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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: The Guardian

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The Guardian

Typical Guardian front page
Type Daily newspaper
Format Berliner

Owner Guardian Med Group
Editor Alan Rusbridger
Founded 1821
Political allegiance Left wing
Language English
Price £0.80 (Monday-Friday)
£1.50 (Saturday)
Headquarters 119 Farringdon Road, London
Circulation 355,750 (August 2007)


The Guardian (until 1959 The Manchester Guardian) is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. It is published Monday to Saturday in the Berliner format from its London and Manchester headquarters.

The Guardian Weekly, which circulates worldwide, provides a compact digest of four newspapers. It contains articles from The Guardian and its Sunday paper, sister paper The Observer, as well as reports, features and book reviews from The Washington Post and articles translated from France’s Le Monde.

The Guardian Media Group also runs a multi-award winning website,



Editorial articles in The Guardian are generally in sympathy with the middle-ground liberal to left-wing end of the political spectrum. This is reflected in the paper’s readership: a MORI Poll taken between April and June 2000 showed that 80% of Guardian readers were Labour Party voters (cited in International Socialism Spring 2003, ISBN 1-898876-97-5); according to another MORI poll taken in 2004, 44% of Guardian readers vote Labour and 37% vote Liberal Democrat.[1]

The Guardian is considered left-wing. “[2][3]

Founded by textile traders and merchants, the Guardian had a reputation as ‘an organ of the middle class’ [4], or in the words of C.P. Scott’s son Ted ‘a paper that will remain bourgeois to the last’ [5]. “I write for the Guardian,” said Sir Max Hastings in 2005,[6] “because it is read by the new establishment”, reflecting the paper’s growing influence.

Three of the Guardian’s four leader writers joined the Social Democratic Party on its foundation in 1981, but the paper was enthusiastic in its support for Tony Blair in his bid to lead the Labour Party, [7] and to become Prime Minister [8].


Today, The Guardian is one of two British national daily newspapers, the other being the Daily Mail, to be printed in full colour, although the Northern Ireland edition still has some black-and-white pages [9]. It was also the first newspaper in the UK to use the Berliner format. The Guardian had a certified average daily circulation of 355,750 copies as of August 2007 – a drop of 5.94% on the first month of the year; as compared to sales of 887,664 for the Daily Telegraph, 638,820 for The Times, and 239,834 for The Independent.[10]


It has been awarded the National Newspaper of the Year in 1999 and 2006 by the British Press Awards, as well as being co-winner of the World’s Best-designed Newspaper as awarded by the Society for News Design (2006). The 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.[11] It has been the winner for six years in a row of the British Press Awards for Best Electronic Daily Newspaper.[12] The site won an Eppy award from the US-based magazine Editor & Publisher in 2000 for the best-designed newspaper online service.[13] The website is known for its commentary on sporting events, particularly its over-by-over cricket commentary.

In 2007 it was ranked first in a study on transparency which analysed 25 mainstream English-language media vehicles, and which was conducted by the prestigious International Center for Media and the Public Agenda of the University of Maryland. It got a nearly perfect score.


The Guardian is part of the GMG Guardian Media Group of newspapers, radio stations, and print media including The Observer Sunday newspaper, the Manchester Evening News, The Guardian Weekly International newspaper, and new media – Guardian Abroad website, and, one of the most popular online news resources on the Internet.[citation needed] All the aforementioned are owned by The Scott Trust, a charitable foundation which aims to ensure the newspaper’s editorial independence in perpetuity, maintaining its financial health to ensure it does not become vulnerable to take over by for-profit media groups, and the serious compromise of editorial independence that this often brings.

The Guardian has been consistently loss-making. The National Newspaper division of GMG, which also includes The Observer, reported operating losses of £49.9m in 2006, up from £18.6m in 2005.[14] The paper is therefore heavily dependent on cross-subsidisation from profitable companies within the group, including Auto Trader and the Manchester Evening News.

