It had to be one of the most interesting and disturbing tweets to come across my Twitter timeline in the last week: “How did the Daily Mail conquer America? The UK tabloid has overtaken @NYTimes as world’s most popular newspaper website” it read from BBC World. It was and still is a good question. How did the Daily Mail become the most popular newspaper website?
Lucky for me and anyone else who saw this tweet come across their timeline, the BBC provided a quick and easy breakdown as to what the Daily Mail did to become the most popular online newspaper website. Basically, what it boils down to is very simple (though the BBC article goes into more depth): they made the format of their website extremely appealing by using tons of pictures, and focused heavily on celebrity news.
I’d been trying to figure out what bothered me so much about the idea of the Daily Mail taking over The New York Times as the most popular newspaper website and I think I finally sussed it out. It’s that when I visit the Daily Mail, I’m usually looking for celebrity gossip and not good journalism on current events. To me that’s what makes a newspaper a newspaper or a newspaper website more specifically. Good journalism on serious events with a brief glimpse into the celebrity gossip, entertainment and sports. Not the other way around. This is not to say that the Daily Mail doesn’t have its own merits, but it is just not what I think about when I think of a newspaper website.
Honestly, I’m still rather shocked that the Daily Mail was able to grab such attention, particularly in the States. But, I guess the surge in British celebrities, television programs, and music makes this no surprise.
(The screengrab of the Daily Mail is used here under fair use and fair comment guidelines.)