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The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian; it changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders. It is considered a newspaper of record in the UK.
In an Ipsos MORI research poll in September 2018 designed to interrogate the public's trust of specific titles online, The Guardian scored highest for digital-content news, with 84% of readers agreeing that they "trust what see in it". A December 2018 report of a poll by the Publishers Audience Measurement Company (PAMCo) stated that the paper's print edition was found to be the most trusted in the UK in the period from October 2017 to September 2018. It was also reported to be the most-read of the UK's "quality newsbrands", including digital editions; other "quality" brands included The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, and the i. While The Guardian's print circulation is in decline, the report indicated that news from The Guardian, including that reported online, reaches more than 23 million UK adults each month.
The Manchester Guardian was founded in Manchester in 1821 by cotton merchant John Edward Taylor with backing from the Little Circle, a group of non-conformist businessmen. They launched the paper, on 5 May 1821 (by chance the very day of Napoleon's death) after the police closure of the more radicalManchester Observer, a paper that had championed the cause of the Peterloo Massacre protesters. Taylor had been hostile to the radical reformers, writing: "They have appealed not to the reason but the passions and the suffering of their abused and credulous fellow-countrymen, from whose ill-requited industry they extort for themselves the means of a plentiful and comfortable existence. They do not toil, neither do they spin, but they live better than those that do." When the government closed down the Manchester Observer, the mill-owners' champions had the upper hand.
The influential journalist Jeremiah Garnett joined Taylor during the establishment of the paper, and all of the Little Circle wrote articles for the new paper. The prospectus announcing the new publication proclaimed that it would "zealously enforce the principles of civil and religious Liberty ... warmly advocate the cause of Reform ... endeavour to assist in the diffusion of just principles of Political Economy and ... support, without reference to the party from which they emanate, all serviceable measures". In 1825, the paper merged with the British Volunteer and was known as The Manchester Guardian and British Volunteer until 1828.
The working-classManchester and Salford Advertiser called The Manchester Guardian "the foul prostitute and dirty parasite of the worst portion of the mill-owners".The Manchester Guardian was generally hostile to labour's claims. Of the 1832 Ten Hours Bill, the paper doubted whether in view of the foreign competition "the passing of a law positively enacting a gradual destruction of the cotton manufacture in this kingdom would be a much less rational procedure."The Manchester Guardian dismissed strikes as the work of outside agitators, stating that "if an accommodation can be effected, the occupation of the agents of the Union is gone. They live on strife ... ."
Slavery and the American Civil War
The newspaper opposed slavery and supported free trade. An 1823 leading article on the continuing "cruelty and injustice" to slaves in the West Indies long after the abolition of the slave trade with the Slave Trade Act 1807 wanted fairness to the interests and claims both of the planters and of their oppressed slaves. It welcomed the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 and accepted the "increased compensation" to the planters as the "guilt of slavery attaches far more to the nation" rather than individuals. Success of the Act would encourage emancipation in other slave-owning nations to avoid "imminent risk of a violent and bloody termination." However, the newspaper argued against restricting trade with countries which had not yet abolished slavery.
Complex tensions developed in the United States. When the abolitionist George Thompson toured, the newspaper said that "lavery is a monstrous evil, but civil war is not a less one; and we would not seek the abolition even of the former through the imminent hazard of the latter". It suggested that the United States should compensate slave-owners for freeing slaves and called on President Franklin Pierce to resolve the 1856 "civil war", the Sacking of Lawrence due to pro-slavery laws imposed by Congress.
In 1860, The Observer quoted a report that the newly elected president Abraham Lincoln was opposed to abolition of slavery. On 13 May 1861, shortly after the start of the American Civil War, the Manchester Guardian portrayed the Northern states as primarily imposing a burdensome trade monopoly on the Confederate States, arguing that if the South was freed to have direct trade with Europe, "the day would not be distant when slavery itself would cease". Therefore, the newspaper asked "Why should the South be prevented from freeing itself from slavery?" This hopeful view was also held by the Liberal leader William Ewart Gladstone.
Statue of Lincoln in Manchester, with extracts from the working men's letter and his reply on its base.
There was division in Britain over the Civil War, even within political parties. The Manchester Guardian had also been conflicted. It had supported other independence movements and felt it should also support the rights of the Confederacy to self-determination. It criticised Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation for not freeing all American slaves. On 10 October 1862, it wrote: "It is impossible to cast any reflections upon a man so evidently sincere and well-intentioned as Mr Lincoln but it is also impossible not to feel that it was an evil day both for America and the world, when he was chosen President of the United States". By then, the Union blockade was causing suffering in British towns. Some including Liverpool supported the Confederacy as did "current opinion in all classes" in London. On 31 December 1862, cotton workers held a meeting at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester which resolved "its detestation of negro slavery in America, and of the attempt of the rebellious Southern slave-holders to organise on the great American continent a nation having slavery as its basis". There was a comment that "an effort had been made in a leading article of the Manchester Guardian to deter the working men from assembling together for such a purpose". The newspaper reported all this and published their letter to President Lincoln while complaining that "the chief occupation, if not the chief object of the meeting, seems to have been to abuse the Manchester Guardian". Lincoln replied to the letter thanking the workers for their "sublime Christian heroism" and American ships delivered relief supplies to Britain.
The newspaper reported the shock to the community of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, concluding that "he parting of his family with the dying President is too sad for description", but in what from today's perspective looks an ill-judged editorial wrote that "f his rule we can never speak except as a series of acts abhorrent to every true notion of constitutional right and human liberty", adding "it is doubtless to be regretted that he had not the opportunity of vindicating his good intentions".
