SUNDAY 19  MAY 2024


Who decides what goes on Page One now, the editor, advertisers, or the multi-millionaire boss?


The news that Reach Chief Executive, Jim Millionaire Mullen, plans to reach out to advertisers inviting them to select adverts for Page One, comes as no surprise. It has always haunted the shadows of that hazy No Man’s Land between the journalists and the ad reps.

Doubtless it will happen, after all that was how The Times was born wasn’t it? A newspaper for the gentry given over to small ads of products only they could mostly afford? The ads ran right into the Swinging Sixties. And today you can find plenty of ads sold against editorial themes and stories in titles across Blighty.    

But Page One is hallowed territory. So, where will it all end in this uncertain world of newspapers today? Will we see 20x3 ads for Viagra every time Boris appears on Page One with his new family bunny … or worse, the next time a TV presenter ends up in hospital after sending pictures of himself in his pants, will we see offers of cut rates for The Priory?

Who will decide? The Editor? The Advertiser? The Mullens of the business? Tricky ground, especially as the Editor of the Express works from home in his bedroom or somewhere. Even the greenhouse. Possible.

Will they all get together on zoom? Or doesn’t it matter what the subject is? In it goes. Durex under stories about families with 10 kids … Wimpey Homes under more boatloads of illegal African male migrants being welcomed on our beaches by the nutcase do-gooders.

But survival is the name of the game and journalists do tend to get lost in their own world of ethics and how their stories or even layout sell the paper. They tend to consider themselves a class apart from the rest of the building. They are the sacred tomb at the centre of the church. Approach with caution.

As a sounding board, I paid a visit to the Neasden Omnibus Depot at Greenline Cuttings where the lads and lasses are avid newspaper readers. They take so much notice of them that their canteen food has meta morphed from sausages and cream cakes to bran flakes and salad following the Daily Mail’s story that constipation gives us Alzheimer’s. The chef forgets whose idea it was.

“Does that mean that every time we see a removal lorry outside Downing Street we  will see tons of adverts for Man With A Van?” asked tea lady Agnes McTwerker.  

24th July, 2023

Jim Mullen, CEO of Reach