PM Jim Hacker: Don't tell me about the press — 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. The Times is read by people who actually do run the country. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by people who own the country. The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.The United Kingdom has a good number of nationally distributed newspapers, each of which targets a specific political or social group (rather than a specific region like in the US). The British press is collectively known as "Fleet Street", although this is an artifact of an era when many newspapers were at that particular location in London; most have since gone elsewhere. They are typically classified by format:
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?
Bernard Woolley: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.note
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?
Bernard Woolley: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.note
- Broadsheets are the traditionally formatted newspapers, generally thought to be the most intelligent and respectable publications
- Mid-market tabloids might do some serious reporting, but they're more concerned with gossip
- Red-tops are the lower end of tabloids, generally being completely ridiculous or hysterical.
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The Daily Telegraph
- To escape Jury Duty in England, wear a bowler hat and carry a copy of the Telegraph.
The Times and the Sunday Times
- Some people are here to see you: three reporters and a gentleman from the Times.—Popular joke satirizing the paper's spotless reputation.
The Guardian and The Observer
The Guardian is the UK's biggest left-leaning paper. It's often called the "Grauniad", a result of its former reputation for frequent typos, and its readers are often called "Guardianistas" (particularly as a derogatory comment on their political leanings, analogous to the American "New York Times liberal"). It started life as the Manchester Guardian, but it's now got a reputation of being particularly London-centric. It feels very centrist sometimes in spite of its left-leaning reputation; it doesn't support the Labour Party so much as it opposes the Tories, and it has been critical of far-left governments in Latin America and Eastern Europe, basically following the British government stance there. Politics aside, the paper is unique in that its parent company, the Guardian Media Group, is owned by a trust which exists to ensure its editorial independence. That said, it seems to be willing to pick fights with practically every other major newspaper, from the traditionally conservative Daily Telegraph, to more hardcore left-wing Daily Mirror. It's also infamous for supporting candidates who lose in embarrassing fashion, in the UK and outside it; it once got into hot water for suggesting that its readers ring up random Americans to tell them not to vote for George W. Bush in 2004. Elsewhere in the paper, it has a very highly regarded crossword, which enthusiasts say might be even better than that of the Times. It has the lowest circulation of the "big three" broadsheets, behind the Times and the Telegraph, which is likely because it's the only one of the three whose website is not behind a paywall. The paper calls this a commitment to the "free democracy of ideas", while cynics call it giving away all your content for free. That said, its online presence is formidable, third in traffic among British news sites behind only the Daily Mail and the internationally venerated BBC News. Its proudest journalistic moment is its hand in the collapse of the News of the World (a tabloid described below); they had been plugging away at the scandal for years, and it was they who made the breakthrough by discovering that the News of the World had hacked a murdered teenager's phone to give her family hope that she might still be alive. If they hadn't been investigating so tirelessly, chances are what the News of the World had been doing would never have come to light. Even the Telegraph gave them props. The Observer is the Guardian's Sunday-only sister paper; it's the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world, and it gives particular focus to arts and culture. Between it, Guardian Weekend, The Observer Magazine, and the Observer Food Monthly, they give the impression of being Obsessed with Food, albeit in a very London-centric, Islington-dinner-party sort of way (including blatant Product Placement for fairly expensive British supermarkets).
The Independent and the i
- "It's not like we're The Independent; we can't just stick a headline like "CRUELTY" and a picture of a whale or something underneath it.—Adam Kenyon, The Thick of It
The Financial Times
- What's big, pink, and hard in the morning? The Financial Times crossword.
The Catholic Herald
- Eating Turkey at Christmas Is Like Nailing an Egg to the Cross!—Spoof Catholic Herald headline by Chris Morris
The Yorkshire PostBased in Leeds, the Yorkshire Post, despite its name and largely regional circulation, considers itself a national newspaper. As such, it tends to report on national and international news stories rather than following the Local Angle, although it's a very precarious balance. It's one of the country's oldest newspapers, being founded in the 1750s as the Leeds Intelligencer. Its biggest scoop was in the 1930s when it became the first British paper to break the story of the abdication crisis surrounding King Edward VIII.
The Daily Express
- Well, "ethical", I don't quite know what the word means, but perhaps you'll explain what the word means — "ethical".—Richard Desmond, Express owner That quote was not invented.