According to Martin Kettle, writing for The Guardian in February 2011, "The Guardian had always hated slavery. But it doubted the Union hated slavery to the same degree. It argued that the Union had always tacitly condoned slavery by shielding the southern slave states from the condemnation they deserved. It was critical of Lincoln's emancipation proclamation for stopping short of a full repudiation of slavery throughout the US. And it chastised the president for being so willing to negotiate with the south, with slavery one of the issues still on the table".
C. P. Scott
C. P. Scott made the newspaper nationally recognised. He was editor for 57 years from 1872, and became its owner when he bought the paper from the estate of Taylor's son in 1907. Under Scott, the paper's moderate editorial line became more radical, supporting William Gladstone when the Liberals split in 1886, and opposing the Second Boer War against popular opinion. Scott supported the movement for women's suffrage, but was critical of any tactics by the Suffragettes that involved direct action: "The really ludicrous position is that Mr Lloyd George is fighting to enfranchise seven million women and the militants are smashing unoffending people's windows and breaking up benevolent societies' meetings in a desperate effort to prevent him." Scott thought the Suffragettes' "courage and devotion" was "worthy of a better cause and saner leadership". It has been argued that Scott's criticism reflected a widespread disdain, at the time, for those women who "transgressed the gender expectations of Edwardian society".
Scott commissioned J. M. Synge and his friend Jack Yeats to produce articles and drawings documenting the social conditions of the west of Ireland; these pieces were published in 1911 in the collection Travels in Wicklow, West Kerry and Connemara.
From 1930 to 1967, a special archival copy of all the daily newspapers was preserved in 700 zinc cases. These were found in 1988 whilst the newspaper's archives were deposited at the University of Manchester's John Rylands University Library, on the Oxford Road campus. The first case was opened and found to contain the newspapers issued in August 1930 in pristine condition. The zinc cases had been made each month by the newspaper's plumber and stored for posterity. The other 699 cases were not opened and were all returned to storage at The Guardian's garage, owing to shortage of space at the library.
The paper's then editor, A. P. Wadsworth, so loathed Labour's left-wing champion Aneurin Bevan, who had made a reference to getting rid of "Tory Vermin" in a speech "and the hate-gospellers of his entourage" that it encouraged readers to vote Conservative in the 1951 general election and remove Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government. The newspaper opposed the creation of the National Health Service as it feared the state provision of healthcare would "eliminate selective elimination" and lead to an increase of congenitally deformed and feckless people.
The Manchester Guardian strongly opposed military intervention during the 1956 Suez Crisis: "The Anglo-French ultimatum to Egypt is an act of folly, without justification in any terms but brief expediency. It pours petrol on a growing fire. There is no knowing what kind of explosion will follow."
On 24 August 1959, The Manchester Guardian changed its name to The Guardian. This change reflected the growing prominence of national and international affairs in the newspaper. In September 1961, The Guardian, which had previously only been published in Manchester, began to be printed in London.Nesta Roberts was appointed as the newspaper's first news editor there, becoming the first woman to hold such a position on a British national newspaper.
1972 to 2000
Northern Ireland conflict
When 13 civil rights demonstrators in Northern Ireland were killed by the Parachute Regiment on 30 January 1972 (known as Bloody Sunday), The Guardian wrote that "Neither side can escape condemnation." Of the protesters, they wrote, "The organizers of the demonstration, Miss Bernadette Devlin among them, deliberately challenged the ban on marches. They knew that stone throwing and sniping could not be prevented, and that the IRA might use the crowd as a shield." Of the British soldiers present, they wrote, "there seems little doubt that random shots were fired into the crowd, that aim was taken at individuals who were neither bombers nor weapons carriers and that excessive force was used".
Many Irish people believed that the Widgery Tribunal's ruling on the killings was a whitewash, a view that was later supported with the publication of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in 2010, but in 1972 The Guardian declared that "Widgery's report is not one-sided" (20 April 1972). At the time the paper also supported internment without trial in Northern Ireland: "Internment without trial is hateful, repressive and undemocratic. In the existing Irish situation, most regrettably, it is also inevitable... .To remove the ringleaders, in the hope that the atmosphere might calm down, is a step to which there is no obvious alternative." Before then, The Guardian had called for British troops to be sent to the region, claiming that their deployment could "present a more disinterested face of law and order," but only on condition that "Britain takes charge."
In 1983, the paper was at the centre of a controversy surrounding documents regarding the stationing of cruise missiles in Britain that were leaked to The Guardian by civil servant Sarah Tisdall. The paper eventually complied with a court order to hand over the documents to the authorities, which resulted in a six-month prison sentence for Tisdall, though she served only four. "I still blame myself," said Peter Preston, who was the editor of The Guardian at the time, but he went on to argue that the paper had no choice because it "believed in the rule of law". In an article discussing Julian Assange and the protection of sources by journalists, John Pilger criticised The Guardian's editor for betraying Tisdall by choosing not to go to prison "on a fundamental principle of protecting a source".
Alleged penetration by Russian intelligence
In 1994, KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky identified Guardian literary editor Richard Gott as "an agent of influence". While Gott denied that he received cash, he admitted he had had lunch at the Soviet Embassy and had taken benefits from the KGB on overseas visits. Gott resigned from his post.
Gordievsky commented on the newspaper: "The KGB loved The Guardian. It was deemed highly susceptible to penetration."
In 1995, both the Granada Television programme World in Action and The Guardian were sued for libel by the then cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, for their allegation that Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed had paid for Aitken and his wife to stay at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris, which would have amounted to accepting a bribe on Aitken's part. Aitken publicly stated that he would fight with "the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play". The court case proceeded, and in 1997 The Guardian produced evidence that Aitken's claim of his wife paying for the hotel stay was untrue. In 1999, Aitken was jailed for perjury and perverting the course of justice.
