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.
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.The United Kingdom has a good number of nationally distributed newspapers, each of which target 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:
- 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 — 494,675 copies a day
- To escape Jury Duty in England, wear a bowler hat and carry a copy of the Telegraph.
- Back in 1908, it had a hand in bringing down the Chancellor of the German Empire when it published an interview with Kaiser Wilhelm II in which he ran his mouth off quite inadvisedly.
- It was the first paper to report on the outbreak of World War II from Poland.
- In 1944, it accidentally used military codewords in its crossword puzzle, including for major operations of the Normandy landings, prompting a major security alarm. It turned out that the crossword editor, who was also headmaster of a boys' school, had been picking up words from his students, who had in turn been picking up words from the military base next door.
- In 2009, it was the first to expose the MP expenses scandal.
- Lately, it has picked up the habit of putting "fruity girls" on the cover at the slightest provocation (most commonly female students celebrating their exam results). It's also got an obsession with Liz Hurley that gave it another derisive nickname, the "Daily Hurleygraph".
- It's got a hilarious rivalry with the left-leaning Guardian.
The Times and the Sunday Times — 396,621 copies a day, 801,623 on Sundays
- 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 — 185,429 copies a day
- Formerly The Manchester Guardian. Officially a "centre-left, liberal" paper. Unique among major UK papers in that its parent company, Guardian Media Group, is owned by a trust which exists to ensure the editorial independence of the group's various publications, and so it's not ultimately beholden to the political or cultural values of any individual publisher. The term "Guardian reader" or "Guardianista" is sometimes used as a derogatory comment on a person's political leanings, similar to the US "latte liberal" or (more to the point) "New York Times liberal". When the chips are down it will tend to support Labour, although in the 2010 general election it declared for the Liberal Democrats (well, it actually declared for "Liberal Democrat, but Labour if they're the only people who can beat the Tories in your constituency"). Although the Times crossword is legendarily difficult, crossword enthusiasts tend to regard the Guardian one more highly. The paper's low circulation is likely due to its commitment to free online news, and the "free democracy of ideas", which cynics call "giving all your content away for nothing so no-one buys the paper", and whilst it is the least bought of the "big three" broadsheets, it has the largest online presence, with the third highest traffic statistics of any British news website (behind the Mail Online and BBC News).
- The Observer - Sunday-only sister paper to The Guardian and the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world. Basically the same, but even more so; also has more arts and culture coverage.
- The Guardian is also notable for recommending that election results should be not what they in fact turn out to be:
- Told Americans not to vote for George W. Bush's second term.
- Told Londoners not to vote for Boris Johnson as mayor.
- And then cautiously sort-of-endorsed the Lib Dems in the 2010 UK election, as a means of keeping out the Tories. After the Tories had got in, the paper jerked sharply back to Labour, and promptly forgot the things that drove them from the party in the first place. Really, theirs is not so much a pro-Labour position as pro-anybody-but-the-bloody-Conservatives-again.
- The 2015 General Election was not kind.◊
- Recommended that Hillary Clinton be elected US president in 2016, although so did basically every other major newspaper in the English-speaking world, so...
- In Summer 2011, having been plugging away at the News of the World phone scandal for years, it blew the doors right off by publishing some revelations that the News of the World had also hacked a murdered teenager's phone and the phones of several dead soldiers. If the Guardian hadn't been investigating so tirelessly, chances are what the News of the World were doing would never have come to light. Even Telegraph columnists have given them props.
- Has been favourable towards the Occupy protest movements, the opinion pages practically endorsing it outright, and even let Occupy "occupy" Comment is Free for a day.
- Can be markedly right-wing in its opposition to the Bolivarian governments of Latin America, and pushes the Foreign Office line in relation to geopolitics (especially regarding Russia) to the same extent as most British newspapers.
- The editors of the New York office of the Guardian have recently set up a blog, English 2 English, designed to explain cultural and linguistic differences between the UK and the US, often set up as a competition between two similar things in each country. Usually, the UK wins (although not always).
