MEDIA PROFILE: Here comes the Mirror man - Colin Myler, editor, Sunday Mirror

The latest set of ABC figures have shown a fundamental shift in the balance of power at the weekends. The circulation of Saturday newspapers has been creeping up with a rise of some seven per cent. On Sundays, however, it is a different story. Between March and August 1998 Sunday papers saw a total drop of some four per cent year-on-year, with tabloids making up most of the drop by falling almost seven per cent.

The latest set of ABC figures have shown a fundamental shift in the

balance of power at the weekends. The circulation of Saturday newspapers

has been creeping up with a rise of some seven per cent. On Sundays,

however, it is a different story. Between March and August 1998 Sunday

papers saw a total drop of some four per cent year-on-year, with

tabloids making up most of the drop by falling almost seven per

cent.



The Sunday Mirror showed the second biggest decline with a drop in

circulation of 11 per cent to just over two million. Colin Myler, who

was confirmed as the Sunday Mirror’s new editor last week, is the fifth

the paper has had in four years. Tessa Hilton, Amanda Platell, Bridget

Rowe and Brendan Parsons have all previously occupied the office on the

22nd floor in Canary Wharf. However, Myler recognises that one of the

most important tasks ahead is addressing the changes to Sunday itself

and the need for his newspaper to reflect this.



’Six million people now work on Sundays and probably half of those are

our readers. The Saturday papers are now the Sunday papers in many

respects, particularly their bulk. People used to buy two or three

Sundays, kick off their slippers and spend the day flicking through

them. Now people’s leisure time is much more carefully managed, even if

they aren’t at work.’



Nonetheless, he demonstrates the hard-bitten, never-say-die approach of

the true newspaperman when planning how to tackle this new marketplace.

’All the paper needs is stability,’ he says. ’We need to be refocused

and establish our identity. You can only do that by putting together a

team of quality journalists. Quality journalists make quality

papers.



’It needs investment - a lot of it - rather than reams of marketing

speak about upmarket or downmarket. All this talk about tabloids moving

upmarket irritates me. People want quality. You can’t fool them.’



Myler went into journalism because of a book called Ticket To Fleet

Street, which charted the progress of a young hack on a provincial

newspaper who made it to the big time. Myler has mirrored its hero’s

career path beginning at a Liverpool news agency and working on almost

every UK tabloid.



Apart from a two-year stint as chief executive of Super League Europe -

the marketing body for UK rugby - Myler has devoted his life to

newspapers.



As a result, he is well-known in the tabloid world. He is particularly

engrained in the memory of Today hacks who were forced to work without

chairs for two days because Myler - then news editor - thought they were

sitting about too much.



Mirror boss Piers Morgan still has the rejection letter Myler sent him

when he was applying for shifts on Today, and on his desk Myler has a

letter from News of the World editor Phil Hall congratulating him on

getting his new job. ’I won’t say I am delighted, for obvious reasons,’

Hall adds, highlighting just how seriously the opposition are taking

Myler’s appointment.



HIGHLIGHTS

1994

Editor, Daily Mirror

1995

Managing director, Daily and Sunday Mirror

1996

Chief executive, Super League Europe

1998

Editor, Sunday Mirror



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