The Guardian’s ownership by the Scott Trust is likely a factor in its being 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.[15] It is also the only British daily national 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,[16] established by George Soros, and intervened in 1995 to save the Mail & Guardian in South Africa, but Guardian Media Group sold the majority of its shares in the Mail & Guardian in 2002.


Political alignment and controversies

The Guardian's Newsroom visitor centre and archive (No 60), with an old sign with the name The Manchester Guardian

The Guardian’s Newsroom visitor centre and archive (No 60), with an old sign with the name The Manchester Guardian

The Manchester Guardian was founded in Manchester in 1821 by a group of non-conformist businessmen headed by John Edward Taylor. The prospectus announcing the new publication proclaimed that “it will zealously enforce the principles of civil and religious Liberty … it will warmly advocate the cause of Reform; it will endeavour to assist in the diffusion of just principles of Political Economy; and to support, without reference to the party from which they emanate, all serviceable measures.” According to a December, 2004 survey, 44% of Guardian readers voted in favour of Labour, 37% for the Liberal Democrats and only 5% for the Conservatives, the lowest percentage of any large British newspaper.[17]

The Manchester Guardian was hostile to the Unionist cause in the American civil war, writing on the news that Lincoln had been assassinated ‘of his rule, we can never speak except as a series of acts abhorrent to every true notion of constitutional right and human liberty’ [18].

Its most famous editor, C P Scott, made the Manchester Guardian into a nationally famous newspaper. 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 Gladstone when the Liberals split in 1886, and opposing the Second Boer War against popular opinion.[citation needed]

But Scott opposed the Suffragette movement for its 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’ [19].

Scott’s friendship with Chaim Weizmann played a role in the Balfour Declaration, and in 1948 the Guardian was a supporter of the State of Israel. Daphna Baram tells the story of the Guardian’s relationship with the Zionist movement and Israel in the book “Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel“.[20]

In June 1936 ownership of the paper passed to the Scott Trust (named after the last owner, John Russell Scott, who was the first chairman of the Trust). This move ensured the paper’s independence.

Traditionally affiliated with the centrist Liberal Party, and with a northern, non-conformist circulation base, the paper earned a national reputation and the respect of the left during the Spanish Civil War. With the pro-Liberal News Chronicle, the Labour-supporting Daily Herald, the Communist Party’s Daily Worker and several Sunday and weekly papers, it supported the ‘Republican’ government against General Francisco Franco’s insurgent ‘nationalists’. The paper so loathed Labour’s left wing champion Aneurin Bevan ‘and the hate-gospellers of his entourage’ that it called for Attlee’s post-war Labour government to be voted out of office [21]. Its anti-establishment stance fell short of opposing military intervention during the 1956 Suez Crisis: ‘The government is right to be prepared for military action at Suez’, because Egyptian control of the canal would be ‘commercially damaging for the West and perhaps part of a plan for creating a new Arab Empire based on the Nile’ [22].

After 1959

When 14 Civil Rights demonstrators were killed on Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972, in Northern Ireland, the Guardian blamed the protesters: ‘The organisers 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.’ (Guardian, 1 February 1972[23] ). Lord Widgery’s enquiry into the killings was widely believed to have been a whitewash[citation needed] – the Guardian, however, declared that ‘Lord Widgery’s report is not one-sided’ (20 April 1972[24]). The Guardian 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.’ (Guardian leader, 10 Aug. 1971) And before then, the Guardian had called for British troops to be sent to the province: British soldiers could ‘present a more disinterested face of law and order’ (leader, 15 Aug. 1969), but only on condition that ‘Britain takes charge’ ( leader, 4 Aug. 1969).

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 Guardian eventually complied with a court order to hand over the documents to the authorities, which resulted in a prison sentence for Tisdall.