- Particularly via Guardian Weekend, The Observer Magazine and the Observer Food Monthly, the entire Guardian group also manages to be Obsessed with Food, in a somewhat London-centred, Islington-dinner-party, sort of way. Notable in that a lot of the advertising in the Observer Food Monthly appears to be for Marks and Spencers and for south-eastern English supermarket chain Waitrose - two of the more expensive places to buy your food in Britain. Has countered this by making a strong effort to review and cover restaurants and food producers in the rest of the country, but really, it does go on about food. A Lot.
The Independent - 61,338 copies a day (to cease print publication in March 2016); 280,351 for lite spinoff 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
- Among its contributing writers is Nigel Farage, then head of UKIP, a right-wing party based largely on hardline immigration policy and leaving the European Union altogether. The editors defended him against criticism largely by citing its independent stance. However, the paper hance since picked up a number of UKIP sympathisers, including among the editorial ranks.
The Financial Times - 219,444 copies a day
- ''What's big, pink, and hard in the morning? The Financial Times crossword.
The Catholic Herald - 21,000 copies per week, distributed to Catholic parishes
- Eating Turkey at Christmas Is Like Nailing an Egg to the Cross!—Spoof Catholic Herald headline by Chris Morris
- It's politically all over the place. It likes the Conservatives' general right-wing stance, but it also supports Labour's social programs in keeping with Catholic social teaching. When Conservative PM David Cameron came out in support of gay marriage, though, it basically gave up and adopted a political position best summarized as "Fuck you all."
- It publishes a lot of Christian apologism, but relatively little of it is anti-atheist Hitler Ate Sugar screeds. It particularly dislikes "commercialized" festivals, especially Halloween, but even Christmas as it's usually celebrated, which gives off a "Stop Having Fun" Guys air. It also has little patience for "cafeteria Catholics".
- It caused a non-troversy when it apparently called for Philip Pullman's books to be burned. It hadn't, but Pullman thought it had, repeating the myth in an interview, from whence it spread.
- The comment threads on its website are populated by a mix of fanatical Traditionalists, atheists (whose comments range from trolling to genuine debate), and a few desperate "mainstream" Catholics, who struggle to inject reason into these incoherent conversations.
- It beat everybody to the scoop that the controversial Pope Pius XII had died in 1958, but it did so in a somewhat un-Christian way. The sick Pope died overnight, after most papers' print deadlines, and most papers waited a day to report on it. The Catholic Herald, however, presumed he would die overnight and famously "didn't bother praying for a miracle".
- It has a long-running rivalry with the more liberal-leaning Catholic magazine The Tablet, in much the same vein as the Telegraph-Guardian rivalry. In particular, the Tablet doesn't particularly toe the Vatican line on such matters as women in the priesthood, contraception, abortion, or the Latin Mass. Catholic Herald readers refer to the Tablet as "the Bitter Pill". Curiously, many Catholic Telegraph writers are Traditionalists who support the Catholic Herald, whereas many Catholic Guardian writers are pro-Tablet, leading to this rivalry being mirrored in the mainstream Telegraph-Guardian rivalry.
- It infamously supported Generalissimo Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War, and it didn't shy away from yellow journalism regarding the Republican government's policies and conduct during the war.
The Yorkshire Post — 39,698 copies per day.Based 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. 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 pitfalls of a regional paper, such as the Yorkshire Post or, its cross-pennine peer The Manchester Evening News trying to get the balance right between "local" and "national" and "world" news, are further discussed in Local Angle.
The Daily Express — 457,914 copies per day.
- 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 and pornographer. That quote was not invented.
- Its owner Richard Desmond is, as previously mentioned, a porn baron (although he sues people who call him that), and the paper advertises his former channels' programmes. Ironically, the paper itself has a very reactionary stance that would oppose pornography in general terms. This creates something of a contradiction. Desmond tried to make himself more respectable through his purchase of Channel Five in 2010, but practically no one watched it before he sold it in 2015.
- Its obsession with Princess Diana largely has to do with conspiracy theories surrounding her death in a car accident in 1997. They've been known to invoke Worst News Judgment Ever with their Diana stories. They consistently print them on Mondays; readers have wised up, and Monday is their lowest circulation day. It's also part of a wider case of Missing White Woman Syndrome.
- Its scare-mongering articles about immigration are so racist that it prompted a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, the newspapers' self-regulatory body — from its own journalists.
- It's rather provincial in its coverage, putting Britain above all else and reporting on severe British weather phenomena at the expense of other more newsworthy stories. It also hates the European Union with a passion (Diana died over there!) and was a big proponent of the 2016 "Brexit".
