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The Guardian (until 1959, The Manchester Guardian) is a British daily newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. Founded in 1821, it is unique among major British newspapers in being owned by a foundation (the Scott Trust, via the Guardian Media Group).

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

The Guardian had a certified average daily circulation of 358,844 copies in January 2009, behind The Daily Telegraph and The Times, but ahead of The Independent. The Guardian's website,, is one of the highest-traffic English-language news websites.

Stance and editorial opinion

Founded by textile traders and merchants, 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". "I write for the Guardian," said Sir Max Hastings in 2005, "because it is read by the new establishment", reflecting the paper's growing influence.

Editorial articles in The Guardian are generally to the left 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; according to another MORI poll taken in 2005, 48% of Guardian readers were Labour voters and 34% Liberal Democrat voters. The newspaper's reputation as a platform for liberal and left-wing opinions has led to the use of the phrase "Guardian reader" as a label for people holding such opinions.

Guardian features editor Ian Katz stated in 2004 that "it is no secret we are a centre-left newspaper". In 2008, Guardian columnist Jackie Ashley claimed 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 dominated by centre-left writers and academics like Polly Toynbee, allow some space for right-of-centre voices such as Max Hastings, and Michael Gove.


1821 to 1959

Early years

The Manchester Guardian was founded in Manchester in 1821 by a group of non-conformist businessmen headed by John Edward Taylor, who took advantage of the closure of the more radical Manchester Observer, the paper that had championed the cause of the Peterloomarker protesters. Taylor had been hostile to the radical reformers, writing:

And when the government closed down the Manchester Observer, the mill-owners' champions had the upper hand. 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".

The working-class Manchester 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 framing of a law positively enacting a gradual destruction of the cotton manufacture would be a much less rational procedure’. The Manchester Guardian dismissed strikes as the work of outside agitators - "if an accommodation can be effected the occupation of the agents of the Union is gone. They live on strife."

The Manchester Guardian was hostile to the Unionist cause in the American Civil War, writing on the news that Abraham 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".

C. P. Scott

Its most famous editor, 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 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's friendship with Chaim Weizmann played a role in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and in 1948 The Guardian was a supporter of the State of Israelmarker. Daphna Baram tells the story of The Guardian's relationship with the Zionist movement and Israel in the book "Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel". 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.

Spanish Civil War

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. 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 Egyptianmarker 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".

1959 to 2000

Northern Ireland

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 [ Provisional Irish Republican Army ] might use the crowd as a shield." (Guardian, 1 February 1972). Some Irish Nationalists believed that Lord Widgery's enquiry into the killings was a whitewash, but The Guardian declared that "Lord Widgery's report is not one-sided" (20 April 1972). 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." (Guardian leader, 10 August 1971) And before then, The Guardian had called for British troops to be sent to the region: British soldiers could "present a more disinterested face of law and order" (leader, 15 August 1969), but only on condition that "Britain takes charge" (leader, 4 August 1969).

Social Democratic Party and New Labour

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, and to become Prime Minister.

Sarah Tisdall

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 prison sentence for Tisdall. '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'.

First Gulf war

In the lead up to the first Gulf War, between 1990 and 1991, The Guardian expressed doubts about military action against Iraq: "Frustration in the Gulf leads temptingly to the invocation of task forces and tactical bombing, but the military option is no option at all. The emergence yesterday of a potential hostage problem of vast dimensions only emphasised that this is far too complex a crisis for gunboat diplomacy. Loose talk of 'carpet bombing' Baghdadmarker should be put back in the bottle of theoretical but unacceptable scenarios".

But on the eve of the war, the paper rallied to the war cause: "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 U.N. behest, to set that evil right. Their duties are clear ... let the momentum and the resolution be swift." 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)

Jonathan Aitken

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 Harrodsmarker owner Mohamed Al Fayed had paid for Aitken and his wife to stay at the Hôtel Ritzmarker in Parismarker, 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". 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.


The paper supported NATOmarker'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). Mary Kaldor bluntly headlined her piece "Bombs away!" (25 March 1999).