The Guardian supported military action against Iraq in 1991: ‘The simple cause, at the end, is just. An evil regime in Iraq instituted an evil and brutal invasion. Our soldiers and airmen are there, at UN behest, to set that evil right. Their duties are clear … let the momentum and the resolution be swift.’ (leader 17 January 1991). After the event, journalist Maggie O’Kane conceded that she and other journalists had been a mouthpiece for war propaganda: ‘we, the media, were harnessed like beach donkeys and led through the sand to see what the British and US military wanted us to see in this nice clean war.’ (Guardian 16 December 1995)

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 the Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Fahd 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 he would fight with “the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play”.[25] 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.[26] In 1999, Aitken was jailed for perjury and perverting the course of justice.[27]

Since 2000

In the early 2000s the newspaper challenged the Act of Settlement 1701 and the Treason Felony Act 1848.[28][29]

The Guardian supported NATO’s military intervention in the Kosovo War in 1999. Though the United Nations Security Council did not support the attack, the Guardian insisted that ‘The only honourable course for Europe and America is to use military force’ (Leader, 23 March 1999). More bluntly, Mary Kaldor headlined her piece ‘Bombs away!’ (25 March 1999).

Hugo Young warned ‘armchair critics of Nato’s strategy in Kosovo’ what was at stake: ‘the defeat of Nato by Yugoslavia is a prospect that cannot be contemplated’ (Guardian, 27 April 1999). The moral certainty about Nato was mirrored by a similarly low opinion of the country they were fighting over: ‘a god-forsaken, dirt-poor, hate-ridden blot on the map of Europe’, according to Polly Toynbee (Guardian,18 April 1999).

During the Afghanistan and Iraq wars The Guardian attracted a significant proportion of anti-war readers as one of the mass-media outlets most critical of UK and USA military initiatives. The Guardian did, however, endorse the argument that Iraq had to be disarmed of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’: ‘It is not credible to argue, as Iraq did in its initial reaction to Mr Powell [at the Security Council], that it is simply all lies. …Iraq must disarm.’ (Guardian Leader, Thursday February 6, 2003) And the paper congratulated UK Prime Minister on his victory: ‘For a leader who went to war in the absence of a single political ally who believed in the war as unreservedly as he did, Iraq now looks like a vindication on an astounding scale.’ (Hugo Young, 13 April 2003)

Despite its early support for the Zionist movement, in recent decades The Guardian has often been perceived as critical of Israeli government policy. In December 2003 journalist Julie Burchill left the paper for The Times, citing this as one of the reasons for her move.[30] She later accused The Guardian of being anti-semitic.[31] In a recent controversy, the paper has been accused by Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz of bias and an unwillingness to correct what he deemed a mis-statement of fact.[32] This allegation was denied by the Guardian’s foreign editor, Harriet Sherwood, who says the paper aims to cover all viewpoints in the Israel-Palestine conflict.[33] On 6 June 2007 the paper commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War by giving equal space to the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers to explain their views on the conflict and its legacy. [34][35]

In August 2004, for the US presidential election, the daily G2 supplement launched an experimental letter-writing campaign in Clark County, Ohio, a small county in a swing state. G2 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 making the correct decision. There was something of a backlash to this campaign. The paper scrapped Operation Clark County on 21 October 2004 after first publishing a column of vituperation under the headline ‘Dear Limey assholes’.[3]

In October 2004 The Guardian published a humour column by Charlie Brooker in its entertainment guide, which appeared to call for the assassination of US President George W. Bush.[36] This caused some controversy and the paper was forced to issue an apology and remove the article from its website.[37]

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 journalism trainee from Yorkshire.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40]

On January 8th of 2007, an article in The Guardian read: “Romania’s first gift to the European Union, a caucus of neo-fascists and Holocaust deniers”, alluding to the fact that Romania and Bulgaria’s joining of the European Union would allow for the formation of a far-right faction in the European Parliament. As Robin Shepherd, an expert on global integration and GMF political analyst, pointed out, many frowned upon the tone with which the English press wrote about Europe’s newcomers. He asked: “…what is a high-level, pro-European Union newspaper playing at in headlining a report on the rise of hard-line nationalism with language that could itself be construed as pandering to xenophobia?”[41]

The paper’s comment and opinion pages, though dominated by centre-left writers and academics like Polly Toynbee, allow some space for right-of-centre voices such as Simon Jenkins.

