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The Guardian

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The Guardian is a British newspaper published by Guardian Newspapers Limited. It is a serious broadsheet newspaper with left wing politics. Until 1959 it was called The Manchester Guardian, and the paper is still sometimes referred to by this name, especially in North America.

Table of contents
1 Introduction
2 History
3 Organisational associations
4 Supplements
5 Editors
6 Notable regular contributors (past and present)
7 External links
8 Other publications of the same name


The Guardian has a daily circulation of around 400,000 (2002), compared to 620,000 for The Times, 920,000 for the Daily Telegraph and 230,000 for The Independent. It is sometimes known affectionately as the Grauniad because in the past it was noted for typographical errors, including misspelling its own name once in the 1970s. Although such errors are now less frequent than they used to be, the 'Corrections and clarifications' column can still often provide some amusement. There were even a number of errors in the first issue, perhaps the most notable being a notification that there would soon be some goods sold at atction, instead of auction.

The term "Guardian reader" is often used pejoratively. The stereotype of a Guardian reader is a person with leftist or liberal politics rooted in the 1960s, working in the public sector, regularly eating lentils and muesli, wearing sandals and believing in alternative medicine and natural medicine (despite extensive science coverage including a contempt for alternative medicine); as evidenced by Labour MP Kevin Hughes' (Doncaster North) 1999 rhetorical question, in Parliament:

"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?"


The Guardian 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.


The Manchester Guardian was founded in Manchester in 1821 by a group of non-conformist businessmen headed by John Edward Taylor. The first edition was published on May 5, 1821, and it became a daily paper in 1855.

Its most famous editor, C. P. Scott made the Manchester Guardian into a noted newspaper. He was editor for 57 years from 1872, buying the paper from Taylor's son in 1907.

In June 1936, to avoid death duty, ownership of the paper was passed to the Scott Trust (named after the last owner, John Russell Scott, who was the first chairman of the Trust). The paper was then noted for its eccentric style, its moralising and its detached attitude to its finances.

Traditionally affiliated with the centrist Liberal Party, and with a northern circulation base, the paper earned a national reputation and the respect of the left during the Spanish Civil War, when along with the now defunct News Chronicle it was the only UK source of news that was not tainted by support for the insurgent fascists led by General Francisco Franco.

In 1959 the paper dropped "Manchester" from its title, becoming simply The Guardian, and 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 left-wing stance during the 1970s and 1980s but was both shocked and revitalised by the launch of The Independent in 1986 which competed for similar readers and provoked the entire broadsheet industry into a fight for circulation. In 1988 The Guardian had a significant redesign, as well as improving the quality of its print and cutting down on the typographical errors that had previously characterised it. The paper declined to participate in the broadsheet 'price war' started by Rupert Murdoch's The Times in 1993.

During the Afghanistan and Iraq wars The Guardian further strengthened its international reputation as a good source of news. Seen as reporting from a more neutral point of view, The Guardian picked up American readers disenchanted with their own media.

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. In 2004, The Guardian introduced an online digital version of its print edition, allowing readers to download that day's issue as a PDF file.

The Guardian has recently announced plans to change to a Berliner format (470×315 mm) similar to that used by Le Monde in France. This will take place in early 2006.

Organisational associations

The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group which also publishes The Observer Sunday newspaper, the Manchester Evening News, and their sister website Guardian Unlimited, one of the most popular online news resources on the Internet. All the aforementioned are owned by The Scott Trust, a charitable foundation.

The Guardian and its parent groups are a participant in Project Syndicate [1], established by George Soros, and have recently intervened to save the Mail & Guardian in South Africa [1], but Guardian Media Group later sold the shares of the Mail & Guardian it held.


The Guardian comes with the G2 supplement—containing feature articles—on weekdays. Other supplements are included during the week including:


Notable regular contributors (past and present)

External links

Other publications of the same name

The Guardian was also the title of

  1. a short-lived publication of 1713, founded by Richard Steele and featuring contributions by his collaborator Joseph Addison.
  2. a weekly Anglican newspaper founded in 1846 by Richard William Church and others, which ran until 1951.