Since 2000

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

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 paper 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 6 February 2003) And one columnist congratulated UK Prime Minister Tony Blair 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)

Accusations of bias in coverage of Israel

Despite its early support for the Zionist movement, in recent decades The Guardian has been accused of being overly critical of Israelimarker government policy. Bruce Bawer called The Guardian "the British newspaper that can most reliably be counted on to slant stories against Israel and provide column space to anti-Semites". 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, writing of what she saw as the paper's "vile anti-Semitism". A leaked report from the European Monitoring Centre on Racism cited The Economist's claim that for "many British Jews," the British media's reporting on Israel "is spiced with a tone of animosity, 'as to smell of anti-Semitism'... This is above all the case with the Guardian and The Independent". Greville Janner, former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has accused The Guardian of being "viciously and notoriously anti-Israel".

Responding to these accusations, a Guardian editorial in 2002 condemned anti-Semitism 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, The Guardian's foreign editor, has also denied The Guardian has an anti-Israel bias, saying that the paper aims to cover all viewpoints in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Clark County

In August 2004, for the US presidential election, the daily G2 supplement launched an experimental letter-writing campaign in Clark Countymarker, Ohiomarker, 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 voting against US President George W. Bush. The paper scrapped "Operation Clark County" on 21 October 2004 after first publishing a column of complaints about the campaign under the headline "Dear Limey assholes". Some commentators have speculated that the campaign may have inadvertently contributed to Bush's victory in Clark County.

Guardian America

In 2007, the paper launched a website Guardian America, an attempt to capitalise on its large online readership in the United States, which at the time stood at more than 5.9m. The company hired former American Prospect editor, New York Magazine columnist and New York Review of Books writer Michael Tomasky to head up the project and hire a staff of American reporters and web editors. The site featured Guardian news relevant to an American audience, coverage of US news and the middle east, for example.

Tomasky stepped down from his position as Guardian American editor 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 website. The next 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 massive effort to cut costs across the company.

Gagged from reporting Parliament

In October 2009, The Guardian reported that it was forbidden to report on a parliamentary matter, namely 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 1688 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, as Carter Ruck withdrew it before The Guardian could challenge it in the High Court. Alan Rusbridger credited the rapid back-down of Carter-Ruck to Twitter, as did a BBC article.


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

  • 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 Yorkshiremarker. 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's website after Barclays obtained a gagging order.

  • In July, the paper uncovered a string of illegal methods, called phone-tapping, used by News of the World investigators to find out exclusive stories on public figures such as John Prescott and the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Despite the allegations, the Metropolitan Police declined to investigate the claims.


The Guardian is part of the GMG Guardian Media Group of newspapers, radio stations, print media including The Observer Sunday newspaper, the Manchester Evening News, The Guardian Weekly international newspaper, and new media—Guardian Abroad website, and All the aforementioned 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 take overs by for-profit media groups. At the beginning of October 2008, the Scott Trusts 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 as under the previous arrangements.

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. 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 a likely factor in it 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. 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, 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.

Circulation and format

The Guardian had a certified average daily circulation of 358,844 copies in January 2009 a drop of 5.17% on January 2008, as compared to sales of 842,912 for The Daily Telegraph, 617,483 for The Times, and 215,504 for The Independent.


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; 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."

In 1959 the paper dropped "Manchester" from its title, becoming simply The Guardian, and in 1964 it moved to Londonmarker, 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", that 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. [710438] 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

The Guardian's 21 January 2007 edition, including the G2 supplement
The Guardian is printed in full colour, and was also the first newspaper in the UK to use the Berliner format.

In 2004, The Guardian announced plans to change to a "Berliner" or "midi" format similar to that used by 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 followed 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. 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 paper'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 paper 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 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". 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. 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.


Regular content and features

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

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 are shown below.

Before the redesign in 2005, the main news section was in the large broadsheet format, but 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.


The following sections are in G2 every day from Monday to Friday: Arts, TV and Radio, Puzzles.