Format and distribution

The first edition was published on May 5, 1821,[42] 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; with the abolition of the tax in 1855 it became a daily paper costing 2d.

In 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.”

The Guardian's offices in London

The Guardian’s offices in London

In 1959 the paper dropped “Manchester” from its title, becoming simply The Guardian, and in 1964 it moved to London, losing some of its regional agenda but continuing to be heavily subsidised by sales of the less intellectual but much 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 but was both shocked and revitalised by the launch of The Independent in 1986 which competed for a similar readership and provoked the entire broadsheet industry into a fight for circulation.

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 the now familiar juxtaposition of an italic Garamond “The“, with a bold Helvetica “Guardian”, which remained in use until the 2005 redesign.

In 1992 it 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 newspaper partner 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. The Guardian Weekly is also linked to a website for expatriates Guardian Abroad.

g24 is a constantly-updated electronic newspaper available free of charge. [4] It is downloadable as a PDF file. The contents come from The Guardian and its Sunday sibling The Observer.

Moving to the Berliner paper format

In 2004, The Guardian announced plans to change to a “Berliner” or “midi” format similar to that used by the Die Tageszeitung and 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 was either a response to, or has the same cause as, the 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.[43] Sister Sunday newspaper The Observer went over to the same format on 8 January 2006.

The advantage that The Guardian saw in the Berliner format was that though it is only a little wider than a tabloid, and is thus equally easy to read on public transport, its greater height gives more flexibility in page design. The new presses mean that printing can go right across the ‘gutter’, the strip down the middle of the centre page, allowing the paper to print striking double page pictures. The new presses also made the paper the first UK national able to print in full colour on every page.

The format switch was accompanied by a comprehensive redesign of the paper’s look. On Friday 9 September 2005 the newspaper unveiled its new look 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 called Guardian Egyptian, designed by Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz, was created for the new design. No other typeface is used anywhere in the paper – all stylistic variations are based on various forms of Guardian Egyptian.

The switch cost Guardian Newspapers £80 million and involved setting up new printing presses in east London and Manchester. This was because, prior to the Guardian’s move, no printing presses in the UK could produce newspapers in the Berliner format. There were additional complications as one of the Guardian’s presses was part-owned by Telegraph Newspapers and Express Newspapers, and it was 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 Guardian reported thousands of calls and emails complaining about its loss and within 24 hours, the decision was reversed and the strip was reinstated the following week. G2 section 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”.[44] Some readers are however dissatisfied as the earlier deadline needed for the all-colour sports section has meant that coverage of late-finishing evening football matches is less satisfactory than before the redesign 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% higher than the figure for December 2004.[45] 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.[46]

Supplements and features

Current columnists

  • Jackie Ashley
  • Nancy Banks-Smith
  • Laura Barton
  • Marcel Berlins
  • Charlie Brooker
  • Guy Browning
  • Madeleine Bunting
  • Siobhain Butterworth
  • Simon Callow
  • Alexander Chancellor
  • Kira Cochrane
  • Gavyn Davies
  • Larry Elliott
  • Jonathan Freedland
  • Hadley Freeman
  • Stephen Fry
  • Timothy Garton Ash
  • Ben Goldacre
  • Michele Hanson
  • Roy Hattersley
  • Jon Henley
  • Simon Hoggart
  • Marina Hyde
  • Simon Jenkins
  • Victor Keegan
  • Martin Kelner
  • Martin Kettle
  • Mark Lawson
  • Maureen Lipman
  • Lucy Mangan
  • David McKie
  • George Monbiot
  • Peter Preston
  • Naresh Ramchandani
  • Jon Ronson
  • John Sutherland
  • Simon Tisdall
  • Polly Toynbee
  • Xinran Xue
  • Gary Younge
The Saturday edition of The Guardian includes some sections of varying sizes.