- Its Crowning Moment of Tastelessness was an article attacking the now-adult survivors of the Dunblane massacre, Britain's deadliest school shooting, because they put pictures of themselves drinking on their Facebook pages. They were able to do this because the journalist in question went online pretending to be a teenager, became Facebook friends with the survivors in question, and then wrote an article about how shameful their behaviour was.note The paper didn't earn any friends by publishing a classic "We apologise if anyone was offended" apology. The journalist in question still works for the newspaper.
- Its website has started promoting conspiracy theories of the "Government hushing up UFOs", "LHC could end the world" kind; Private Eye has speculated this could be related to Desmond's wife believing that stuff.
The Daily Mail — 1,668,727 copies per day
- 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
- One of its most contraversial columnists is Richard Littlejohn, a Heteronormative Crusader who has a rather unhealthy obsession with homosexuality. It's bad enough that the Guardian annually publishes its "Littlejohn Audit", keeping track of his obsession:
Marina Hyde: In the past year's columns, Richard has referred 42 times to gays, 16 times to lesbians, 15 to homosexuals, eight to bisexuals, twice to 'homophobia' and six to being 'homophobic' (note his scornful inverted commas), five times to cottaging, four to "gay sex in public toilets", three to poofs, twice to lesbianism, and once each to buggery, dykery, and poovery. This amounts to 104 references in 90-odd columns — an impressive increase on his 2003 total of 82 mentions. There is, alas, no space for us to revisit the scientific study which found obsessive homophobes more responsive to gay porn. But Richard, we're begging you: talk to someone.
- In 2012, it raised some eyebrows by publishing a column endorsing for President of France Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate of the Front National, a right-wing fringe party similar to UKIP and the BNP. As an indication of how far right this was, the Neo-Nazi Message Board Stormfront applauded the decision. She lost anyway.
- It has a big website — even bigger than that of the Guardian. It likes to use it to dump its most sensationalist articles, where they would be read by foreigners who take it seriously because it's a British paper. Cracked has called them out on this.
- The "FeMail" section of its website is ostensibly devoted to women's issues, but it's essentially a vehicle that allows the Mail to publish smut, with all sorts of codewords being used to sexualise women while still nominally looking progressive. It's a stark contrast to the main paper's social conservatism and moralising about "permissive society". It's been known to apologise for showing naughty pictures but leave them up for posterity (ostensibly for people to be outraged at), and it hasn't shied away from sexualising underage girls. It's earned its reputation as "the sidebar of shame". Despite this, the Mail is still the only paper in the UK with more female than male readers.
- The Mail is obsessed with cancer; everything has been touted to cause cancer (or maybe autism) on its front page. Some things supposedly cure cancer, and some do both on different days. It has its own segment on ridiculous health theories, usually involving fruit, cancer, or fruit that gives you cancer. This is why it's also nicknamed "The Daily Hypochondriac". Comedian Russell Howard created the "Daily Mail Cancer Song", set to the usual tune.
- It obsesses over house prices, usually to complain that they keep rising and leaving the working class unable to afford anything good.
- It has a particular hatred of the BBC, partly because (as it usually fails to mention) the Daily Mail group owns a major share in competing news network ITN. It will bend over backwards to make BBC journalists look bad.
- Jan Moir wrote a column claiming that the death of Steven Gately, member of the Boy Band Boyzone, came because he was gay (and possibly having kinky sex) and not a heart condition.
- Columnist Liz Jones, primarily a fashion writer, did an incredibly tasteless piece where she visited a murder victim's hometown and reported on the crime in the manner of a "lifestyle" piece. Highlights include complaining about poor service at the bar the victim visited before her death and an irrelevant rant about the toll charge on the way out of the city.
- It got in trouble for attacking the deceased father of Labour leader Ed Milliband, claiming that hated Britain and wanted to undermine it, in spite of his being a Jewish Holocaust refugee who went on to serve in the Royal Navy (against the people the Mail supported).
- One saving grace is that it does sometimes have interesting historical articles; for this, we can thank respected historian and former war correspondent Sir Max Hastings. It also has very good photography, resulting in nice nature and landscape photographs and eye-catching news photography (although it mostly puts this skill to paparazzi photos). The crossword isn't bad either.
