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The Irish Times is an Irish daily broadsheet news paper launched on 29 March 1859. The current editor is Geraldine Kennedy, who succeeded Conor Brady in 2002. The Irish Times is considered to be Ireland's newspaper of record, and is published every day except Sundays. Paul O'Neill is the newspaper's deputy editor.

Though formed as a Protestant Irish nationalist paper, within two decades, and under new owners, it had become the voice of Irish unionists who wanted Ireland to remain a full part of the United Kingdom.

Today, it is generally perceived as being socially liberal and economically left-wing. Its most prominent columnists include writer and arts commentator Fintan O'Toole, the satirist Miriam Lord and former Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Garret FitzGerald. Senior international figures, including Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and others have written for its op-ed page. Its most prominent columns have included Drapier (an anonymous column produced weekly by a politician, giving the 'insider' view of politics), "An Irishman's Diary" (previously penned by Kevin Myers, until his move to the rival Irish Independent, and now written by Frank McNally), and Rite and Reason, its weekly religious column, edited by Patsy McGarry, its Religious Affairs Editor. On the sports pages, Tom Humphries' Locker Room column features, as do Philip Reid's golf articles. He is currently the golf correspondent of the Irish Times.

One of its most famous columns was the biting and humorous Cruiskeen Lawn satire column written by Myles na gCopaleen, the pen name of Brian O'Nolan (Brian Ó Nualláin) who also wrote books using the name Flann O'Brien. Cruiskeen Lawn is an anglicized spelling of the Irish words cruiscín lán, meaning 'the full little jug'. Cruiskeen Lawn first appeared in the early 1940s and continued almost daily for over twenty five years.

It is also the Irish newspaper with the most bureaux abroad; it has had full time correspondents in Washingtonmarker, Paris, Berlin, Beijing, Brussels, London, Africa and other parts of the world.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, it had a daily circulation of 117,370 during the second six months of 2005.

History

Origins

The first appearance of a newspaper using the name The Irish Times occurred in 1823 but it closed in 1825. The title was revived as a thrice weekly publication by Major Lawrence E. Knox, with the first edition being published on 29 March 1859. It was originally founded as a moderate Protestant Nationalist newspaper, reflecting the politics of Knox, who stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate for Isaac Butt's Home Rule League. Its headquarters were at 4 Lower Abbey Street in Dublin. In its early days, its main competitor was the Dublin Daily Express.

The Arnotts

After Knox's death in 1873 the paper was sold to the widow of Sir John Arnott, MP, a former Lord Mayor of Cork and owner of Arnotts, one of Dublinmarker's major Department stores. The sale, for £35000, led to two major changes. Its headquarters was shifted to 31 Westmoreland Street and it remained in buildings on or near that site until 2005. Its politics also shifted dramatically, becoming predominantly Protestant and Unionist. The paper along with the Irish Independent and various regional papers called for the execution of the leaders of the failed 1916 Easter Rising.

Though the paper became a publicly listed company in 1900, the family continued to hold a majority shareholding until the 1960s (even after the family lost control, the great-grandson of the original purchaser was the paper's London editor). The last member of the Arnott family to sit on the paper's board was Sir Lauriston Arnott, who died in 1958.

The editor during the 1930s, R. M. Smyllie, had strong anti-fascist views: he angered the Irish Catholic hierarchy by opposing General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Later the Irish Times had problems with Irish Government censorship during World War Two because the Times was unhappy with the De Valera government's policy of neutrality.

The Irish Times Trust

In 1974, ownership was transferred to a charitable trust, The Irish Times Trust.

Recent history

The Irish Times faced considerable financial difficulty in 2002 when a downturn in advertising revenue coincided with a decision to invest its reserves in the building of a new printing plant; none of its journalists were laid off, but a large number availed of a voluntary redundancy package, when the paper underwent major restructuring. Some of its external bureaux were closed, while it also ceased publishing 'colour' pages specifically devoted to covering local Irish regions, with regional coverage now merged with news. The reorganisation appears to have had the desired effect; after posting losses of almost €3 million in 2002, the paper returned to profit in 2003.

In May 2005, the paper launched a new international edition, which is available in Londonmarker and southeast Englandmarker at the same time as other daily newspapers (previously, copies of the Irish edition were flown from Dublin to major cities in Britainmarker on passenger flights, arriving around lunchtime). The new edition is printed at the Newsfax plant in Hackneymarker, and uses the Financial Times distribution network.

The Financial Regulator in 2008 fined the Irish Times after it admitted breaking market abuse rules.

In 2009, the Supreme Court ordered the paper to pay €600,000 in costs, despite winning its case about the importance of protecting journalistic sources, and called its actions "reprehensive conduct" by deliberating destroying evidence.

Diversification

The company has diversified out of its original Irish Times title as a source of revenue. This process has seen the company, Irish Times Ltd., take a majority share in the Gazette Group Newspapers a local newspaper group publishing three local newspapers in West Dublinmarker for €5m, and acquire a property website, the second-largest
 property internet portal in Ireland, for €50m, seen  as an "insurance policy" against the loss of traditional classified property advertising revenues. In June 2009, journalists called on the board and trust to review "the flawed investment and diversification strategy of the company" and passed a motion saying that "ongoing investment in loss-making projects poses a serious threat to employment" at the newspaper.Four months later the company announced a loss of €37 million and that 90 staff would be made redundant.


