twitter: @iburrell

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'