The Saturday edition of The Guardian includes some sections of varying sizes.

The Guardian from the 21 January 2007 including the G2 supplement

The Guardian from the 21 January 2007 including the G2 supplement

On each weekday The Guardian comes with the G2 supplement containing feature articles, columns, television and radio listings, and the quick crossword. Since the change to the Berliner format, there is a separate daily Sport section. Other regular supplements during the week include:

MediaGuardian, Office Hours
SocietyGuardian (covers the British public sector and related issues)
Film & Music
The Guide (a weekly listings magazine), Weekend (the colour supplement), Review (covers literature), Money, Work, Graduate, Travel and Family.

Though the main news section was in the large broadsheet format, the supplements were all in the half-sized tabloid format, with the exception of the glossy Weekend section which was a 290×245 mm magazine and The Guide which was in a small 225×145 mm format.

With the change of the main section to the Berliner format, the specialist sections are now printed as Berliner, as is a now-daily Sports section, but G2 has moved to a “magazine-sized” demi-Berliner format. A Thursday Technology section and daily science coverage in the news section replaced Life and Online. Weekend and The Guide are still in the same small formats as before the change.

On Monday to Thursday, the supplements carry substantial quantities of recruitment advertising as well as editorial on their specialised topics.

Regular columns

  • Country Diary (natural history)
  • Notes & Queries
  • Whatever happened to … (following up a “forgotten news story” based on reader suggestions)
  • The Digested Read, in which John Crace writes a 500-word satirical synopsis of a recently published book.
  • Ask Hadley – fashion advice from Hadley Freeman
  • Two wheels, a column about cycling written by Matt Seaton

Regular cartoon strips

  • If…
  • Doonesbury
  • Perry Bible Fellowship
  • A Softer World
  • Loomus, by Steven Appleby (Saturday, in the Family section)
  • Media Tarts (Monday, in the Media section)
  • Clare in the Community (Wednesday, in the Society section)
  • Home-Clubber (Saturday, in the Guide section)
  • The Pitchers, by Berger & Wyse (Friday, in the Film and Music section). Berger & Wyse also produce a weekly cartoon for the food pages of Weekend magazine.

Editorial cartoonists Martin Rowson and Steve Bell get frequent hate mail for their treatment of controversial topics. [47].

Online media

Main article:

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.[48] The website also offers a free printable A4 format PDF 24-hour newspaper, G24[49] – made up of the top stories – and, for a monthly subscription, the complete newspaper in PDF format. It is the most widely read UK newspaper site[50] with more than 17.5 million users a month, compared with the second-placed’s 12.8 million users a month. This has been put down to its free, unrestricted access.

The Guardian also has a number of talkboards that are noted for their mix of political discussion and whimsy. 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, a real URL which points to The Guardian’s talkboards.

In the ‘Comment is Free’ section the public is invited to join in rigorous and sometimes bad-tempered debates about political issues. The section is comprised of Guardian columns and online pieces by other contributors, many of whom end up facing heavy criticism from readers. Notable writers who came in for criticism include:

  • Radio DJ Mike Read upon declaring his support for Boris Johnson in the 2008 London Mayor election [51]
  • Max Gogarty’s travel blog about his trip to India and Thailand, after it was discovered that his father, Paul Gogarty, had also written travel articles for the Guardian, raising charges of nepotism [52]

The Guardian has also launched a dating website, Soulmates,[53] and is experimenting with new media, having previously offered a free twelve part weekly Podcast series by Ricky Gervais.[54] In January 2006 Gervais’ show topped the iTunes podcast chart having been downloaded by two million listeners worldwide,[55] and is scheduled to be listed in the 2007 Guinness Book of Records as the most downloaded Podcast.[56]


In 2003, The Guardian started GuardianFilms, headed by award-winning 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.[5]

GuardianFilms was born in a sleeping bag in the Burmese rainforest,’ wrote O’Kane in 2003.[6] ‘I was a foreign correspondent for the paper, and it had taken me weeks of negotiations, dealing with shady contacts and a lot of walking to reach the cigar-smoking Karen twins – the boy soldiers who were leading attacks against the country’s ruling junta. After I had reached them and written a cover story for the newspaper’s G2 section, I got a call from the BBC’s documentary department, which was researching a film on child soldiers. Could I give them all my contacts?

