War Experience of British Newspapers

February 8, 1943

Report Outline
Lessons from British Edperience for American Press
Changes Dictated by Newsprint Shortage
Editorial and Advertising Content
Special Focus

Lessons from British Edperience for American Press

Successful Operation Under Wartime Conditions

Wartime financial statements of British newspaper concerns continue to show favorable earning records and some newspapers have even improved their financial positions during the war. Of a total of about 1950 dailies and weeklies published in Great Britain, only twelve of the smaller newspapers have passed out of existence since 1939. The reduction in newsprint supplies made necessary by the shipping situation has forced all British newspapers to adopt drastic changes in makeup and content. All newspapers are reduced in size. Most of the dailies are down to four pages, but have substantially maintained their prewar circulations. “Quality” newspapers, such as the London Times and the London Daily Telegraph, chose to reduce circulation by about one-third and increase selling price by one-half in order to give their readers a newspaper 50 to 100 per cent larger than the mass circulation dailies.

While the proportion of total space devoted to editorial matter has increased by about 50 per cent, the reduced size of newspapers has led to the virtual elimination of certain types of news, including society, fashions, sports, and general feature articles. Editorial and “opinion” columns, however, have been maintained. Newspapers are offered far mora advertising than they can accept. Publishers strictly limit the proportion of total space devoted to advertising. Linage rates have been increased by as much as 60 per cent, but income derived from advertising now furnishes only about 25 per cent of the newspaper industry's gross revenue.

The decline in revenue from advertising is offset somewhat by a drop in certain costs. Employees in editorial and mechanical departments are less numerous, advertising personnel has been reduced by about 90 per cent, and circulation and promotion staffs have been practically eliminated.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World War II
Jul. 20, 1944  Foreign Relief
Feb. 09, 1944  Diplomatic Recognition
May 07, 1943  Colonies After the War
Feb. 08, 1943  War Experience of British Newspapers
May 28, 1942  North Pacific Fronts
May 07, 1942  Invasion of Europe
Apr. 06, 1942  Governments in Exile
Sep. 13, 1941  Britain's Dominions and the European War
Aug. 29, 1940  Foreign Policy of the Roosevelt Administration
Jun. 17, 1940  Gateways to the Mediterranean
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World War II