  • Clogger, a humorous look at the weekend's football. This includes an ever-changing list of sub-features such as:
  • Screen Break, by Martin Kelner - analysis of TV sports coverage
  • What's rocking sport, where sportspeople select their favourite music

In G2:



  • Multiple choice - poses the same question to three different people (eg a teacher, a parent and a pupil)


In G2:
  • Marcel Berlins' column
  • The digested read, by John Crace
  • Notes and Queries

SocietyGuardian (covers the British public sector and related issues)
  • Eco Soundings - environmental news


In G2:
  • Private Lives

TechnologyGuardian (print version demised from December 17 2009)
  • The "Free Our Data" campaign


In G2:
  • Lost in showbiz
  • Women
  • Chess, poker and bridge

Film & Music


The Guide (a weekly listings magazine)
  • All Ears

Weekend (the colour supplement)
  • One Million Tiny Plays About Britain
  • This Column Will Change Your Life
  • Food
    • The New Vegetarian

Review (covers literature)


Work including Graduate



Regular cartoon strips

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

Online media

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. The website also offers a free printable A4 format PDF 24-hour newspaper, G24 made up of the top stories and, for a monthly subscription, the complete newspaper in PDF format. It is the second-most popular UK newspaper site with more than 18.5 million users a month, compared with the top site's 18.6 million.

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
  • Max Gogarty's travel blog about his trip to India and Thailandmarker, after it was discovered that his father, Paul Gogarty, had also written travel articles for The Guardian, raising charges of nepotism

The paper has also launched a dating website, Soulmates, and is experimenting with new media, having previously offered a free 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 is scheduled to be listed in the 2007 Guinness Book of Records as the most downloaded Podcast.


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 was born in a sleeping bag in the Burmese rainforest," wrote O'Kane in 2003. "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 Thailandmarker to get into Burmamarker. 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 nickname The Grauniad for the paper originated with the satirical magazine Private Eyemarker. This played on The Guardian's reputation for frequent typographical errors, such as misspelling its own name as The Gaurdian. The domain is registered to the paper, and redirects to its website at

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. One of their writers, Keith Devlin, suggested that the high number of observed misprints was due more to the quality of the readership than their greater frequency.

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 1 April 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.

References in fiction

  • In the play Hobson's Choice Henry Horatio Hobson worries that his reputation will be in tatters after 'trespassing'. He comments that if the news were to be intercepted by The Manchester Guardian then everyone would know.
  • Political comedy Yes Minister mocked The Guardian several times.
* In the fourth episode of series 3 (1982):
: Annie: "Her name's Jenny Goodwin from The Guardian."
: Bernard: "The Guardian!"
: Annie: "Yes."
: Bernard: "A journalist."
: Annie: "Yes, well, The Guardian anyway..."
* The 1984 Christmas special of Yes Minister shows a number of newspapers tipping Jim Hacker as the next Prime Minister including The Guardian misspelled as The Gaurdian in the header. In Episode 6 a group of pro-badger protesters tell Jim Hacker that The Guardian told them the area they are fighting to save has been inhabited by badgers for generations. In fact Hacker points out that the paper says that the "bodgers" have "dealt" there, satirising The Guardian's reputation for spelling errors.
* In Episode 4 of the second series of Yes, Prime Minister:
:Jim Hacker: I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; ...
  • In the Young Ones episode "Boring", Rick eagerly notes that The Guardian has an article on how to get an increased student grant. Unfortunately the paper has totally mangled the spelling of a key part of it, leaving Rick with no idea how to get the increased grant. Worse still, the misspelling happens to sound the same as a Satanic chant, so that when Neil repeats what Rick read out loud he accidentally summons a demon who tries to kill everyone there.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an entire planet goes into hibernation to wait out a galactic recession, only reviving themselves when the stock market reaches a satisfactorily high level for their needs. "Arthur Dent, a regular Guardian reader, was deeply shocked by this", adding later about space: "There's so much of it, and so little in it, it sometimes reminds me of The Observer".
  • In the Sandy Duncan episode in the first season of The Muppet Show, Statler demonstrates his extreme age by using the pre-1959 name:
Waldorf: Statler, do you 'get' the banana sketch?
Statler: No, I get The New York Times and The Manchester Guardian.
  • In an episode of the 1970s US horror series Kolchak: The Night Stalker (The Vampire), the main character, reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin), lies to a police chief by telling him that he writes for The Manchester Guardian.
  • In the 2006 film American Dreamz, the US president played by Dennis Quaid is known for not reading the papers, until he starts reading The Guardian.
  • In the film The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is mentioned in an article published in The Guardian and a reporter working for the newspaper itself plays a key role in the film.
  • In the Season Six episode of The West Wing (2004) entitled "The Wake Up Call", Assistant White House Press Secretary Annabeth Schott, portrayed by Kristen Chenowith, responds to a reporter quoting a damning allegation by The Guardian, stating "Well, the British papers can be a little dodgy".
  • In the novel The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, the character Toby Fedden is briefly employed as a reporter for The Guardian and is criticised by his father, a Conservative MP.
  • In Dennis Potter's 1986 drama The Singing Detective, the character Philip Marlow (Michael Gambon) is given a word association exercise by an NHS psychiatrist - when presented with the word 'Guardian' he replies, "Misprint".



