Simon Jenkins has an interesting article in the Guardian – thanks to John for the link – where he talks about how newspaper circulation in America and much of Europe is declining, while, surprisingly perhaps, the quality newspapers in Britain are seeing rises in circulation. He attributes this to the fact that in the US and elswehere, “publishers are trapped by archaic unions in a quasi-monopolistic market stripped of any zest to compete”.
Well, I think he may be right, but I’m still pessimistic about the UK situation. I don’t think we produce any major publication now that is of the quality of the New York Times, for example, though we have a few that come close.
And while it’s encouraging to see that the fall in tabloid sales is offset (though not matched) by a rise in the quality papers, I don’t think that this is because the average Brit has realised the folly of reading the Daily Mail. It’s because the entire press has slipped down-market to the extent that many people who used to read the Mail and the Sun now read the Times and feel at home.