In May 1998, a series of Guardian investigations exposed the wholesale fabrication of a much-garlanded ITV documentary The Connection, produced by Carlton Television.
The documentary purported to film an undiscovered route by which heroin was smuggled into the United Kingdom from Colombia. An internal inquiry at Carlton found that The Guardian's allegations were in large part correct and the then industry regulator, the ITC, punished Carlton with a record £2 million fine for multiple breaches of the UK's broadcasting codes. The scandal led to an impassioned debate about the accuracy of documentary production.
Later in June 1998, The Guardian revealed further fabrications in another Carlton documentary from the same director.
The paper supported NATO's military intervention in the Kosovo War in 1998–1999. The Guardian stated that "the only honourable course for Europe and America is to use military force".Mary Kaldor's piece was headlined "Bombs away! But to save civilians, we must get in some soldiers too."
The Guardian senior news writer Esther Addley interviewing Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patiño for an article relating to Julian Assange in 2014.
In the early 2000s, The Guardian challenged the Act of Settlement 1701 and the Treason Felony Act 1848. In October 2004, The Guardian published a humorous column by Charlie Brooker in its entertainment guide, the final sentence of which was viewed by some as a call for violence against U.S. President George W. Bush; after a controversy, Brooker and the paper issued an apology, saying the "closing comments were intended as an ironic joke, not as a call to action." Following the 7 July 2005 London bombings, The Guardian published an article on its comment pages by Dilpazier Aslam, a 27-year-old British Muslim and journalism trainee from Yorkshire. Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist group, and had published a number of articles on their website. According to the paper, it did not know that Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir when he applied to become a trainee, though several staff members were informed of this once he started at the paper. The Home Office has claimed the group's "ultimate aim is the establishment of an Islamic state (Caliphate), according to Hizb ut-Tahrir via non-violent means". The Guardian asked Aslam to resign his membership of the group and, when he did not do so, terminated his employment. In early 2009, the paper started a tax investigation into a number of major UK companies, including publishing a database of the tax paid by the FTSE 100 companies. Internal documents relating to Barclays Bank's tax avoidance were removed from The Guardian website after Barclays obtained a gagging order. The paper played a pivotal role in exposing the depth of the News of the World phone hacking affair. The Economist'sIntelligent Life magazine opined that...
In recent decades, The Guardian has been accused of biased criticism of Israeli government policy and of bias against the Palestinians. In December 2003, columnist Julie Burchill cited "striking bias against the state of Israel" as one of the reasons she left the paper for The Times.
Responding to these accusations, a Guardian editorial in 2002 condemned antisemitism and defended the paper's right to criticise the policies and actions of the Israeli government, arguing that those who view such criticism as inherently anti-Jewish are mistaken. Harriet Sherwood, then The Guardian's foreign editor, later its Jerusalem correspondent, has also denied that The Guardian has an anti-Israel bias, saying that the paper aims to cover all viewpoints in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
On 6 November 2011, Chris Elliott, The Guardian's readers' editor, wrote that "Guardian reporters, writers and editors must be more vigilant about the language they use when writing about Jews or Israel," citing recent cases where The Guardian received complaints regarding language chosen to describe Jews or Israel. Elliott noted that, over nine months, he upheld complaints regarding language in certain articles that were seen as anti-Semitic, revising the language and footnoting this change.
The Guardian's style guide section referred to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel in 2012.The Guardian later clarified: "In 1980, the Israeli Knesset enacted a law designating the city of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem, as the country's capital. In response, the UN security council issued resolution 478, censuring the "change in character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem" and calling on all member states with diplomatic missions in the city to withdraw. The UN has reaffirmed this position on several occasions, and almost every country now has its embassy in Tel Aviv. While it was therefore right to issue a correction to make clear Israel's designation of Jerusalem as its capital is not recognised by the international community, we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv – the country's financial and diplomatic centre – is the capital. The style guide has been amended accordingly."
On 11 August 2014 the print edition of The Guardian published a pro-Israeli advocacy advert during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict featuring Elie Wiesel, headed by the words "Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it's Hamas' turn." The Times had decided against running the ad, although it had already appeared in major American newspapers. One week later, Chris Elliott expressed the opinion that the newspaper should have rejected the language used in the advert and should have negotiated with the advertiser on this matter.
In August 2004, for the US presidential election, the daily G2 supplement launched an experimental letter-writing campaign in Clark County, Ohio, an average-sized county in a swing state. Editor Ian Katz bought a voter list from the county for $25 and asked readers to write to people listed as undecided in the election, giving them an impression of the international view and the importance of voting against President George W. Bush.[circular reference] Katz admitted later that he did not believe Democrats who warned that the campaign would benefit Bush and not opponent John Kerry. The newspaper scrapped "Operation Clark County" on 21 October 2004 after first publishing a column of responses—nearly all of them outraged—to the campaign under the headline "Dear Limey assholes". Some commentators suggested that the public's dislike of the campaign contributed to Bush's victory in Clark County.
Guardian America and Guardian US
In 2007, the paper launched Guardian America, an attempt to capitalise on its large online readership in the United States, which at the time stood at more than 5.9 million. The company hired former American Prospect editor, New York magazine columnist and New York Review of Books writer Michael Tomasky to head the project and hire a staff of American reporters and web editors. The site featured news from The Guardian that was relevant to an American audience: coverage of US news and the Middle East, for example.