‘The plight of the Karen people, who were forced into slave labour in the rainforest to build pipelines for oil companies (some of them British), was a tale of human suffering that needed to be told by any branch of the media that was interested. I handed over all the names and numbers I had, as well as details of the secret route through Thailand to get into Burma. Good girl. Afterwards – and not for the first time – it seemed to me that we at the Guardian should be using our resources ourselves. Instead of providing contact numbers for any independent TV company prepared to get on the phone to a journalist, we should make our own films.’

The Guardian in popular culture

The nickname The Grauniad for the paper originated with the satirical magazine Private Eye. It came about because of its reputation for frequent and sometimes unintentionally amusing typographical errors, hence the popular myth that the paper once misspelled its own name on the page one masthead as The Gaurdian, though many recall the more inventive The Grauniad.

The very first issue of the newspaper contained a number of errors, perhaps the most notable being a notification that there would soon be some goods sold at atction instead of auction. There are fewer typographical errors in the paper since the end of hot-metal typesetting[citation needed] – to maintain a tradition, the daily ‘Corrections and clarifications’ column lists even the smallest mistakes.

Until the founding of the Independent, the Guardian was Britain’s only ‘serious’ national daily newspaper to support centrist or centre-left politics. The term “Guardian reader” has been used pejoratively by those who do not agree with the paper – and self-deprecatingly by those who do.

The Guardian’s science coverage is extensive. The paper also appears to have moved away from covering alternative therapies. Its Weekend supplement featured a column by Emma Mitchell, a natural health therapist, until August 2006 and G2 was, until the relaunch, home to Edzard Ernst’s weekly column on complementary medicine (Ernst is professor of complementary medicine at the Plymouth, Devon-based Peninsula Medical School, [57]), the paper now carries the debunking Bad Science column[58] by Ben Goldacre which has been the source of a recent controversy over the efficacy of homeopathy.

Reader stereotype

There are many stereotypes, but perhaps the most prominent 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 shown that the majority of university students in the UK read the Guardian.[citation needed] This might be illustrated by Labour MP Kevin Hughes’s largely rhetorical question in the House of Commons on November 19, 2001:

“Does my Right Hon. Friend find it bizarre — as I do — that the yoghurt- and muesli-eating, Guardian-reading fraternity are only too happy to protect the human rights of people engaged in terrorist acts, but never once do they talk about the human rights of those who are affected by them?”[59]

The Guardian’s cartoon strips by Posy Simmonds during the 1980s satirised the paper’s stereotype reader, relating events in the life of, among others, former nurse Wendy Weber and her polytechnic sociology lecturer husband George.

The stereotype of the Guardian reader is, however, a persistent feature of British political discourse. Doctors have used the “doctor slang” acronym GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt) on patient notes.[60] It must be noted, however, that Guardian readers are usually portrayed as being highly intelligent but detached and alienated from noumenal concerns.

April Fool content

The Guardian, along with other British news outlets, has a tradition of spoof articles on April Fool’s Day, sometimes contributed by regular advertisers such as BMW. The most elaborate of these was a travel supplement on San Serriffe, whilst an article in the Guardian dated April 1, 2006 written by one Olaf Priol suggested that Chris Martin of Coldplay would be supporting the Conservatives at the next General Election and had already written a campaign song for them. Olaf Priol is an anagram of April Fool.

Literary and media awards

The Guardian is the sponsor of two major literary awards: The Guardian First Book Award, established in 1999 as a successor to the Guardian Fiction Award which had run since 1965, and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, founded in 1967. In recent years it has also sponsored the Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye.

