Brits urged to buy a newspaper as industry faces its ‘biggest ever crisis’


Britons have been urged to buy a newspaper as the press grapples “with the biggest existential crisis in its history”.

The newspaper business has come under increasing strain amid the coronavirus pandemic, with falling advertising revenue and declining circulation.

Two of the UK’s biggest publishers have cut wages for staff in the latest round of measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

The Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), which owns the Mail, Metro and the i newspaper titles, has imposed a pay cut on all staff earning more than £40,000 a year.

And Reach, owner of the Mirror and Express papers, said all staff will see a pay cut of at least 10% due to heavy falls in advertising and circulation.

Writing in The Times, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Newspapers are at heart of the British media and essential to its vibrant mix.

“People across the country are rising to the coronavirus challenge and I suggest we all add one small thing to our to-do list: buy a paper.

“Despite the massive disruption the coronavirus lockdown is causing to the production and distribution of news, those working in the industry have shown a dogged determination to keep the show on the road.

“Right now the news industry is doing a vital public service by giving important information to people as the pandemic unfolds.”

He also urged brands to end “ad-blocking” on online news articles about the pandemic and allow their adverts to appear next to COVID-19 news stories.

“As the country fights our greatest national emergency since the Second World War the press is grappling with arguably the biggest existential crisis in its history.

“National, regional and local newspapers are under huge financial pressure, largely because of plummeting commercial advertising on their printed pages and websites.

“So today I am asking companies and the advertising industry to act and do all they can to resolve this issue.

“I have written to the 100 biggest brands in the UK to urge them to review their advertising policies and check they are not inappropriately blocking adverts from appearing next to news providing a vital public service.”