- Fans of the paper often point to a moment in 1997 when, after five white men were acquitted of killing black teenager Stephen Lawrence, the Mail's front page dared the accused to sue it for calling them guilty. No one did, and fifteen years later, two of them were convicted on new evidence. Critics highlight that 1997 was a long time ago.
The Mail on Sunday — 1,164,571 copies per weekThe 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 — 704,008 copies per day in 2011, now a freesheet
- EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVENIN' STANNITT!—The war cry of its news-vendors
First News - 39,450 copies per weekFirst News is a newspaper for young people of school age. It manages to take a mature and unbiased look at world issues whilst still being kid-friendly. It has everything a newspaper should (in theory) have, but adapted for children.
The Sun - 1,978,702 copies per day
- —Russell Howard on a typical edition
- Perhaps the Sun's most infamous story revolved around the Hillsborough disaster, a stampede at a football match in 1989 that killed 96 Liverpool supporters. They suggested that other Liverpool fans were responsible for it, when it was really caused by horrendous crowd control (and the assumption that the victims were hooligans themselves, which led police to force them back into the crowd when they tried to escape onto the field). They also accused Liverpool fans of attacking first responders and desecrating/looting corpses. It was so offensive that nobody in Liverpool will carry the Sun to this day. Not Liverpool supporters, not people who don't care about football, not fans of Liverpool's bitter crosstown rivals Everton — nobody. The story was largely the brainchild of then-editor Kelvin MacKenzie, who was such a newsroom tyrant that nobody — even those within the Sun who could have seen this coming — could talk him down. MacKenzie apologized, but later recanted claiming Rupert Murdoch pressured him to do so. An inquest in April 2016 finally concluded that it was indeed poor policing and crowd control that led to the disaster, and it opened up enough evidence that victims' families are considering suing News Corporation for their shoddy reporting.
- It thinks very poorly of Romani and Irish Travellers, as evidenced by its "Stamp on the Camp" campaign to have these communities reclassified as some sort of infestation.
- The Sun is well-known for its creative (and often infamous) headlines:
- "Gotcha", referencing the sinking of the General Belgrano in 1982 during The Falklands War. At the time, most people believed it had merely been damaged.
- "It's the Sun Wot Won It", after John Major's Conservatives won a surprising victory in the 1992 general election; the Sun backed them and thus took the credit.
- "Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious", a football reference.
- It briefly changed the name of the paper to "The Son" when Prince George of Cambridge was born in 2013.
- The hysterical headline "ARE WE BEING RUN BY A GAY MAFIA?", leading The News Quiz to snark, ""Do they leave a My Little Pony's head in your bed?" That one prompted such a response that they're a little less openly homophobic these days.
- A particularly dangerous article suggested in its headline "STRAIGHT SEX CANNOT GIVE YOU AIDS". One journalism professor labeled this the worst newspaper article in British history, even beating out the Hillsborough lies. The headline, lest anyone need reminding, is patently untrue and sort of thing can actively endanger the readership's lives.
- It subscribes to the belief that video games are evil; it blames violent video games such as Call of Duty for pretty much any real-life shooting you'd care to name. It caught particular flack for blaming the Sandy Hook shooting in the US on Call of Duty: Black Ops, despite elsewhere rating the game positively and making that article a front-page spread, essentially making money off of dead children.
The Daily Mirror - 992,235 copies a day
- —Spokesman for the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, during the paper's finest hour and sacking of its least-regarded editor.
- The Mirror has a long and odd history of enmity with Private Eye, in spite of them not taking anybody in the media particularly seriously. The Mirror would devote vast resources to the "battle", suing the magazine and its editor Ian Hislop for £225,000 (about half a million 2013 pounds); Hislop famously snarked about giving "a fat cheque to a fat Czech" (Maxwell having been born in Czechoslovakia). It even called Hislop's vicar asking for "dirt". The most they could dig up were invented stories about Hislop's alleged "chronic piles" and "weird obsession with tangerines".