The Guardian 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. 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. The website is known for its commentary on sporting events, particularly its over-by-over cricket commentary.

In 2007 the newspaper was ranked first in a study on transparency which analysed 25 mainstream English-language media vehicles, and which was conducted by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda of the University of Marylandmarker. It scored 3.8 out of a possible 4.0.


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-Wyemarker.

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 Eyemarker jointly set up the "Paul Foot Award", with an annual £10,000 prize fund, for investigative or campaigning journalism.


Notable regular contributors (past and present)





Photographers and Picture Editors
  • Herbert Walter Doughty (The Manchester Guardian's first photographer, July 1908)
  • Eamonn McCabe

The Newsroom archive

The Guardian and its sister newspaper The Observer also provide The Newsroom, a visitor centre in Londonmarker. It contains their archives, including bound copies of old editions, a photographic library and other items such as diaries, letter 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 Manchestermarker's John Rylands University Librarymarker and there is a collaboration programme between the two archives. The British Librarymarker 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 2000 for The Guardian and 1791 to 2000 for The Observer: these archives will eventually run up to 2003.

See also


  1. Audit Bureau of Circulations Ltd
  2. Frederick Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England, Progress, 1973, p 109.
  3. Ayerst, The Guardian, 1971, p.471.
  4. New Statesman, 21 February 2005.
  5. International Socialism Spring 2003, ISBN 1-898876-97-5
  6. Voting Intention by Newspaper Readership Quarter 1 2005, Ipsos MORI, 21 April 2005
  7. What the papers say, BBC News, 17 October 2005
  8. Stanley Harrison, Poor Men’s Guardians, 1974, p.53
  9. 21 May 1836
  10. 28 Jan. 1832
  11. 26 Feb. 1873
  12. 27 April 1865
  13. quoted in David Ayerst, The Guardian, 1971, p 353
  14. Manchester Guardian, leader, 22 October 1951
  15. Leader, 2 August 1956
  16. "Leader, 1 February 1972 The division deepens" The Guardian.
  17. "Leader, 20 April 1972 To make history repeat itself" The Guardian.
  18. Guardian leader, 2 July 1994.
  19. Guardian leader, 2 May 1997/
  20. Peter Preston, 'A source of great regret', Guardian, 5 September 2005
  21. leader 6 August 1990
  22. Leader, 17 January 1991
  23. Jonathan Aitken, 1995. " The simple sword of truth." The Guardian.
  24. Luke Harding and David Pallister, 1997 " He lied and lied and lied" The Guardian.
  25. BBC News, 1999. " Aitken pleads guilty to perjury."
  26. Mary Kaldor, The Guardian, 25 March 1999, Bombs away! But to save civilians we must get in some soldiers too
  27. While Europe Slept Bruce Bawer Random House, 2007 page 147
  28. Julie Burchill, 29 November 2003. " Good bad and ugly." The Guardian.
  29. "The Guardian, the newspaper I left some years ago in protest at what I saw as its vile anti-Semitism."[1]
  30. Leaked report shows rise in anti-semitism, The Guardian. 4 December 2003
  31. Leaked report hosted on Jewish Virtual Library
  32. The Guardian January 26, 2002
  33. Bowers, Andy. " 'Dear Limey Assholes ...'/A crazy British plot to swing Ohio to Kerry—and how it backfired." Slate, 4 November 2004.
