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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Tabloid Nation - Parts 2 and 3

During the 1945 election, the Mirror wanted to get their readers to vote labour, but without actually telling them how to vote. The feeling was that they needed to reach out to female voters as they would have a smaller idea of who to vote for, and the beleif was that they'd vote for Winston Churchill simply because it was a name they recognised.
On the polling day in July, they decided to simply have the headline 'VOTE FOR HIM' with a picture of the candidate.
After the second world war, it was felt that the paper needed to change. King felt that a new formula was needed, instead of the formula(that while being successful in the 1930's) was now outdated.
It was now post-war, and King saw the readership as better educated, and more female. He wanted to have less sensationalist and more up market reports like the Express.
Bart disagreed, and sent a message by publishing a front page stating pride at being a sensationalist paper.

I do find it interesting that Bart was such an influential figure at The Mirror, and held a lot of control over its content despite being illiterate. The core reason for this must have been because of it's focus on pictures to create the sensationalism that made the newspaper so popular at the time. When he was editpor, Guy Bartholomew was still able to ensure their was senesational content that would interest people, and could assess that based on the images that they could put on the front page.

The 'Vampire in Notting Hill' story could be seen as a bad turning point for the Mirror, but perhaps showed more of Barts self-obsessed desire for constant sensationalism. After the arrest of a man (John Haig) on suspicion of both murder and drinking the blood of his victims, Bart published a front page which included a picture of the man in handcuffs while getting arrested, and used a number of different words such as 'monster' and 'maniac' to describe him.
This was a clear breach of contempt of court, it could influence a jury member if they were to read the paper, because of the images and the language that is used. Therefore, it could heavily influence a jury's decision.
However, as the editor of the paper, Bolam was the man that was sentenced to prison for the crime, despite not being enar the building when Bart discussed and approved the the article. But the 'law of the land' dictates that the editor takes responsibility for what is published. The three months in prison left Bolam a 'broken man', but Bart showed a rare act of 'kindness' and reinstated Bolam as editor.


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