BOOKS 74 F000 78 OOMPETITONS 83 LETTERS 84
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
First in a series on the Scottish Media, Tom Lappin talks to Endell Laird, editor of the Daily Record, the paper with the highest market penetration in the world, about its ‘Save Our Scottish Mince’ campaign and how not to treat the reader like an idiot.
The art oftabloid journalism might seem like a contradiction in terms. but ifcirculation figures are anything to go by. the Daily Record seem to have mastered it. Selling close on 800,000 copies a day, it is read by over halfthc adult population of Scotland and. in its power base around Glasgow and the West Coast, it reaches over two thirds of adults. In Roy Castle speak, the Daily Record has the highest market penetration ofany national daily newspaper in the world.
At first glance it‘s difficult to see how they do it. The Record embraces all the traditional tabloid virtues of punchy news stories, plenty of showbiz gossip, a touch of salaciousness and sport, sport. sport. but there doesn‘t seem to be any mystery ingredient. Perhaps it‘s the updated version of the Sunday Post
parochialism. The Record stresses its .-
Scottishness at every opportunity. and it is happy to take up cudgels
against any outsiders trying to attack
Scottish institutions. The recent campaign to ‘Save Our Scottish Mince‘ from new EEC regulations (prc BSE scare) was a case in point. The Record launched an emotive
campaign showing winsome children
tucking into plates ofthreatened mince and tatties, and the readers loved it.
It is probably the Records relationship with its readers that does set them apart. Covering a relatively small area. the paper has been able to achieve an intimacy with its audience that other publications envy. The whole paper is geared towards reader participation. from the letters page (usually concerned with debates
wlﬁ“‘5§-§3L3nked y bact-
over which reader paid the most for a scone and cup of tea) to the legendary Showbiz Sam who settles arguments about whether Roger Moore is a Largs man (‘No. he isn‘t’). The loyalty of the Record readership was demonstrated in 1984 when the paper reappeared after a stoppage and made newspaper history by actually selling more copies than it had before.
The Record‘s editor Endell Laird appreciates the pressures that this audience relationship brings. ‘We have a social responsibility,‘ he says. ‘We are there to provide a service. not just pick out the juicy stories and give a fun read. We are an entertaining paper. we have a great deal of fun in the paper. but we also have a responsibility to people.’
This responsibility takes the form 2 of the Record campaigns. relying
The List 15 — 28 June 199073