Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is 'Bruiser' Moore's Job Really in Danger?; Media

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is 'Bruiser' Moore's Job Really in Danger?; Media

Article excerpt


TELEGRAPH editor Charles Moore cherishes his image as the cultivated gentleman journalist so his bareknuckled attack on Robert Thomson's Times - "bland as an airline meal" - was all the more shocking to those of us of a gentle disposition. Things must be really bad at The Daily Telegraph. In fact, they're not great at either broadsheet. With average sales of 926,000 last month, the Telegraph is down a substantial 7.6 per cent on March 2002.

But at 655,000, The Times is also off a worrying seven per cent.

Part of the Telegraph's slide is self-inflicted: it has cut its bulk copy sales from 50,000 to 16,000 these past 12 months, while The Times still includes a hefty 33,000 bulks in its headline sales. But it is far from the whole story - a fact "Bruiser" Moore tried to disguise in his pummelling of his rival.

It is not true, as Moore claimed in yesterday's Independent, that his paper had only ever been kept above the magic one-million mark by sleights of hand such as bulks.

There was a time when the Telegraph sold more than one million - peaking at around 1.3 million - with no need of artifices to inflate its figures.

These came in the last decade, with Moore's generation of editors.

Nor is it true to say that today's Telegraph has "a real circulation", and that the paper is "a supreme product, with a premium price - that's worth paying 55p for". In fact, only 535,000 copies are sold at the "premium price"; the rest across the counter at cutprice subscriptions (308,000) or lesser rates (41,000).

The Times sells 476,000 at fullrate, which puts it only 59,000 behind the Telegraph on this most rigorous measure of sales performance - a lot less than the 275,000 headline gap. Now, perhaps, we can see the reason for Moore's raging against The Times.

His attack on the enemy was so merciless that he did not care if he took down a few of his own side in the onslaught. …

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