The Daily Mail
- WILL PENSIONS CRISIS CAUSED BY MARXIST GAY CATHOLIC ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM THE HITLER-BACKED EU CHEATING ON BENEFITS AND GETTING MARRIED CAUSE HOUSE PRICE CRASH AND CANCER IN MARGINALIZED WHITE CHRISTIANS?!?—Every single Daily Mail issue ever, distilled into a single headline
The Mail on SundayThe Mail on Sunday is the Sunday sister paper to the Daily Mail. While still staunchly conservative, it's also far less alarmist than the Mail and far more credible. This makes it a paper of choice for conservatives who don't like hysteria. However, its journalists and columnists include staunchly Anglican conservative (and enemy of television) Peter Hitchens, brother of the famous atheist/antitheist Christopher Hitchens, who regularly bashes the Conservative Party for not being right-wing enough.
The New Day (February 29, 2016 - May 6, 2016)Trinity Mirror's answer to the Mail, the Express, and the i, the New Day was launched at a time when the newspaper industry was in dire straits. Unlike your usual metropolitan paper, it had no editorial page, the information was dedicated mostly to news briefs, and the sports section was located in the middle pages rather than at the back cover, whose space is covered by a weather map. Experts thought it wouldn't last a year. It didn't last three months.
The Evening Standard
- EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVENIN' STANNITT!—The war cry of its news-vendors
First NewsFirst News is a newspaper for young people of school age. It manages to take a mature and unbiased look at world issues while still being kid-friendly. It has everything a newspaper should have, but adapted for children.
- —Russell Howard on a typical edition
The Daily Mirror
- —Spokesman for the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, during the paper's finest hour and sacking of its least-regarded editor.
The Daily Star
- WILL HOMO MUSLIM BENEFIT SCROUNGERS CAUSE JORDAN TO HAVE BREAST CANCER?!?—Every Star Headline Ever
- "JORDAN IN NEW CANCER SCARE! Shock Diagnosis for Kate and her Family!" was only about the fact that Ms. Price's boyfriend uses fake tan, which might cause cancer.
- "TERROR AS PLANE HITS ASH CLOUDS" was entirely fictional and illustrated with an image from a documentary.note
- "ROYAL BABY ON WAY" didn't have anything to do with William and Kate's actual children; it came right after they were married and revealed oh-so-startlingly that now that they were married, they might choose to conceive a child.
- "BORING OLD GITS TO WED", referring to Prince Charles' engagement to Camilla Parker-Bowles. Actually Pretty Funny if you don't care about gossip at all.
- "PERV SPOOF BOSSES AXE WRESTLING◊", right next to a headline ogling the breasts of singer Charlotte Church, who was 15 at the time. It proved Chris Morris completely right in the aftermath of a certain special episode of Brass Eye.
The CommunistsThe Communists are a notoriously fractious bunch, and as such they have a number of their own newspapers which may or may not still exist:
- The Morning Star is nominally affiliated with the British Communist Party (well, whichever one still exists); however, it aims for a broader audience than the radical left. It was formerly known as The Daily Worker and jumped ship from a previous Communist Party right as it collapsed during The Great Politics Mess-Up. It's one of the few daily Communist papers, and it's got the highest circulation among them — which isn't saying much.
- The News Line, the daily paper of the far-Trotskyist Workers' Revolutionary Party, is a unique far-left daily. It's largely considered unreadable because of its impenetrable jargon. Its sports pages are quite good, though; its horse racing coverage is even better than that of most mainstream papers.
- Most far-left papers are weekly rather than daily, and they're usually only sold in the street by supporters of the groups that print them. Examples include the Socialist Worker (bitter enemies of News Line), Militant, and the Worker's Hammer.
- Class War is a weekly Anarchist paper with a miniscule circulation. Its only claim to fame is a single headline which quintupled its sales, regarding the birth of Prince William: "ANOTHER FUCKING ROYAL PARASITE IS BORN!"
The Daily Sport
- TITS—The Daily Sport and everything about it distilled into a single word
The News Of the World
- —Statement from News International
- I'm sure that the People will be available for your press releases — right between Jordan's tits and the kinky sex spread.—Piers "Moron" Morgan, during a heated conflict with Alastair Campbell over perceived anti-Labour bias at the Mirror.