The Irish Times Trust

Today, the newspaper is not owned by shareholders, but rather overseen by the Irish Times Trust. The Trust was created in 1974 as a guarantor of editorial independence, to prevent takeover by private individuals, and to guard against commercial pressures. The Irish Times is the only newspaper in Ireland, and one of only a few worldwide, to be protected in this way.

According to the Trust's memorandum of association, the purpose of the body is to "publish The Irish Times as an independent newspaper primarily concerned with serious issues for the benefit of the community throughout the whole of Ireland free from any form of personal or of party political, commercial, religious or other sectional control."

Offices

The Irish Times building, on Tara Street
In 1895, the paper moved from its original offices on Middle Abbey Street (the street that was until late 2004 the home of the Irish Independent) to D'Olier Street in the south city centre. "D'Olier Street" became a synonym for "The Irish Times", which in turn is personified as "The Old Lady of D'Olier Street". In October 2006, the paper relocated from its historical home of D'Olier Street in Dublin citymarker centre to a new building in Tara Street, only two hundred metres away.

Online

In 1994, the Irish Times established an internet presence at www.irish-times.ie, it was the first newspaper in Ireland or Britain and one of the first 30 newspapers in the world to do so. The company acquired the domain name Ireland.com in 1997, and from 1999 to 2008 used it to publish its online edition. Initially free, charges and registration for access to most of the content were introduced in 2002. A number of blogs were added in April 2007 written by Irish Times writers Jim Carroll, Shane Hegarty and Conor Pope. On 30 June 2008, the company relaunched Ireland.com as a separate lifestyle portal and the online edition of the newspaper is now published at www.irishtimes.com. It is supplied free of charge , but its archives require a subscription to view older parts in digitised form.

Format and content

The paper follows the same standard layout every day. The front page contains one main picture and three main news stories, with the left-hand column, News Digest, providing a 'teaser' of some of the stories inside the Home News, World News, Sport and Business Today sections as well as other information such as lottery numbers and weather forecasts.Inside, it usually contains eight to twelve pages of Irish news, called Home News, which covers the whole island of Ireland (ie. the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland). It regularly devotes several pages to important stories such as the publication of government reports, the Budget, major courts cases, etc.

World News contains some pages of world news from its correspondents abroad and also from the wires and news services such as Reuters, the Guardian Service and the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post service. The Irish Times has staff correspondents in London, Paris, Brussels and Washington.

The Irish Times publishes its residential property supplement every Thursday, this being one of the printed residential property listing for the Dublin area. That section can also be found online. Motoring and employment supplements are published on Wednesday and Friday respectively, and can be found online also.

On Fridays, The Irish Times publishes a Business supplement and an entertainment supplement, The Ticket, with movie, music, theatre reviews, interviews, articles, and media listings. It features cinema writers Michael Dwyer and Donald Clarke and music writers Jim Carroll, Brian Boyd, Tony Clayton-Lea and others.

On Saturdays it publishes a Weekend section, featuring news features, arts profiles, TV and radio columns and book reviews of a limited range of mainly literary and biographical works, with occasional reviews in the technology sector. Its Saturday edition also include the Magazine (consumer and lifestyle features on food, wine, gardening etc), a travel supplement and a sports supplement.

There are two crosswords in The Irish Times, the Simplex and the Crosaire and three Sudoku puzzles daily.

The Letters' page from readers serves as a forum for reader debate on current topics.

The Irish Times features the political cartoons of Martyn Turner., and the American cartoon strip Doonesbury. The business section has a satirical illustration by David Rooney every Friday. Tom Mathews contributes a arts-inspired cartoon (called "Artoon") to the Arts Section on Saturday.

The editorial line of the Irish Times tended to support the Lisbon Treaty and includes the conducting of polls intended to show a reversal of the previous "no" vote by the people of Ireland. However they have printed a number of articles of opposing views, including articles written by Declan Ganley of Libertas, and other anti-Lisbon campaigners.

Columns

Regular columns include:
  • An Irishman's Diary
  • Social and Personal
  • Rite and Reason is the weekly religious column. The column is edited by The Irish Times religious editor, Patsy McGarry. Many prominent Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops, Irish Jewish leaders, theologians from all faiths and journalists, among others, have written the column, which is published on the Op-Ed (Opinion-Editorial) page every Monday.


Editors



Notable contributors (past and present)



See also

Nuala O'Faolain

References

  1. See The Irish Times: A History by Mark O’Brien,Four Courts Press Ltd ( 2008)
  2. http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0313/irishtimes.html
  3. Irish Media: A Critical History Since 1922 by John Horgan, Routledge, 2001. pp. 38–45
  4. http://www.rte.ie/business/2008/0411/financial.html
  5. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1127/1224259547062.html
  6. MyHome.ie
  7. http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=IRELAND-qqqm=news-qqqid=42757-qqqx=1.asp
  8. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/1003/1224255776825.html


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