Tomasky stepped down from his position as editor of Guardian America in February 2009, ceding editing and planning duties to other US and London staff. He retained his position as a columnist and blogger, taking the title editor-at-large.
In October 2009, the company abandoned the Guardian America homepage, instead directing users to a US news index page on the main Guardian website. The following month, the company laid off six American employees, including a reporter, a multimedia producer and four web editors. The move came as Guardian News and Media opted to reconsider its US strategy amid a huge effort to cut costs across the company. In subsequent years, however, The Guardian has hired various commentators on US affairs including Ana Marie Cox, Michael Wolff, Naomi Wolf, Glenn Greenwald and George W. Bush's former speechwriter Josh Treviño. Treviño's first blog post was an apology for a controversial tweet posted in June 2011 over the second Gaza flotilla, the controversy which had been revived by the appointment.
Guardian US launched in September 2011, led by editor-in-chief Janine Gibson, which replaced the previous Guardian America service. After a period during which Katharine Viner served as the US editor-in-chief before taking charge of Guardian News and Media as a whole, Viner's former deputy, Lee Glendinning, was appointed to succeed her as head of the American operation at the beginning of June 2015.
Gagged from reporting Parliament
In October 2009, The Guardian reported that it was forbidden to report on a parliamentary matter – a question recorded in a Commons order paper, to be answered by a minister later that week. The paper noted that it was being "forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented—for the first time in memory—from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret. The only fact The Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck." The paper further claimed that this case appears "to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1689 Bill of Rights". The only parliamentary question mentioning Carter-Ruck in the relevant period was by Paul Farrelly MP, in reference to legal action by Barclays and Trafigura. The part of the question referencing Carter-Ruck relates to the latter company's September 2009 gagging order on the publication of a 2006 internal report into the 2006 Côte d'Ivoire toxic waste dump scandal, which involved a class action case that the company only settled in September 2009 after The Guardian published some of the commodity trader's internal emails. The reporting injunction was lifted the next day, for Carter-Ruck withdrew it before The Guardian could challenge it in the High Court.Alan Rusbridger attributed the rapid back-down by Carter-Ruck to postings on Twitter, as did a BBC article.
Edward Snowden leaks and intervention by the UK government
In June 2013, the newspaper broke news of the secret collection of Verizon telephone records held by Barack Obama's administration and subsequently revealed the existence of the PRISM surveillance program after it was leaked to the paper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.The Guardian said a DSMA-Notice had been sent to editors and journalists on 7 June after the first Guardian story about the Snowden documents. It said the DSMA-Notice was being used as an "attempt to censor coverage of surveillance tactics employed by intelligence agencies in the UK and US".
The newspaper was subsequently contacted by the British government's Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, under instruction from Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who ordered that the hard drives containing the information be destroyed.The Guardian's offices were then visited in July by agents from the UK's GCHQ, who supervised the destruction of the hard drives containing information acquired from Snowden.The Guardian said it had destroyed the hard drives to avoid threatened legal action by the UK government that could have stopped it from reporting on US and British government surveillance contained in the documents. In June 2014, The Register reported that the information the government sought to suppress by destroying the hard drives related to the location of a "beyond top secret" internet monitoring base in Seeb, Oman, and the close involvement of BT and Cable & Wireless in intercepting internet communications.Julian Assange criticised the newspaper for not publishing the entirety of the content when it had the chance. Rusbridger had initially covered the Snowden documents without the government's supervision, but subsequently sought it, and established an ongoing relationship with the Defence Ministry. The Guardian coverage of Snowden later continued because the information had already been copied outside the United Kingdom, earning the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize. Rusbridger and subsequent chief editors would sit on the government's DSMA-notice board.
Manafort–Assange secret meetings
In a November 2018 Guardian article, Luke Harding and Dan Collyns cited anonymous sources which stated that Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret meetings with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2013, 2015, and 2016. The name of a third author, Fernando Villavicencio, was removed from the online version of the story soon after publication. The title of the story was originally 'Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy'. A few hours after publication, 'sources say' was added to the title, and the meeting became an 'apparent meeting'. One reporter characterized the story, "If it's right, it might be the biggest get this year. If it's wrong, it might be the biggest gaffe." Manafort and Assange both denied ever having met with the latter threatening legal action against The Guardian. Ecuador's London consul Fidel Narváez, who had worked at Ecuador's embassy in London from 2010 to July 2018, denied that Manafort's visits had happened.Serge Halimi said Harding had a personal grievance against Assange and noted that Manafort's name does not appear in the Ecuadorian embassy's visitors’ book and there were no pictures of Manafort entering or leaving "one of the most surveilled and filmed buildings on the planet".
Priti Patel cartoon
The Guardian was accused of being "racist and misogynistic" after it published a cartoon depicting Home Secretary, Priti Patel as a cow with a ring in its nose in an alleged reference to her Hindu faith, since cows are considered sacred in Hinduism.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a former contributor to The Guardian, has accused The Guardian of falsifying the words of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a report about the interview he gave to Italian newspaper La Repubblica. In The Intercept, Greenwald wrote: "This article is about how those false claims—fabrications, really—were spread all over the internet by journalists, causing hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) to consume false news."The Guardian later amended its article about Assange.[clarification needed]
After publishing a story on 13 January 2017 claiming that WhatsApp had a "backdoor allows snooping on messages", more than 70 professional cryptographers signed on to an open letter calling for The Guardian to retract the article. On 13 June 2017, readers' editor Paul Chadwick released an article detailing the flawed reporting in the original January article, which was amended to remove references to a backdoor.