- It's basically a foreign country!—Piers "Morgan" Moron
- The Herald, formerly The Glasgow Herald, is a centre-left broadsheet. It historically supported Labour, although was anti-war in Iraq. Its Sunday edition is called The Sunday Herald, and it's strongly in favour of Scottish independence, to the extent of sometimes being overwhelmingly biased — by contrast, The Herald itself is against it.
- The Scotsman, published in Edinburgh, is a slightly right-leaning paper, by which we mean that they don't really distinguish between Lib Dems and New Labour in general terms. It's a broadsheet in terms of content, but published at tabloid size. The Sunday edition is called Scotland on Sunday. It came out against Scottish independence.
- The Daily Record is a Scottish tabloid, published in Glasgow. It's also known as "the Daily Weegie", "The Daily Rangers", and "The Daily Retard". It supports Labour and takes a leftist stance on economic issues, but it tends to be conservative on social issues (it vocally supported a campaign to retain the anti-gay Section 28 legislation), and it's fiercely anti-nationalist. It's the second best-selling paper in Scotland (beaten by only the Sun). It was previously owned by the Mirror Group, when it was basically just the Scottish edition of The Mirror, but it is now independently owned. A cut-down version is sold in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, with a small amount of region-specific exclusive content in each edition. The Sunday edition is The Sunday Mail, which is more leftist and is the best-selling Sunday paper in Scotland.
- The Press & Journal is published in Aberdeen and only available in the North-East of Scotland. It's known in its area as the "P&J". It's incredibly parochial; the rumour goes that the sinking of the Titanic was reported as "North-East Man Lost at Sea". It's independently owned and published; it's right-leaning, but it does not openly support the Conservative party. Infamously supported Donald Trump's controversial Aberdeen golf course, to the point of calling councillors who voted against it "traitors"; Private Eye has observed the interesting coincidence that the editor's wife was Trump's vice president in charge of the development.
- The Sunday Post is Tartan, Heather and Shortbread in Sunday newspaper form. It's published in Dundee and home to iconic Scottish comic strips The Broons and Oor Wullie; no surprise then that it's published by D.C. Thomson, better known for comics such as The Beano and The Dandy. It has no daily edition, because no one could take that level of "Bonnie Scotland" sentiment on a daily basis.
- The National is a more recent newspaper, established in late 2014 as a pro-independence newspaper. It's a sister paper to the Herald and Sunday Herald, but quite clearly modelled after the latter in terms of both presentation and editorial stance. In line with most things in post-referendum Scotland, the response has been... mixed, if Scottish social media is anything to go by, and Private Eye dismisses it as an "SNP fanzine". It's known for its mocking front pages (often involving Photoshop of varying quality) and some of its columnists' use of Meaningless Meaningful Words. It's nicknamed "The Nat Onal" for of its Lucky Charms Title.
Most English papers sell specific Irish editions in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. These range from near-identical to the English versions (the Irish Sun) to substantially different (the Irish Daily Star, which is much less interested in celebrities and cares a lot more about Irish politics). However, some papers you'll find only in Ireland:
- The Belfast Telegraph is a conservative and moderate Unionist daily broadsheet published in Belfast. It's currently the best-selling Northern Ireland-based newspaper.
- The Irish News is published in Belfast and available across Ireland, though it is only a major player in the North. It's a moderate Nationalist compact.
- The News Letter, an ancient Belfast based tabloid, has been published since 1737, making it the longest surviving English-language daily in the world. It's staunchly Unionist in politics, though apparently it was once Republican in its distant past.
- The Impartial Reporter, based mainly around Fermanagh and Enniskillen, tries its hardest to stay out of politics, and a brief look at Northern Irish politics will tell you why and give you the reason for the name. In spite of this, it's viewed in some circles as the local Protestant/Unionist newspaper; a second newspaper in the area, The Fermanagh Herald, is more geared towards Catholic/Nationalist readers. This duopoly in local press according to where you stand on The Irish Question is mirrored in other cities and towns in Northern Ireland. Its second-largest city has weekly papers The Derry Journal and The Londonderry Sentinel — have a guess which community each paper targets.
Freesheets are tabloid-sized newspapers available for free at railway stations and from street vendors — or from the seats of trains, which is where they usually end up. Letters to the Metro have on occasion encouraged people to do this and complained about train staff removing the papers. On the Manchester trams, there are notices encouraging people to leave the Metro on the seat. Conversely, on Manchester area trains and The London Underground there are posters warning that doing so is littering.