  34. New York Observer, 4 September 2007, The Guardian Reclaims America
  35. The Guardian, 18 February 2009, Michael Tomasky joins political journal Democracy
  36., 20 October 2009, GNM Axing, Shuffling Execs in Restructure
  37., 5 November 2009, Guardian News And Media Laying Off Six Employees In U.S.
  38. House of Commons, Part 2: Oral or Written Questions from Wednesday 14 October 2009
  39. Guardian gagged from reporting parliament, The Guardian], October 12, 2009
  40. Question 292409: "Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura."[2]
  41. Press Gazette, 13 October 2009, Guardian gagged from reporting Parliament
  42. Wikileaks, Minton report: Trafigura toxic dumping along the Ivory Coast broke EU regulations, 14 Sep 2006
  43. The Guardian, 17 September 2009, How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster
  44. The Guardian, 13 October 2009, Gag on Guardian reporting MP's Trafigura question lifted
  45. [3]
  46. [4]
  47. Clare Dyer, 6 December 2000. " A challenge to the crown: now is the time for change" The Guardian
  48. Nicholas Watt, 7 December 2000. " Broad welcome for debate on monarchy" The Guardian
  49. CNS News, 25 October 2004." Left-Wing UK Paper Pulls Bush Assassination Column."
  50. Charlie Brooker, 24 October 2004." Screen Burn, The Guide." The Guardian.
  51. Dilpazier Aslam, 2005-07-13. " We rock the boat." The Guardian.
  52. Media Guardian, 2005-07-22. " Background: the Guardian and Dilpazier Aslam." The Guardian.
  53. Steve Busfield, 2005-07-22. " Dilpazier Aslam leaves Guardian." The Guardian.
  54. The Guardian, 2 February 2009, Tax Database
  55. The Guardian, 19 March 2009, Guardian loses legal challenge over Barclays documents gagging order
  56. Tara Conlan "Guardian owner the Scott Trust to be wound up after 72 years", The Guardian, 8 October 2008. Retrieved on 10 October 2008.
  57. Guardian Media Group plc 2006. " Guardian Media Group 2005/6 results".
  58. Guardian Newspapers Ltd & Scott Trust, 2005. " Social, ethical and environmental audit, 2005".
  59. Audit Bureau of Circulations Ltd
  60. Schoolnet n.d. " Manchester Guardian."
  61. Claire Cozens, 2005-09-01. " New-look Guardian launches on September 12." The Guardian.
  62. Guardian Reborn, on 2007-07-22.
  63. Claire Cozens, 2006-01-13. " Telegraph sales hit all-time low." The Guardian.
  64. Martin Rowson 25 November 2005." Drawing Fire."The Guardian.
  65. Emily Bell, 2005-10-08. " Editor's Week." The Guardian.
  66. Newspaper website audits come under close scrutiny, 26 May 2008.
  67. Guardian Soulmates website.Retrieved on 2007-08-03.
  68. Jason Deans, 2005-12-08. " Gervais to host Radio 2 Christmas show." The Guardian.
  69. Media Guardian " Comedy stars and radio DJs top the download charts." The Guardian.
  70. John Plunkett, 2006-02-06. "[5]." The Guardian.
  71. Book review by Ned Sherrin, The Guardian, 16 December 2000
  72. The Webby Awards, 2005. " 9th Annual Webby Awards nominations and winners."
  73. Eppy Awards, 2000. " Winners."
  74. The Paul Foot Award for campaigning journalism
  75. Profile, The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-07-22.
  76. Zorza inThe Guardian Index, 1842-1928 Book preview, Adam Matthew Publications, Marlborough, Wiltshire.Retrieved on 2007-07-22.
  77. Profile:"Pundit with a Punch", Time, 7 July 1958.Retrieved on 2007-07-22.
  78. The Legend at Shenton's website.Retrieved on 2007-07-22.

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