It rarely enters awards, and most people haven't even heard of its editor. But it has beaten the red tops to become Britain's most-read print titleby Jane Martinson / August 20, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
Soon after moving into Downing Street, Theresa May hosted a private dinner for the editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre. Not long after, the then-foreign secretary Boris Johnson was snapped, in shorts, running alongside the editor of the Sun, Tony Gallagher. If asked to think of a successful tabloid editor, most people would think of a man (yes, probably still a man) like one of these two—at one and the same time thoroughly plugged in with the powerful, yet also obsessed with retaining a populist touch.
Yet the editor of the most-read newspaper in Britain is a man called Ted, a man you probably haven’t heard of, and certainly not a man in the habit of popping into Downing Street for a téte-a-téte with the prime minister. Ted Young was appointed Editor of Metro, the freesheet distributed around all UK cities, in 2014 when it still lagged behind the far better known paid-for rivals, the Mail and the Sun.
You can sneer at its seemingly apolitical, even bland, mix of news and celebrity, and yet in March 2018, Metro was confirmed as the UK’s most-read newspaper—bigger than its more famous stablemate, the Daily Mail, bigger even than the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun, which has topped the list of most-read daily titles since 1978. Just reflect on the myriad of ways that newspaper has enlivened, coarsened and pushed to the right Britain’s political discourse during its long decades at the top, and you’re likely to judge that the new occupant of the No. 1 spot is worth getting to know.
As for those of us on the inside of the media industry, swotting up on Metro should be a higher priority—not only because of its reach, with 1.5m copies of Metro distributed every day via transport networks in cities, but also because of its bottom line. Despite an existential crisis in the print advertising market, it turned up an £11m profit last year.
“I’m very hands on and I don’t get out much”
Short, balding and with the slightly bulldog expression of someone most often to be found reading proofs at an hour when most of us are getting ready for bed, Young has worked for every tabloid newspaper in the UK and one, the Daily News, in New York. A former editor of MailOnline and survivor of the freesheet battle which raged in London during the noughties as editor of London Lite, he has also been night editor of the Sun and executive editor of the Daily Express, where he ended up in a legal dispute with the controversial owner Richard Desmond.