This particular newspaper seems to have perfected something that many want to emulate. Newspapers are struggling. The traditional printing presses are getting quieter and newspaper circulation figures are falling through the floor.
Recent figures show some double-digit declines in the actual physical newspaper sales figures. The Sun is still the most popular in print, but has seen their circulation drop by 6% year-on-year, The Daily Telegraph is down by 22%, The Sunday Telegraph by 17%, The Daily Star is down by 15%, The Express by 12%, The Daily Mirror down by 12% and The Daily Mail is down by 12% too.
The move to online is no-where near as lucractive. You can’t make as much money. You can’t charge as much and, with almost everybody now browsing the internet on a smartphone, you can’t flood the page with banners, pop-ups and all the adverts that would help boost your revenue.
So you need as much traffic as possible. You need “stickiness” and you need to get those few ads you are running being displayed as much as possible.
That, then, is where the Daily Mail Online somehow manages to tick the “most successful news website in the world”-box and the “utterly terrible journalism standards”-box at the same time.
See, to get clicks, to get “eyes”, you need to write in a certain way. A way that will “link” your news item to a certain topic without having any factual evidence to support it. A way to casually mention something totally unrelated in order to create a mental connection and a subliminal message. A way to annoy, aggravate and push you into adding a comments, because comments mean more time on the site, more clicks, more money.
However, the hilariously terrible Daily Mail, which continues to prove popular whilst being widely derided, has hit the news in a way that they probably wouldn’t like. It’s now being flagged as a news website which “fails basic standards of accuracy and accountability”. Some could say that they’re getting a taste of their own medicine, especially when you consider how they regularly attack and discredit celebrities, politicians, judges or members of the Royal Family.
Now, this isn’t new. The warning comes from a plug-in called NewsGuard, which you can stick onto most browsers via a plugin. We’ve just put it on our desktop Chrome browser and, after browsing the Daily Mail website, you get this…
#As you can see, it states that the paper repeatedly publishes false content, it doesn’t gather information responsibly and tends to crash all over the line between bringing the news and adding opinionated rants. In addition, their headlines are deceptive and they don’t seem to offer details of who’s in charge. Most stories are written by an un-named reporter.
The matter came to prominence recently though after Microsoft updated its Edge browser app for Android and iOS devices so that NewsGuard was built in. Some of the 28 people using the browser then must’ve noticed. The Daily Mail took a slight swipe at NewsGuard, and “a spokesman” told us the following…
We have only very recently become aware of the NewsGuard start-up and are in discussions with them to have this egregiously erroneous classification resolved as soon as possible.
The BBC asked NewsGuard’s developers about this. They stated that they had already tried to contact the Mail Online.
Our journalist analysts always contact websites if they get a negative rating on any of our nine journalistic criteria. The Mail Online chose not to reply.