Ownership and finances
The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group (GMG) of newspapers, radio stations and print media. GMG components include The Observer, The Guardian Weekly and TheGuardian.com. All were owned by The Scott Trust, a charitable foundation existing between 1936 and 2008, which aimed to ensure the paper's editorial independence in perpetuity, maintaining its financial health to ensure it did not become vulnerable to takeovers by commercial media groups. At the beginning of October 2008, the Scott Trust's assets were transferred to a new limited company, The Scott Trust Limited, with the intention being that the original trust would be wound up. Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the Scott Trust, reassured staff that the purposes of the new company remained the same as under the previous arrangements.
The Guardian's headquarters in London
The Guardian is the only British national daily to conduct (since 2003) an annual social, ethical and environmental audit in which it examines, under the scrutiny of an independent external auditor, its own behaviour as a company. It is also the only British national daily newspaper to employ an internal ombudsman (called the "readers' editor") to handle complaints and corrections.
The Guardian and its parent groups participate in Project Syndicate and intervened in 1995 to save the Mail & Guardian in South Africa; GMG sold the majority of its shares of the Mail & Guardian in 2002.
The Guardian was consistently loss-making until 2019. The National Newspaper division of GMG, which also includes The Observer, reported operating losses of £49.9 million in 2006, up from £18.6 million in 2005. The paper was therefore heavily dependent on cross-subsidisation from profitable companies within the group.
The continual losses made by the National Newspaper division of the Guardian Media Group caused it to dispose of its Regional Media division by selling titles to competitor Trinity Mirror in March 2010. This included the flagship Manchester Evening News, and severed the historic link between that paper and The Guardian. The sale was in order to safeguard the future of The Guardian newspaper as is the intended purpose of the Scott Trust.
In June 2011 Guardian News and Media revealed increased annual losses of £33 million and announced that it was looking to focus on its online edition for news coverage, leaving the print edition to contain more comments and features. It was also speculated that The Guardian might become the first British national daily paper to be fully online.
For the three years up to June 2012, the paper lost £100,000 a day, which prompted Intelligent Life to question whether The Guardian could survive.
Between 2007 and 2014 The Guardian Media Group sold all their side businesses, of regional papers and online portals for classifieds and consolidated, into The Guardian as sole product. The sales let them acquire a capital stock of £838.3 million as of July 2014, supposed to guarantee the independence of the Guardian in perpetuity. In the first year, the paper made more losses than predicted, and in January 2016 the publishers announced, that The Guardian will cut 20 per cent of staff and costs within the next three years. The newspaper is rare in calling for direct contributions "to deliver the independent journalism the world needs."
The Guardian Media Group's 2018 annual report (year ending 1 April 2018) indicated some significant changes occurring. Its digital (online) editions accounted for over 50% of group revenues by that time; the loss from news and media operations was £18.6 million, 52% lower than during the prior year (2017: £38.9 million). The Group had cut costs by £19.1 million, partly by switching its print edition to the tabloid format. The Guardian Media Group's owner, the Scott Trust Endowment Fund, reported that its value at the time was £1.01 billion (2017: £1.03 billion). In the following financial report (for the year 2018–2019), the group reported a profit (EBITDA) of £0.8 million before exceptional items, thus breaking even in 2019.
To be sustainable, the annual subsidy must fall within the £25m of interest returned on the investments from the Scott Trust Endowment Fund.
"Membership" subscription scheme
In 2014, The Guardian launched a membership scheme. The scheme aims to reduce the financial losses incurred by The Guardian without introducing a paywall, thus maintaining open access to the website. Website readers can pay a monthly subscription, with three tiers available. As of 2018 this approach was considered successful, having brought more than 1 million subscriptions or donations, with the paper hoping to break even by April 2019.
The Guardian Foundation at the Senate House History Day, 2019.
In 2016, the company established a U.S.-based philanthropic arm to raise money from individuals and organizations including think tanks and corporate foundations. The grants are focused by the donors on particular issues. By the following year, the organization had raised $1 million from the likes of Pierre Omidyar's Humanity United, the Skoll Foundation, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to finance reporting on topics including modern-day slavery and climate change. The Guardian has stated that it has secured $6 million "in multi-year funding commitments" thus far.
As of March 2020, the journal claims to be "the first major global news organisation to institute an outright ban on taking money from companies that extract fossil fuels."
Political stance and editorial opinion
Founded by textile traders and merchants, in its early years The Guardian had a reputation as "an organ of the middle class", or in the words of C. P. Scott's son Ted, "a paper that will remain bourgeois to the last". Associated at first with the Little Circle and hence with classical liberalism as expressed by the Whigs and later by the Liberal Party, its political orientation underwent a decisive change after World War II, leading to a gradual alignment with Labour and the political left in general.
The Scott Trust describes one of its "core purposes" to be "to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity: as a quality national newspaper without party affiliation; remaining faithful to its liberal tradition". The paper's readership is generally on the mainstream left of British political opinion: a MORI poll taken between April and June 2000 showed that 80 per cent of Guardian readers were Labour Party voters; according to another MORI poll taken in 2005, 48 per cent of Guardian readers were Labour voters and 34 per cent Liberal Democrat voters. The term "Guardian reader" can be used to imply a stereotype of liberal, left-wing or "politically correct" views.
Although the paper is often considered to be "linked inextricably" to the Labour Party, three of The Guardian's four leader writers joined the more centrist Social Democratic Party on its foundation in 1981. The paper was enthusiastic in its support for Tony Blair in his successful bid to lead the Labour Party, and to be elected Prime Minister. On 19 January 2003, two months before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, an Observer Editorial said: "Military intervention in the Middle East holds many dangers. But if we want a lasting peace it may be the only option. ... War with Iraq may yet not come, but, conscious of the potentially terrifying responsibility resting with the British Government, we find ourselves supporting the current commitment to a possible use of force."The Guardian, however, opposed the war, along with the Daily Mirror and The Independent.