- Its most famous editor, Piers Morgan, was sacked over faked pictures of abuse in Iraq. He had long been a target of ridicule (including from Private Eye, who always called him some variant of "Piers Moron"), and he wound up being banished to America to be an anchor on CNN. The vicious Iraq War coverage led to people spitting on soldiers in the street before the pictures were exposed as false; the military has lost all respect for the Mirror, but they generally don't think of it as worth really attacking. As the Queen's Lancashire Regiment put it:
This regiment has taken on Louis XIV, Napoleon, the Kaiser, and Hitler. I doubt Piers Morgan will detain us long.note
- It notably "mentioned the war" in the run-up to the Euro '96 semifinal between England and Germany, going so far as to go on an extended riff about "declaring football war" on Germany. It didn't work, as England lost in pretty heartbreaking fashion. The superstitious consider that a jinx.
- It was interestingly founded as a "paper for women", and it's trying to rediscover that niche, to the point that generally about half of its content it aimed specifically at women, with the remainder (barring the sports pages) being largely gender-neutral. The exception is Saturday and Monday, which is largely dedicated to football anyway.
The Daily Star - 625,246 copies a day
- 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.
- "JORDAN CELEBRATES HOT BABY NEWS" had little to do with her pregnancy but a lot to do with the Star's obsession with her.
- "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.
- "DEAD FANS ROBBED BY DRUNK THUGS" had to do with the Hillsborough disaster that cost the Sun its Liverpool circulation. It was just as outrageous, but unlike the Sun, they never really followed up on that (actually, the paper's circulation is mostly limited to —certain parts of— Metropolitan London).
- "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 Communists — 10,000 per day, 150,000 in its 1940s heyday.The 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 guide was even better than 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 — 84,000 copies a day, before it ran out of money
- TITS—The Daily Sport and everything about it distilled into a single word
The News Of the World — 2,789,560 copies a day in its heyday; it has since choked to death on its own filth
- —Statement from News International.
The People — 594,552 copies per week
- I'm sure that the People will be available for your press releases - right between Jordan's tits and the kinky sex spread.—Piers "Morgan" Moron, during a heated conflict with Alastair Campbell over perceived anti-Labour bias at the Mirror.
- The People is a Sunday-only sister to the Sunday Mirror. No one reads it — or rather, no one admits to reading it, since the Sunday Mirror is basically the same but with better brand recognition and less pronographic connotations. Somehow, though, it's still going after 130 years. It's notorious for Bait and Switch front pages involving celebrities' "lady bits", usually purporting to show a photograph of national celebrities' "downstairs", and an article that winds up having only a tangential relationship to anything.
- It's basically a foreign country!Piers "Morgan" Moron
- The Herald: Formerly The Glasgow Herald, a centre-left broadsheet. Generally supports Labour, although was anti-war in Iraq and frequently attacks the opponents of the Scottish National Party. Sunday edition is called The Sunday Herald, which is 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, slightly right leaning, by which we mean that they don't really distinguish between between Lib Dems and New Labour in general terms (again, this is Scotland). 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: Scottish tabloid, published in Glasgow. Also known as "the Daily Weegie", "The Daily Rangers", and "The Daily Retard". Supports Labour and takes a leftist stance on economic issues but tends to be conservative on social issues (it vocally supported a campaign to retain the anti-gay Section 28 legislation). Second best selling paper in Scotland (beaten by The Sun). Fiercely, fiercely anti-nationalist. 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 biggest selling Sunday paper in Scotland.
- The Press & Journal: Published in Aberdeen and only available in the North-East of Scotland. Incredibly parochial (the rumour goes that the sinking of the Titanic was reported as "North-East Man Lost At Sea"). Right leaning, but does not openly support the Conservative party. Independently owned and published. Known in its area as the P&J. 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: Tartan, Heather and Shortbread in Sunday newspaper form. Published in Dundee and home to iconic Scottish comic strips The Broons and Oor Wullie. No daily edition, because no one could take that level of "Bonnie Scotland" sentiment on a daily basis. Published by D.C. Thomson, better known for comics such as The Beano and The Dandy.
- The National: A more recent newspaper, established in late 2014 as a pro-independence newspaper. Sister paper to the Herald and Sunday Herald, but quite clearly modeled after the latter in terms of both presentation and editorial stance. Known for its mocking front pages (often involving Photoshop of varying quality) and its columnists' use of Meaningless Meaningful Words. Often referred to as "The Nat Onal" because of its Lucky Charms Title. Dismissed by Private Eye as an "SNP fanzine".
