Daily Star dodges the recession curse

In these troubled times for national newspapers, one tabloid is bucking the trend. Following a cut in its price to 20p on weekdays and 30p on Saturdays, the Daily Star has seen a steady increase in its circulation since last November.

Daily Star
Daily Star

This February, the paper became the only national daily to boost its circulation - by 7.85 per cent since February 2008, to 780,742.

Editor Dawn Neesom says the increase includes female readership, as women desert weekly glossies in favour of a daily dose of celebrity tittle-tattle. 'Why wait a week for your showbiz and celebrity gossip when you can get it daily for just 20p?' argues Neesom.

PR professionals used to pitching into Heat and Now should be adding the Daily Star to their hit lists, and the more celebrity-led and fun the story, the better.

'The Daily Star makes no apology for being a "fun" newspaper,' says Neesom. So stuffy financial and political news is out and I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! is in.

'Daily Star readers of all ages like their TV and footie. Whether we as journalists like it or not, heavy political stories, worthy campaigns and politically correct foreign reports just don't float our readers' boats,' admits Neesom.

So what does float the still predominantly male readership's boat, apart from TV and footie? Boobs, of course.

Transform Cosmetic Surgery Group PR manager Shami Thomas has a history of working with the Daily Star: '[Glamour models] Bianca Gascoigne, Gemma Atkinson and Chantelle Houghton have had surgery with Transform and have appeared in the paper. We have had double-page spreads and case studies.'

GolinHarris director Bibi Hilton adds: 'Research celebrities that are popular that week and use them as a hook for your story. The paper loves model Danielle Lloyd and singer Katy Perry. The sexier the female celebrity the better.'

Quick Facts

Frequency: Daily
Circulation: 780,742 (ABC February 2009)
Website: dailystar.co.uk
Monthly users: 1.1 million

Contacts
Editor Dawn Neesom dawn.neesom@dailystar.co.uk

Online editor Geoff Marsh geoff.marsh@dailystar.co.uk

News desk news@dailystar.co.uk

A MINUTE WITH ... Dawn Neesom, editor, Daily Star

- Can you sum up the Daily Star?

The main philosophy of the Daily Star is really simple. Give the readers what they want, put a smile on their faces every day and continue to be Britain's most successful daily paper. We need to be cheered up on a daily basis at the moment.

- What can PROs do to make your life easier?

PR professionals can help by getting straight to the point, being familiar with the paper and not wasting time. The Daily Star has the smallest team of any national paper so the pressure is on us all every second of the day. Most newspapers have more journalists working on just their websites.

- Any advice on lead times?

We do not have lead times. If it is good enough, we will get it in the paper even if you contact us just five minutes beforehand.

- What is the best way to get in touch?

Pick up the phone or email us but make sure it is a relevant topic. We are still stunned about the hapless PR professional who asked for our religious affairs correspondent.

Of course, the paper is not just interested in scantily clad women. Neesom, who has been in the hot seat since December 2003, ascribes the paper's current success to it giving readers value for money during the recession. She says the newspaper has not been hugely focused on human interest stories, but PROs should take heed, as it is an area to which the paper is looking to devote more coverage: 'Our readers are old-fashioned, working-class types who frown on benefit scroungers and anyone taking the mickey with taxpayers' money. That is the human interest story we want to tell.'

But not everyone is convinced by the Daily Star's 'fun' agenda. Jack Irvine, chairman of Scottish PR agency Media House International, says: 'I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. It has no relevance in my professional life.'

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