Stop Funding Hate supporters credited with bringing about change at the Daily Mail

This week’s Prospect Magazine gives a powerful insight into the difference that Stop Funding Hate supporters have made within the UK media.

Prospect highlights the Daily Mail’s decision to replace its longstanding editor, Paul Dacre, with the more moderate Geordie Greig, and notes that migration “largely fell off the front pages” following this move in 2018.

The article says that the Mail’s change of editor was “understood at least partly to relate to the success of groups such as Stop Funding Hate in convincing advertisers not to appear in the Mail, because of Dacre’s acrid front-page stories on the issue”.

There is also a striking quote from the former Sun editor, Kelvin MacKenzie:

“The whole world of journalism, from the middle market downwards, has changed, as you can see with the Sun. The excesses of intemperance have had to be curtailed. Why? Not because the reader doesn’t want them, the reader absolutely wants them. The problem is that the advertisers will not support them.”

Stop Funding Hate’s long-term goal is to change the media business model to the point where fuelling hatred towards migrants and other minority groups is no longer profitable.

While there’s still some way to go, this week’s Prospect article is an encouraging sign of the impact that Stop Funding Hate supporters have had on thinking within the media and the advertising industry, and our progress towards that long-term goal.

Stop Funding Hate’s conversations with the Daily Mail

Prospect has also publicised some news that had not yet been widely reported.

Early last year Stop Funding Hate was contacted by the Daily Mail, and subsequently linked the newspaper up with a number of organisations supporting groups affected by discrimination, to discuss the longstanding concerns many people have had about the Mail’s reporting.

The fact that the Daily Mail chose to reach out is a testament to the efforts that thousands of Stop Funding Hate supporters have made, and the power of this type of campaigning.

One of Stop Funding Hate’s goals is to help bring about a fairer and more responsible media, so alongside our public campaigns we will generally be open to a discussion when approached (albeit with some exceptions).

Equally, we believe that those best placed to speak about problematic media reporting are the communities most affected by that coverage.

Stop Funding Hate respected the desire for this dialogue to be confidential, while also continuing to publicly highlight ongoing concerns – and responding to the Mail’s intermittent attacks on Stop Funding Hate supporters.

As a campaign that is driven by, and accountable to, its supporter community, we are sharing an update now that this issue has been made more public (after initially being covered by the Drum).

How far has the Daily Mail’s coverage changed?

Since 2018, Stop Funding Hate has seen a marked reduction in anti-migrant front pages in the print edition of the Daily Mail. A number of groups have told us that they have noticed improvements in other areas, and a drop in the frequency of overtly problematic content within the paper.

In response to this change, Stop Funding Hate reduced its focus on the Daily Mail print edition, and broadened our campaigning to encompass a wider range of media.

Nonetheless, we have continued to hear concerns about aspects of the Daily Mail’s coverage, including its rhetoric around Black Lives Matter, its portrayals of Meghan Markle, and its targeting of academics and anti-racism campaigners.

We have also heard ongoing concerns – particularly around coverage of trans people – about the Mail on Sunday, and the Mail Online. While these have been edited separately from the Daily Mail print edition, they share the same brand, and website – which inevitably blurs the distinction between the three titles.

For these reasons, the situation with the Daily Mail has seemed less clear cut than with the Daily Express, whose coverage has also changed significantly in recent years.

Geordie Greig’s departure raises questions

However, as Prospect also reports, last month it was announced that Geordie Greig is leaving the Daily Mail, and that the current editor of the Mail on Sunday will now oversee both titles.

Given the efforts made towards “detoxifying” the newspaper during Geordie Greig’s tenure, this change will inevitably raise questions about the Daily Mail’s future direction.

Will the positive changes made in recent years be sustained – or will we see a resurgence of the divisive headlines that galvanised popular opposition to the Daily Mail in 2016?

Can you help build the movement for fairer media?

Together we’re showing the difference it can make when consumers speak out, and ask the companies we shop with to #StopFundingHate.

But we know there may be uncertain times ahead – and that there is still some way to go before we have a press that treats everyone fairly.

In the coming year, Stop Funding Hate will work to empower more people to push back against toxic media by sharing the tactics that we’ve seen success with.

If you’d like to help build our movement, please consider becoming a committed supporter by setting up a monthly donation.