The annual Guardian Student Media Awards, founded in 1999, recognise excellence in journalism and design of British university and college student newspapers, magazines and websites.

In memory of Paul Foot, who died in 2004, The Guardian and Private Eye jointly set up the “Paul Foot Award”, with an annual £10,000 prize fund, for investigative/campaigning journalism.[61] John Sweeney of the Daily Mail won the first prize of £5,000 in 2005, and David Harrison picked up the 2006 award for his investigation into sex trafficking in Eastern Europe published in The Sunday Telegraph.

From a “long list” of 17 entries for the 2007 award, the seven judges – Brian McArthur (Chair), Ian Hislop, Alan Rusbridger, Bill Hagerty, Clare Fermont, Jeremy Dear and Richard Ingrams – shortlisted seven nominations:

  1. Phil Baty, The Times Higher Education Supplement
  2. Paul Keilthy, Camden New Journal
  3. David Leigh and Rob Evans, The Guardian
  4. Rob Waugh, Yorkshire Post
  5. The Salford Star
  6. Richard Brooks, Private Eye and
  7. Deborah Wain, Doncaster Free Press[62]

The 2007 “Paul Foot Award” was announced at the Media and Spin Bar, Millbank Tower on Monday, 15 October 2007. The top prize of £5,000 was shared by Deborah Wain, Doncaster Free Press and by David Leigh and Rob Evans, The Guardian. The remaining five nominees – Phil Baty, Richard Brooks, Paul Keilthy, Rob Waugh and free magazine, The Salford Star – were each awarded a £1,000 prize.[63]


  • John Edward Taylor (1821 – 1844)
  • Jeremiah Garnett (1844 – 1861) (jointly with Russell Scott Taylor in 1847 – 1848)
  • Edward Taylor (1861 – 1872)
  • Charles Prestwich Scott (1872 – 1929)
  • Ted Scott (1929 – 1932)
  • William Percival Crozier (1932 – 1944)
  • Alfred Powell Wadsworth (1944 – 1956)
  • Alastair Hetherington (1956 – 1975)
  • Peter Preston (1975 – 1995)
  • Alan Rusbridger (1995 – present)

Notable regular contributors (past and present)


