It was founded in Cardiff in 1869 by the 3rd Marquess of Bute, and subsequently owned by coal and iron industrialists. This meant that it was not always popular among a large segment of its target readership, the coalminers and steelworkers of South Wales, who regarded it as a “management” paper – especially because of its hostile stance towards strikers in the big strikes of the 20th century. However, it provides a good deal of coverage of populist issues such as rugby, football and athletics; and it tries to find a Welsh angle on events in the wider world. The amount of Welsh-language content has varied; currently at least two full pages appear every Saturday.
It’s published on Mondays to Saturdays by Media Wales Ltd (formerly Western Mail & Echo Ltd), which in turn is part of the Trinity Mirror group. There are two paid-for editions, East and West. Since February 2013 a free pick-up edition for Swansea city centre has also been published on Thursdays and Fridays, apparently in a move to boost circulation against the Mail‘s great rival, the South Wales Evening Post. An iPad app is also available.
Originally a broadsheet, it became a “compact” (tabloid) in 2004. It has a sister evening paper, the South Wales Echo, and an associated Sunday newspaper, Wales on Sunday; all three share the same website.
Speculation that the Mail might be about to go weekly (as has happened in recent years with two other major Trinity Mirror dailies, the Birmingham Post and Liverpool Daily Post) was denied by its editor, Alan Edmunds, when giving evidence to a Welsh Assembly inquiry in December 2011.