Hugh Cudlipp - The Sinking of a Tabloid Dream
Britain's tabloids have weathered one hell of a storm. Journalists fight for their reputations in the criminal courts, a national title destroyed. But could a glimpse of the way forward be in the press's rear-view mirror?
Former journalist Ian Hargreaves explores the tabloid visions of a Fleet Street legend who steered the Daily Mirror to a position of total dominance in the marketplace. Hugh Cudlipp was an editor with an unrivalled instinct for the perfect story, and a gift for presenting the issues that mattered to the ordinary reader in wildly entertaining ways. But, more than that, he was a passionate believer that newspapers for the working public could, and should, be a force for good. And yet he was also the man who failed dismally to launch The Sun as a sister to the Mirror brand, misjudging the evolving press landscape, and totally underestimating the rise of the man to whom he would soon sell the infant paper, one Rupert Murdoch.
So what would today's tabloid editors make of Cudlipp's approach, a century after his birth? David Dinsmore, newly appointed editor of The Sun shares his thoughts on the role of the red-tops in the 21st century, defined by a marketplace where providing everything the reader wants perhaps takes precedence over the loftier ideals of a newspaper's management. We hear from former Mirror editor Roy Greenslade, and journalist Graham Johnson whose experiences of sleazy immorality at the News of the World and Sunday Mirror make shocking reading. Might the Cudlipp spirit be just what the tabloids need to be rejuvenated, or do we stare misty-eyed at an image of a golden era which perhaps never was?