National or regional?
National or Regional?
It’s an old debate.
In the 1930s, it was not easy to tell which was which, but a few years ago it became clearer.
The two major national newspapers, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Herald, are owned by the same company.
Both are owned and operated by the Daily Mail, the newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp chief who also runs the News of the World, and which was investigated by the Press Complaints Commission for breaching the regulations.
So is it a national newspaper?
No, but if you ask the editors, it is.
“If you are a national paper, it’s a national one, unless there is some extraordinary circumstance where you are an independent regional paper,” says editor Michael Vickers.
“We’re an independent paper.
We don’t own any of the newspapers.
If we’re not doing the national thing, it would be a different matter.”
In a bid to ensure that the newspaper continues to be a national publication, Vickers and his editors are pushing the national editor to set the tone for the paper.
Vickers is also pushing the paper to publish an editorial by a regional correspondent who is a national, not regional, reporter.
This has prompted some angry calls for the editors to quit the job.
One of the first letters to the editor from a former national correspondent was from a woman who described the editor as “disgusting, disgusting, disgusting”.
“I think she’s disgusting.
I just hope she goes and does something about it,” she wrote.
And in a further sign of how the dispute is taking on a political tone, one of the people behind the letter said: “We are not in any way suggesting that we are right or wrong.
We just want the national papers to get the message that we want them to be.”
The dispute has also attracted the attention of the British Labour Party, which is set to vote on whether to back a motion in the House of Commons calling on the paper’s editor to resign.
Nationals want to hold a referendum to put a constitutional limit on national ownership of the Sunday Mirror and the Sun, but the party is split over whether that would be constitutional.
When asked about the letters to Vickers from national and regional reporters, the paper says: “The Sunday Mirror has always been owned by Daily Mail Group.
Our policy is that the Sun is owned by The Sun Limited.
As for the National, we are not allowed to comment on the contents of the letters.”
So what does this all mean?
“Nationals are still in control of their newspapers,” says Vickers, adding that there are no plans to change that.
“It’s a very, very complex set of issues.”
This isn’t the first time the issue of national ownership has come up.
Back in September, the Daily Mirror announced that it would have to sell its papers to a private equity firm, with the sale likely to cost the paper millions.
However, this was the first attempt to privatise a national newspapers.
“The Daily Mirror is owned and managed by The News Corporation and all of the Daily Sun’s business operations are managed by the News Corporation,” a spokesperson for The News said at the time.
Despite being the majority owner of the National Mirror, the Evening Standard, the National and Sunday Herald are owned jointly by the Sunday Mail Group and News Corp, and the Telegraph is owned jointly with the News Group.
There is also a dispute over ownership of a number of newspapers in the UK, including the Daily Star, the Mirror and Sunday Times, with The Times owning most of the papers and the Evening Star owning the rest.
While it’s not clear which newspapers will be sold to a privately-owned company, it appears that National will be the only national newspaper to be sold in the near future.
For now, Vicks says that he has no plans on taking a leave of absence, but that he would prefer to see the national newspapers continue to operate in the interests of the public.
Meanwhile, Vicker says that the new editorial team will work closely with local editors.
You can follow him on Twitter at @michaelvickers