Jim Hacker from the classic British Comedy “Yes, Minister” said it best when talking about the differences between the popular British newspapers:
Update April 14th, 2009 – The BBC has removed the above video and reposted it here. It’s worth a watch! Very funny!
So, humor aside, if you’re an Anglophile, you need to pick a favorite paper. I used to love them all, but as I’ve become more familiar with England, I’ve hardened in my choices and prefer a certain few.
What are our choices?
The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a broadsheet newspaper that was founded in 1855. It’s one of the few broadsheet newspapers left. It has a sister paper, The Sunday Telegraph that was founded in 1961. According to recent reports, the Telegraph is the highest selling British quality paper.
The Daily Telegraph takes a politically conservative slant and is popular with that audience. Oddly enough the links between the paper’s editors and the leadership of the Conservative Party lead the paper to sometimes be called the Torygraph.
The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday
The Daily Mail is a tabloid style British newspaper. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper, The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982. The Daily Mail was Britain’s first daily newspaper aimed at the ‘middle-market’ and is known to sell a million copies a day.
According to the Wikipedia:
The Daily Mail considers itself to be the voice of Middle England speaking up for conservative values against what it sees as a liberal establishment. It generally takes an anti-EU, anti-mass immigration, anti-abortion view, based around what it describes as “traditional values”, and is correspondingly pro-family, pro-capitalism (though not always supportive of its aftereffects), and pro-monarchy, as well as, in some cases, advocating stricter punishments for crime. It also often calls for lower levels of taxation. The paper is generally critical of the BBC, which it argues is biased to the left.
The Daily Mail is a bit of a joke in many realms, because it takes itself rather seriously while reporting on sensationalist, sometimes absurd stories. They wear their conservative values on their sleeves and have to qualms about it. It’s fun to read though and is usually good for a laugh.
The Daily Mirror
The Daily Mirror is a British tabloid newspaper founded in 1903. It’s commonly referred to as The Mirror. It is the only UK national daily to have consistently supported the Labour Party at each General Election since 1945.
It’s not really a ‘serious’ newspaper, it reports on many of the same stories as the other tabloids, but it is just that a tabloid newspaper.
The Times and The Sunday Times
The Times is a daily national newspaper published that has been published in the United Kingdom since 1785 when it was then known as The Daily Universal Register.
The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary of News International – which is owned by Rubert Murdoch. It’s traditionally a centre-right newspaper and a supporter of the Conservatives but it broke with that and supported the Labour party in the 2001 and 2005 general elections.
The Times is the original “Times” newspaper, lending its name to many other papers around the world, such as The New York Times, The Times of India, and The Irish Times.
The Times is considered the UK’s ‘newspaper of record,’ The Times is generally seen as a serious publication with high standards of journalism which puts it a few rungs above rag sheets like the Sun or Daily Mail.
The Sun is a tabloid daily newspaper and is one of the highest circulating newspapers in the world. Mostly because there are naked boobs on Page Three every day. It’s as tabloid as you get with the Sun. They’ll report garbage and sensationalize stories likes it’s second nature. Did I mention they have naked boobs every day?
It’s always good for a laugh. There is also a Sunday version called “The News of the World.”
The Independent is a British compact newspaper It’s nicknamed the Indy, with the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, being the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily newspapers. The Independent is politically left-leaning.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of the Independent. It’s one of the few UK Broadsheets still available in the US (at international newsstands), but I never got a liking for it, despite trying.
The Guardian (until 1959, The Manchester Guardian) is published Monday to Saturday in the Berliner format from its London and Manchester headquarters.
There are many stereotypes, but perhaps the most prominent from the Wikipedia article:
is that of the Labour-voting middle-class Guardian reader with centre-left/left-wing politics rooted in the 1960s, working in the public sector or academia, sometimes eating lentils and muesli, living in north London (especially Camden and Islington), wearing sandals, sometimes believing in alternative medicine and natural medicine though more often atheistic or non-religious and rational.
It has been claimed that the majority of university students in the UK who read a newspaper read The Guardian.
The Evening Standard
The Evening Standard is a tabloid-style regional local newspaper published and sold in London and the surrounding areas of southeast England. It is the dominant London local daily paper, with a strong financial emphasis as well as carrying national and international news. It’s been published since 1827.
This is THE paper to read when you are in London. Has excellent local news coverage, TV listings and movie/theater times.
What’s my Favorite British Newspaper?
My personal choice out of all these is the Times, especially the Sunday Times (which, they are technically separate papers entirely). When I’m in London, I love the Evening Standard and buy it every day.
For some reason the Sunday Times is no longer available in most newsstands in my area, so I try to read the electronic version online, every Sunday. I can usually find the Mail on Sunday at my local Borders and pick it up, even if it’s for laughs.
There are many more British newspapers. If I missed your favorite, feel free to post about it in the comments.