  • David Aaronovitch
  • Ian Aitken
  • Brian Aldiss
  • Araucaria
  • Paul Arendt
  • John Arlott
  • George Armstrong
  • Dilpazier Aslam
  • Nancy Banks-Smith
  • Leonard Barden
  • Laura Barton
  • Patrick Barkham
  • Catherine Bennett
  • Marcel Berlins
  • Michael Billington
  • Heston Blumenthal
  • Sidney Blumenthal
  • Julian Borger
  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali
  • Russell Brand
  • Emma Brockes
  • Charlie Brooker
  • Alex Brummer
  • Inayat Bunglawala
  • Julie Burchill
  • David Cameron
  • James Cameron
  • Duncan Campbell
  • Neville Cardus
  • Alexander Chancellor
  • Mark Cocker
  • Alistair Cooke
  • G. D. H. Cole
  • John Cole
  • Terry Coleman
  • Gavyn Davies
  • Robin Denselow
  • Beth Ditto
  • Clare Dyer
  • Terry Eagleton
  • Larry Elliott
  • Matthew Engel
  • James Erlichman
  • Edzard Ernst
  • Harold Evans
  • Paul Foot
  • Liz Forgan
  • Brian J. Ford
  • Michael Frayn
  • Jonathan Freedland
  • Hadley Freeman
  • Suzanne Goldenberg
  • Victor Gollancz
  • Richard Gott
  • Roy Greenslade
  • Germaine Greer
  • Harry Griffin
  • J. G. Hamilton
  • Ben Hammersley
  • Clifford Harper
  • Patrick Haseldine[citation needed]
  • Max Hastings
  • Roy Hattersley
  • David Hencke
  • Jon Henley
  • Peter Hetherington
  • Isabel Hilton
  • L. T. Hobhouse
  • J. A. Hobson
  • Tom Hodgkinson
  • Will Hodgkinson
  • Simon Hoggart
  • Clare Hollingworth
  • Philip Hope-Wallace
  • Marina Hyde
  • C. L. R. James
  • Erwin James (pseudonym)
  • Waldemar Januszczak
  • Simon Jenkins
  • Stanley Johnson
  • Alex Kapranos
  • Maev Kennedy
  • Arthur Koestler
  • Aleks Krotoski
  • David Leigh
  • Rod Liddle
  • Sue Limb (as Dulcie Domum)
  • Maureen Lipman
  • Derek Malcolm
  • Lucy Mangan
  • Johnjoe McFadden
  • Gareth McLean
  • Mark Milner
  • George Monbiot
  • C. E. Montague
  • Suzanne Moore
  • Malcolm Muggeridge
  • James Naughtie
  • Richard Norton-Taylor
  • Maggie O’Kane
  • Susie Orbach[64]
  • Greg Palast
  • David Pallister
  • John Palmer
  • Michael Parkinson
  • ‘Salam Pax’
  • Anne Perkins
  • Jim Perrin
  • Melanie Phillips
  • John Pilger
  • Agnès Poirier
  • Anna Politkovskaya
  • Peter Preston
  • Arthur Ransome
  • Andrew Rawnsley
  • Brian Redhead
  • James H Reeve
  • Gillian Reynolds
  • Stanley Reynolds
  • Jon Ronson
  • Simon Ross
  • Mike Selvey
  • Paul Sheehan
  • Norman Shrapnel
  • Frank Sidebottom
  • Michael Simkins
  • Jean Stead
  • David Steel
  • Jonathan Steele
  • Mary Stott
  • R. H. Tawney
  • A. J. P. Taylor
  • Simon Tisdall
  • Arnold Toynbee
  • Polly Toynbee
  • Jill Tweedie
  • Andrew Veitch
  • F. A. Voigt
  • Ed Vulliamy
  • Hank Wangford
  • Brian Whitaker
  • Michael White
  • Ann Widdecombe
  • Zoe Williams
  • Martin Woollacott
  • Ted Wragg
  • Hugo Young
  • Tony Zappone
  • Slavoj Zizek
  • Victor Zorza[65][66]


  • David Austin
  • Steve Bell
  • Joe Berger
  • Berke Breathed
  • Biff
  • Peter Clarke
  • Les Gibbard
  • John Kent
  • David Low
  • Bill Papas
  • Martin Rowson
  • Posy Simmonds
  • David Shenton[67]
  • Garry Trudeau
  • Kipper Williams


  • Jeremy Hardy
  • Armando Iannucci
  • Terry Jones
  • Bel Littlejohn aka Craig Brown (satirist)
  • John O’Farrell
  • Mark Steel


  • Emily Bell
  • Richard Ehrlich
  • Matthew Fort
  • Malcolm Gluck
  • Jack Schofield

Photographers/Picture Editors

  • Herbert Walter Doughty (The Manchester Guardian’s 1st Photographer July 1908)
  • Eamonn McCabe

The Newsroom archive

The Guardian and its sister newspaper The Observer also provide The Newsroom, a visitor centre in London. It contains their archives, including bound copies of old editions, a photographic library and other items such as diaries, letters and notebooks. This material may be consulted by members of the public. The Newsroom also mounts temporary exhibitions and runs an educational programme for schools. There is also an extensive Manchester Guardian archive at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library and there is a collaboration programme between the two archives. The British Library also has a large archive of the Manchester Guardian, available in online, hard copy, microform, and CD-ROM in their British Library Newspapers collection.

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 1975 for The Guardian and 1900 to 1975 for The Observer. However, these archives are to be expanded in the future.

See also

  • Online newspaper
  • Broadcast journalism
  • Internet radio
  • Internet television
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