Then Guardian features editor Ian Katz asserted in 2004 that "it is no secret we are a centre-left newspaper". In 2008, Guardian columnist Jackie Ashley said that editorial contributors were a mix of "right-of-centre libertarians, greens, Blairites, Brownites, Labourite but less enthusiastic Brownites, etc," and that the newspaper was "clearly left of centre and vaguely progressive". She also said that "you can be absolutely certain that come the next general election, The Guardian's stance will not be dictated by the editor, still less any foreign proprietor (it helps that there isn't one) but will be the result of vigorous debate within the paper". The paper's comment and opinion pages, though often written by centre-left contributors such as Polly Toynbee, have allowed some space for right-of-centre voices such as Sir Max Hastings and Michael Gove. Since an editorial in 2000, The Guardian has favoured abolition of the British monarchy. "I write for the Guardian," said Max Hastings in 2005, "because it is read by the new establishment," reflecting the paper's then-growing influence.
In the run-up to the 2010 general election, following a meeting of the editorial staff, the paper declared its support for the Liberal Democrats, due in particular, to the party's stance on electoral reform. The paper suggested tactical voting to prevent a Conservative victory, given Britain's first-past-the-post electoral system. At the 2015 election, the paper switched its support to the Labour Party. The paper argued that Britain needed a new direction and Labour "speaks with more urgency than its rivals on social justice, standing up to predatory capitalism, on investment for growth, on reforming and strengthening the public realm, Britain's place in Europe and international development".
Assistant Editor Michael White, in discussing media self-censorship in March 2011, says: "I have always sensed liberal, middle class ill-ease in going after stories about immigration, legal or otherwise, about welfare fraud or the less attractive tribal habits of the working class, which is more easily ignored altogether. Toffs, including royal ones, Christians, especially popes, governments of Israel, and U.S. Republicans are more straightforward targets."
In a 2013 interview for NPR, The Guardian's Latin America correspondent Rory Carroll stated that many editors at The Guardian believed and continue to believe that they should support Hugo Chávez "because he was a standard-bearer for the left".
In the 2015 Labour Party leadership election, The Guardian supported Blairite candidate Yvette Cooper and was critical of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, the successful candidate. These positions were criticised by the Morning Star, which accused The Guardian of being conservative. Although the majority of Guardian columnists were against Corbyn winning, Owen Jones, Seumas Milne, and George Monbiot wrote supportive articles about him. Despite the critical position of the paper in general, The Guardian endorsed the Labour Party whilst Corbyn was its leader in the 2017 and 2019 general elections — although in both cases they endorsed a vote for opposition parties other than Labour, such as the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party in seats where Labour did not stand a chance.
The Guardian had a certified average daily circulation of 204,222 copies in December 2012 — a drop of 11.25 per cent in January 2012 — as compared to sales of 547,465 for The Daily Telegraph, 396,041 for The Times, and 78,082 for The Independent. In March 2013, its average daily circulation had fallen to 193,586, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Circulation has continued to decline and stood at 161,091 in December 2016, a decline of 2.98 per cent year-on-year. In July 2021, the circulation was 105,134; later that year, the publishers stopped making circulation data public.
The Guardian's Newsroom visitor centre and archive (No 60), with an old sign with the name The Manchester Guardian
The first edition was published on 5 May 1821, at which time The Guardian was a weekly, published on Saturdays and costing 7d; the stamp duty on newspapers (4d per sheet) forced the price up so high that it was uneconomic to publish more frequently. When the stamp duty was cut in 1836, The Guardian added a Wednesday edition and with the abolition of the tax in 1855 it became a daily paper costing 2d.
In October 1952, the paper took the step of printing news on the front page, replacing the adverts that had hitherto filled that space. Then-editor A. P. Wadsworth wrote: "It is not a thing I like myself, but it seems to be accepted by all the newspaper pundits that it is preferable to be in fashion."
Following the closure of the Anglican Church Newspaper, The Guardian, in 1951, the paper dropped "Manchester" from its title in 1959, becoming simply The Guardian. In 1964 it moved to London, losing some of its regional agenda but continuing to be heavily subsidised by sales of the more downmarket but more profitable Manchester Evening News. The financial position remained extremely poor into the 1970s; at one time it was in merger talks with The Times. The paper consolidated its centre-left stance during the 1970s and 1980s.
On 12 February 1988, The Guardian had a significant redesign; as well as improving the quality of its printers' ink, it also changed its masthead to a juxtaposition of an italicGaramond "The", with a bold Helvetica "Guardian", that remained in use until the 2005 redesign.
In 1992, The Guardian relaunched its features section as G2, a tabloid-format supplement. This innovation was widely copied by the other "quality" broadsheets and ultimately led to the rise of "compact" papers and The Guardian's move to the Berliner format. In 1993 the paper declined to participate in the broadsheet price war started by Rupert Murdoch's The Times. In June 1993, The Guardian bought The Observer from Lonrho, thus gaining a serious Sunday sister newspaper with similar political views.
Its international weekly edition is now titled The Guardian Weekly, though it retained the title Manchester Guardian Weekly for some years after the home edition had moved to London. It includes sections from a number of other internationally significant newspapers of a somewhat left-of-centre inclination, including Le Monde and The Washington Post. The Guardian Weekly was also linked to a website for expatriates, Guardian Abroad, which was launched in 2007 but had been taken offline by 2012.
Moving to the Berliner paper format
Front page of 6 June 2014 edition in the Berliner format.