- Metro is the biggest such paper and has multiple local editions. No real political views are explicitly expressed in the paper (which doesn't have a comment section), but the writing is reminiscent of its sister paper, the Daily Mail. Amusingly, it once confused a Saudi Royal with an international terrorist. Most of its content is an obsession over The X Factor, reality TV, and pop music. For many years it printed Nemi before dumping all its comic strips as a cost-saving measure. On Fridays, it publishes a column by comedian Richard Herring, leading to much Just Here for Godzilla sentiment.
- thelondonpaper, now defunct, was owned by Rupert Murdoch, but unlike his other papers, it's strongly socially liberal, with regular gay columnists, both male and female. It also frequently put a picture of a scantily-clad woman in its "pictures of the day" section on page 2.
- London Lite, Associated Newspapers-owned (and previously a lite version of the Standard), now defunct.
- City AM is a business paper, with a supplement on sports betting.
News and Political Magazines
- The Spectator is the right-wing weekly news magazine, which dates back to the nineteenth century (although it sometimes naughtily claims descent from a famous unconnected early magazine of the same title from the eighteenth century). It's now owned by the Telegraph Group. It's generally open to all strains of right-wing thought, from the libertarian to the neo-conservative to the old school up-the-aristocracy, and editing the magazine gets you a lot of cred in the Conservative Party (e.g. Boris Johnson). It likes to criticize Political Correctness Gone Mad. It is perhaps the last holdout of the "old fogey" who hates modern music and this scruffy rock 'n' roll and these awful films. It has weekly features on classical music, opera, theatre, and poetry, contrasted with minimal token coverage of everything else. That said, they also have more liberal contributors like Nick Cohen in the mix.
- New Statesman is the left-wing weekly news magazine, popularly known as "the Staggers" because of its perpetual financial precariousness. It lost a lot of prestige thanks to a period when it was owned by a slightly corrupt government minister and became slavishly Blairite. It now seems slightly confused and looking for a role.
- The Economist is a weekly magazine (although it calls itself a newspaper) owned by the Economist Group. It's mostly known in the US as that magazine whose name you throw around if you want to sound smart, whether or not you actually read it. It covers foreign affairs and economic matters from a classic liberal perspective (as opposed to an American liberal one). In the British media, it is considered to be economically quite hard-right-wing but socially libertarian, placing it more or less halfway between the leftmost of the Thatcherite Tories and the rightmost of the Lib Dems (in the US it tends to fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum). It got its dream government in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, which it frequently praised. The news magazine is mostly a loss-leader for the very expensive, specialised, and high-quality business information and economic analysis provided by other bits of the Economist Group.
- The Week is a weekly digest of the week's big news stories, with a fairly dull middle-market middle-wing middle-brow viewpoint. It's the news and politics magazine for people who aren't all that interested in that sort of thing but think they should be making an effort.
- The Big Issue is a weekly magazine which contains articles about social issues. Notably, it specifically exists as a means for homeless people to make a legitimate income; it is only sold in the street by homeless vendors and can't be bought in shops.
- Prospect is a monthly politics magazine with a general establishment-left (although surprisingly anti-immigration at times) and pro-European tendency.
- Standpoint is a monthly politics magazine which is much closer to US Republicanism than any native British ideology, full of stories pointing out how Western civilisation is in danger from the Muslims and their multicultural socialist friends. Opponents contend that it sells sod-all and exists merely as an attempt to persuade Americans with those politics that they have a serious constituency in the UK. It does print notable leftist Nick Cohen, however.
- Spiked, formerly Living Marxism, was created out of the wreckage of that magazine after they falsely accused ITN of inventing Serbian death camps during the Bosnian War. It began as a broadly left-wing but anti-state magazine, but now it seems to get a kick out of saying the opposite of everyone else and essentially dressing up hard-right libertarianism as "revolutionary defeatism" and "anti-state Marxism". Others have said it has no ideology beyond contrarianism, to the point where it endorsed people's "right to view" child pornography during the paedo-panic in the 1990s then reversed course in the 2000s to take a very conservative line on sexual matters, campaigning against gay marriage and the existence of transgender people (they're all just mad, apparently).
- New Internationalist is an alternative magazine based in Oxford with a circulation of 75,000, though with a larger presence online. Since its founding in 1973, it has stayed the course in its focus on promoting global justice and activism. It is also in ways a product of its time (and staff), with a particularly libertarian-socialist and fervently environmentalist slant in its reporting.