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: Published in Belfast (obviously), a conservative and moderate Unionist daily broadsheet. Currently the best selling Northern Irish based newspaper.
- The Irish News: Published in Belfast and available across Ireland, though it is only a major player in the North. A moderate Nationalist compact.
- The News Letter: Ancient Belfast based tabloid, published since 1737, making it the longest surviving English-language daily in the world. Staunchly Unionist in politics, though apparently it was once Republican in its distant past.
- The Impartial Reporter, based mainly around Fermanagh and Enniskillen. Tries 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 and has multiple local editions. No real political views explicitly expressed in the paper (it doesn't have a comment section), but the writing is reminiscent of its sister paper, the Daily Mail. Amusingly, 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 and, on Fridays, still publishes a column by comedian Richard Herring, leading to much Just Here for Godzilla sentiment.
- thelondonpaper. Frequently sticks a picture of a scantily-clad woman in its "pictures of the day" section on page 2. It was owned by Rupert Murdoch, go figure. Although unlike Murdoch's other papers, it was strongly socially liberal, with male and female regular gay columnists. Now defunct.
- London Lite. Associated Newspapers owned (and previously a lite version of the Standard), now defunct.
- City AM. A business paper, with a supplement on sports betting.
- The Evening Standard: see "Mid-market tabloids". Turned into a freesheet in October 2009, after The London Paper closed down, prompting the closure of London Lite too.
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). Now owned by the Telegraph Group. 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). 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. Lost a lot of prestige thanks to a period when it was owned by a slightly corrupt government minister and became slavishly Blairite. 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. Known in the US mostly as that magazine whose name you throw around if you want to sound smart whether or not you actually read it. Covers foreign affairs and economic matters from a classic liberal perspective (as opposed to American liberal). 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 has 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. The news and politics magazine for people who aren't all that interested but think they should be making an effort.
- Private Eye is a fortnightly satirical magazine edited by Ian Hislop of Have I Got News for You fame. Notable for having better investigative journalism than most of the proper papers, with the twin results of breaking many scandals earlier than anyone else, and being the subject of countless libel suits (Hislop frequently publishes the letters threatening legal action, and occasionally describes himself as "the most-sued man in British legal history"). It's responsible for most of the nicknames of the other papers you see here. It also uses the anonymity of its journalists and its status as a "not-quite-proper" news magazine to insert plenty of little teasers about stories the Eye doesn't have enough to support in a court of law, usually in the hope of spooking the subjects or getting more informants.
- It has a slightly split personality. The news pages tend to be quite left-of-centre (they even co-sponsor an investigative journalism prize with the Guardian), although it doesn't hesitate to attack Labour whenever possible (old conflicts between Hislop and the party). The cultural coverage, meanwhile, tends to "all modern art is a con trick and all pop culture is trash" conservatism. More generally, it can be seen as anti-Establishment, which in political terms means anti-right and in cultural terms means conservative.
- People familiar with the French press (no, not the one you use for coffee) should think of Le Canard enchaîné as more or less an exact equivalent, albeit a much shorter one. Americans should think of The Daily Show, but in print form and only coming out once every two weeks. The second half consists of parodies similar to the USA's The Onion, whereas the first half is investigative journalism.
- The magazine generally dislikes the American government, and often criticizes it for its actions in Guantanamo and in the Chagos Islands (notably, it is equally critical of Brtish actions), although it (in a decision which surprised some readers) is generally anti-Julian Assange, breaking a story involving his links to anti-Semitism. Its attitude to US politics can be best summed up as "a plague on both your houses", though it seems to consider the Republicans to be especially dangerous. Editor Ian Hislop memorably summed up US politics like this: "Well, you have the Democrats, who are right wing, the Republican party who are very right wing, and the Tea Party, who are mad."
- Famous for its enormous collection of in-jokes, both in terms of the actual content of the magazine (various euphemisms are used, as well as a seeming obsession with the number "94") and in meta-terms. Political insiders report that the Eye normally carries as much news in its joke pages as it does in its news ones, for those in the know.
- The Big Issue is a weekly magazine which contains articles about social issues. Notable as 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: 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. Rumoured by opponents to sell sod-all and to be published 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 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.