The Guardian is printed in full colour, and was the first newspaper in the UK to use the Berliner format for its main section, while producing sections and supplements in a range of page sizes including tabloid, approximately A4, and pocket-size (approximately A5).
In 2004, The Guardian announced plans to change to a Berliner or "midi" format, similar to that used by Die Tageszeitung in Germany, Le Monde in France and many other European papers. At 470×315 mm, this is slightly larger than a traditional tabloid. Planned for the autumn of 2005, this change followed moves by The Independent and The Times to start publishing in tabloid (or compact) format. On Thursday, 1 September 2005, The Guardian announced that it would launch the new format on Monday 12 September 2005. Sister Sunday newspaper The Observer also changed to this new format on 8 January 2006.
The format switch was accompanied by a comprehensive redesign of the paper's look. On Friday, 9 September 2005, the newspaper unveiled its newly designed front page, which débuted on Monday 12 September 2005. Designed by Mark Porter, the new look includes a new masthead for the newspaper, its first since 1988. A typeface family designed by Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz was created for the new design. With just over 200 fonts, it was described as "one of the most ambitious custom type programs ever commissioned by a newspaper". Among the fonts is Guardian Egyptian, a slab serif that is used in various weights for both text and headlines, and is central to the redesign.
The switch cost Guardian Newspapers £80 million and involved setting up new printing presses in east London and Manchester. This switch was necessary because, before The Guardian's move, no printing presses in Britain could produce newspapers in the Berliner format. There were additional complications, as one of the paper's presses was part-owned by Telegraph Newspapers and Express Newspapers, contracted to use the plant until 2009. Another press was shared with the Guardian Media Group's north-western tabloid local papers, which did not wish to switch to the Berliner format.
The new format was generally well received by Guardian readers, who were encouraged to provide feedback on the changes. The only controversy was over the dropping of the Doonesbury cartoon strip. The paper reported thousands of calls and emails complaining about its loss; within 24 hours the decision was reversed and the strip was reinstated the following week. G2 supplement editor Ian Katz, who was responsible for dropping it, apologised in the editors' blog saying, "I'm sorry, once again, that I made you—and the hundreds of fellow fans who have called our helpline or mailed our comments' address—so cross." However, some readers were dissatisfied as the earlier deadline needed for the all-colour sports section meant coverage of late-finishing evening football matches became less satisfactory in the editions supplied to some parts of the country.
The investment was rewarded with a circulation rise. In December 2005, the average daily sale stood at 380,693, nearly 6 per cent higher than the figure for December 2004. (However, as of December 2012, circulation had dropped to 204,222.) In 2006, the US-based Society for News Design chose The Guardian and Polish daily Rzeczpospolita as the world's best-designed newspapers—from among 389 entries from 44 countries.
The format change is intended to help cut costs as it allows the paper to be printed by a wider array of presses, and outsourcing the printing to presses owned by Trinity Mirror is expected to save millions of pounds annually. The move is part of a three-year plan that includes cutting 300 jobs in an attempt to reduce losses and break even by 2019. The paper and ink are the same as previously and the font size is fractionally larger.
An assessment of the response from readers in late April 2018 indicated that the new format had led to an increased number of subscriptions. The editors were working on changing aspects that had caused complaints from readers.
In July 2018, the masthead of the new tabloid format was adjusted to a dark blue.
The Guardian and its Sunday sibling The Observer publish all their news online, with free access both to current news and an archive of three million stories. A third of the site's hits are for items over a month old. As of May 2013, it was the most popular UK newspaper website with 8.2 million unique visitors per month, just ahead of Mail Online with 7.6 million unique monthly visitors. In April 2011, MediaWeek reported that The Guardian was the fifth most popular newspaper site in the world. Journalists use an analytics tool called Ophan, built entirely in-house, to measure website data around stories and audience.
The Guardian launched an iOSmobile application for its content in 2009. An Android app followed in 2011. In 2018, the newspaper announced its apps and mobile website would be redesigned to coincide with its relaunch as a tabloid.
The Comment is Free section features columns by the paper's journalists and regular commentators, as well as articles from guest writers, including readers' comments and responses below. The section includes all the opinion pieces published in the paper itself, as well as many others that only appear online. Censorship is exercised by Moderators who can ban posts – with no right of appeal – by those who they feel have overstepped the mark. The Guardian has taken what they call a very "open" stance in delivering news, and have launched an open platform for their content. This allows external developers to easily use Guardian content in external applications, and even to feed third-party content back into the Guardian network.The Guardian also had a number of talkboards that were noted for their mix of political discussion and whimsy until they were closed on Friday, 25 February 2011 after they had settled a libel action brought after months of harassment of a conservative party activist. They were spoofed in The Guardian's own regular humorous Chatroom column in G2. The spoof column purported to be excerpts from a chatroom on permachat.co.uk, a real URL that pointed to The Guardian's talkboards.
In August 2013, a webshow titled Thinkfluencer was launched by Guardian Multimedia in association with Arte.
In 2004 the paper also launched a dating website, Guardian Soulmates. On 1 July 2020, Guardian Soulmates was closed down with the explanation: "It hasn’t been an easy decision to make, but the online dating world is a very different place to when we first launched online in July 2004. There are so many dating apps now, so many ways to meet people, which are often free and very quick."
The paper entered podcasting in 2005 with a twelve-part weekly podcast series by Ricky Gervais. In January 2006, Gervais' show topped the iTunes podcast chart having been downloaded by two million listeners worldwide, and was scheduled to be listed in the 2007 Guinness Book of Records as the most downloaded podcast.
