Metro newspaper redesigns front page after ‘Glorious Twelfth’ gaffe

The original design of the front page featured a headline which read ‘Glorious Twelfth’ directly underneath a picture of the riots currently taking place in Northern Ireland

A British newspaper has had to quickly redesign its front page after readers pointed out an “unfortunate” juxtaposition between two stories.

As part of the #TomorrowsPapersToday trend, a number of publications release the front pages of their newspapers the day before they are published in order to give readers some insight into what’s coming next.

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However, UK publication The Metro has had to quickly redesign its front page layout for its Friday 9 April edition after it received backlash and criticism from readers.

The original design featured an article on the top half of the paper with a dramatic image of the violence and rioting currently taking place across Northern Ireland with the headline: “Bad Old Days Are Back.”

Directly underneath this article was a larger headline which read “Glorious Twelfth”, in reference to the date that pubs will be able to reopen in England, which is Monday 12 April, following their closures due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Many were quick to point out the problems with the front page on social media.

What does ‘Glorious Twelfth’ mean?

The headline was quickly changed to another which said 'Get The Beers In' (Photo: Metro)
The headline was quickly changed to another which said 'Get The Beers In' (Photo: Metro)

“Glorious Twelfth”, also known as “The Twelfth” or “Orangemen’s Day” is an Ulster Protestant celebration which is held on 12 July. It commemorates the military victory when the last British Catholic monarch King James II was defeated by Protestant King William at the Battle of the Boyne.

On and around 12 July, large parades are held by the Orange Order and Ulster loyalist marching bands. The day is a tense time in Northern Ireland, with violence occasionally breaking out between those marching and Irish Catholic and Irish nationalist neighbourhoods.

Irish Times explains that the day is “viewed by the predominantly Catholic nationalist community in Northern Ireland as a provocative display of triumphalism”.

Currently, violence and rioting has broken out across Northern Ireland due to rising tensions and the growing frustration over trade deals separating the region from the rest of the UK.

Before midnight on Thursday (8 April), the Metro changed the front page, removing the headline “Glorious Twelfth” and instead replacing it with “Get The Beers In”.

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Online reaction

People were quick to point out the issue with the original front page, with users on Twitter wondering how such a layout could have been approved in the first place.

Kevin Doyle, Head of News at Independent.ie Tweeted a side by side image of the old frontpage and the new front page, writing: “UK Metro has changed its front page headline for tomorrow (presumably after getting a beginners’ history lesson about Northern Ireland). Spot the difference.”

One person asked: “Seriously, there’s got to be SOMEONE with the faintest idea about NI who could have stopped this going to press?”

Another wrote: “To be fair, whoever wrote the lower headline may not have been aware of the other front page story… You’d have hoped an editor would have spotted it though.”

“There’s no way that was a mistake! Even the lads in the print room would’ve known the significance of that,” tweeted another.

One user also wrote: “This is either terrible ignorance or terrible insensitivity and neither is okay to be honest.”