The Daily Express was described as outright rude and “Islamophobic” by the newspaper’s new editor. When grilled by MPs about the editorial policies of the right-wing mid-market tabloid, Gary Jones didn’t hold back.
Jones told the home affairs select committee, which is investigating the treatment of minorities in the media, that some of the headlines that had appeared in the past had fostered an Islamophobic mood that he found uncomfortable.
Following Trinity Mirror’s acquisition of Northern & Shell in March 2018, Jones was named editor of the Daily and Sunday Express and its stablemate, the Daily Star.
Changes in ownership have allowed one of the most recognizable names in British media to take an important step forward. In 2002, Jones began working as a reporter, hoping to see London on a national daily steeped in Fleet Street history from the days when it was the world’s most popular publication. But he says that what he should have seen was that the Express, which has been on the decline since Lord Beaverbrook’s mid-market juggernaut was purchased by UKIP-supporting porn publisher Richard Desmond in 2000, was doomed from the beginning.
The billionaire entrepreneur, despite the best intentions, energies, and experience of his employees, did not understand or appreciate journalism, merely milking the remaining advertising and circulation revenue from its historic base. Desmond-led fixation with front-page stories—whether they constituted a story or not (and it was very frequently not)—that focused on the same subjects year after year, including weather, Princess Diana, and immigration, dragged the paper down to third place in the Sunday tabloid rankings.
Immediately after taking the position, he was appalled to find anti-immigrant Daily Express front-page headlines. Jones was not only appalled but also told his staff members explicitly that he would not accept going on with anti-immigrant stories.
How Does Gary Jones’ Upbringing Impact The Daily Express?
When the Daily Express was still selling millions of copies a day, Jones’s conservative-leaning parents were longtime readers and carried on the habit to their son. Following his high school graduation, Jones went to Preston’s journalism college and worked his way up to a position at Piers Morgan’s News of the World, where he learned the art of investigative journalism. In the mid-1990s, Morgan transferred Jones to the Daily Mirror.
When the conversation turned to his children’s schooling, he added that he was a person of contradictions. Because I wanted to challenge the system and authority and have a voice but yet be real, I put my son to Eton, he says. Sometimes, he hasn’t expressed gratitude.
“They reminded me of my parents,” the editor said of a recent meeting with Daily Express readers who gave him optimism that his audience didn’t want to read unpleasant content. What the newspaper had evolved into was something they weren’t fully cognizant of at the time. Nevertheless, they are enticed by the promise of a promotion for the Express.