The Guardian now offers several regular podcasts made by its journalists. One of the most prominent is Today in Focus, a daily news podcast hosted by Anushka Asthana and launched on 1 November 2018. It was an immediate success and became one of the UK's most-downloaded podcasts.
In 2003, The Guardian started the film production company GuardianFilms, headed by journalist Maggie O'Kane. Much of the company's output is documentary made for television– and it has included Salam Pax's Baghdad Blogger for BBC Two's daily flagship Newsnight, some of which have been shown in compilations by CNN International, Sex on the Streets and Spiked, both made for the UK's Channel 4 television.
GuardianFilms has received several broadcasting awards. In addition to two Amnesty International Media Awards in 2004 and 2005, The Baghdad Blogger: Salam Pax won a Royal Television Society Award in 2005. Baghdad: A Doctor's Story won an Emmy Award for Best International Current Affairs film in 2007. In 2008, photojournalist Sean Smith'sInside the Surge won the Royal Television Society award for best international news film – the first time a newspaper has won such an award. The same year, The Guardian'sKatine website was awarded for its outstanding new media output at the One World Media awards. Again in 2008, GuardianFilms' undercover video report revealing vote rigging by Robert Mugabe's ZANU–PF party during the 2007 Zimbabwe election won best news programme of the year at the Broadcast Awards.
References in popular culture
The paper's nickname The Grauniad (sometimes abbreviated as "Graun") originated with the satirical magazine Private Eye. This anagram played on The Guardian's early reputation for frequent typographical errors, including misspelling its own name as The Gaurdian.
The first issue of the newspaper contained a number of errors, including a notification that there would soon be some goods sold at atction instead of auction. Fewer typographical errors are seen in the paper since the end of hot-metal typesetting. One Guardian writer, Keith Devlin, suggested that the high number of observed misprints was due more to the quality of the readership than the misprints' greater frequency. The fact that the newspaper was printed in Manchester until 1961 and the early, more error-prone, prints were sent to London by train may have contributed to this image as well. When John Cole was appointed news editor by Alastair Hetherington in 1963, he sharpened the paper's comparatively "amateurish" setup.
The Guardian has been awarded the National Newspaper of the Year in 1998, 2005, 2010 and 2013 by the British Press Awards, and Front Page of the Year in 2002 ("A declaration of war", 12 September 2001). It was also co-winner of the World's Best-designed Newspaper as awarded by the Society for News Design (2005, 2007, 2013, 2014).
Guardian journalists have won a range of British Press Awards, including:
Sports Website of the Year (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Sports Journalists' Association Sports Portfolio of the Year (Tom Jenkins, 2011)
The guardian.co.uk website won the Best Newspaper category three years running in 2005, 2006 and 2007 Webby Awards, beating (in 2005) The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Variety. It has been the winner for six years in a row of the British Press Awards for Best Electronic Daily Newspaper. The site won an Eppy award from the US-based magazine Editor & Publisher in 2000 for the best-designed newspaper online service.
In 2007, the newspaper was ranked first in a study on transparency that analysed 25 mainstream English-language media vehicles, which was conducted by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda of the University of Maryland. It scored 3.8 out of a possible 4.0.
The Guardian and The Washington Post shared the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service reporting for their coverage of the NSA's and GCHQ's worldwide electronic surveillance program and the document leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In 2016, The Guardian began awarding an annual Footballer of the Year award, given to a footballer regardless of gender "who has done something truly remarkable, whether by overcoming adversity, helping others or setting a sporting example by acting with exceptional honesty."
The Guardian and its sister newspaper The Observer opened The Newsroom, an archive and visitor centre in London, in 2002. The centre preserved and promoted the histories and values of the newspapers through its archive, educational programmes and exhibitions. The Newsroom's activities were all transferred to Kings Place in 2008. Now known as The Guardian News & Media archive, the archive preserves and promotes the histories and values of The Guardian and The Observer newspapers by collecting and making accessible material that provides an accurate and comprehensive history of the papers. The archive holds official records of The Guardian and The Observer, and also seeks to acquire material from individuals who have been associated with the papers. As well as corporate records, the archive holds correspondence, diaries, notebooks, original cartoons and photographs belonging to staff of the papers. This material may be consulted by members of the public by prior appointment. An extensive Manchester Guardian archive also exists at the University of Manchester's John Rylands University Library, and there is a collaboration programme between the two archives. Additionally, the British Library has a large archive of The Manchester Guardian available in its British Library Newspapers collection, in online, hard copy, microform, and CD-ROM formats.
In November 2007, The Guardian and The Observer made their archives available over the internet via DigitalArchive. The current extent of the archives available are 1821 to 2000 for The Guardian and 1791 to 2000 for The Observer: these archives will eventually run up to 2003.
The Newsroom's other components were also transferred to Kings Place in 2008. The Guardian's Education Centre provides a range of educational programmes for students and adults. The Guardian's exhibition space was also moved to Kings Place, and has a rolling programme of exhibitions that investigate and reflect upon aspects of news and newspapers and the role of journalism. This programme often draws on the archive collections held in the GNM Archive.
Villeneuve, Jean-Patrick (9 August 2015). "Who's [sic] fault is it? An analysis of the press coverage of football betting scandals in France and the United Kingdom". Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics. 19 (2): 191. doi:10.1080/17430437.2015.1067772. S2CID146330318.
Russell, Adrienne (2017). Journalism and the Nsa Revelations: Privacy, Security and the Press. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 53.
^Rusbridger Alan (10 July 2006). "Courage under fire". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 August 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2014.. Three years from 1956 and the Manchester Guardian soon became The Guardian, introduced by Scott C.C.P