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A History of UK Newspapers | Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 1552 words Published: 17th May 2017

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This newspaper assignment will set out to critically analyse newspapers by comparing political persuasion, ownership, readership, content and style. The chosen two newspapers that will be analysed will be The Sun and The Guardian.

The researcher has chosen to analyse, for this assignment a newspaper story exposing taxpayer’s cash being wasted by EU chiefs.

A brief history of Newspapers

British newspapers can be traced back to the 17th century, but they were very different to the types of newspapers many people read today, the information in these early newspapers mainly got distributed to the public in the form of posters, news sheets or pamphlets. The first true British newspaper to be published in Britain similar to the ones we read today was the Oxford Gazette in the year 1665. (London-gazette.co.uk).

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Although this newspaper was originally called the Oxford Gazette it later changed its name to the London Gazette because of a decision by King Charles the II to move his government to Oxford. The London Gazette from the beginning was a good source of reliable news, especially for information overseas. In fact Wellington’s Waterloo victory was published first in the London Gazette. (London-gazette.co.uk).

Brief history of The Sun newspaper

The Sun was first published on the 25th of January 1911 and was originally called The Daily Herald. Initially a left wing paper, it was printed periodically to offer support to strikers at the time. In 1922 it became the official newspaper of the (TUC) Trade Union Congress and was a Labour Party supporter at the time. (Historic newspapers.co.uk).

After changing its name from The Daily Herald to The Sun, The Sun printed its first edition on the 15th of September 1964. After a short period of two months from the first edition, world media tycoon Rupert Murdoch acquired The Sun after unsuccessful bids by Robert Maxwell. (Historic newspapers.co.uk).

The Sun newspaper is owned by The News Corporation Group and is part of the News Group Newspapers. Published daily it sells over 2899,310 copies per day, and at its peak in the mid 90’s The Sun was selling over 4,000,000 newspapers a day. Normally considered to be Conservative, The Sun has been known for supporting the ruling party, and even supported Tony Blair during his three election wins. (Historic newspapers.co.uk).

The readership age average of The Sun is 15-24 year old, having a higher % of male reading The Sun than females. The Southeast of England has been shown to have the highest readership of The Sun newspaper. (Ipsos-mori.com).

Brief history of The Guardian newspaper

The Guardian newspaper, originally known as the Manchester Guardian was first published on May the 5th 1821 and founded by a man named John Edward Taylor. The Manchester Guardian’s intention at the time was to promote liberal interest in the aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre and the growing campaign to repel Corn Laws that Manchester suffered from at the time. To begin with the newspaper was published weekly until 1836 when it was published every Wednesday and Saturday, by 1855 the newspaper became daily. (Guardian.co.uk).

Under the editorship of C.P Scott, The Guardian achieved national and international recognition and held this post for 57 years. CP Scott bought the paper in 1907 pledging to uphold the principles of the founder’s, that the newspaper would retain its independence. After retiring from an active role in managing and editing the newspaper, C.P Scott passed control to his two sons John Russell as manager and Edward Taylor as editor, where these roles would remain until the death of C.P Scott in 1932. Unfortunately only four months after the death of his father, Edward Scott died and sole ownership was passed to J.R Scott. In 1936 this sole ownership was then formally passed to the trustees of The Scott Trust. In 1944 AD Wadsworth took the post of editor where in 1964 the editor and paper moved to London. (Guardian.co.uk).

The political persuasion of The Guardian as always learned towards the left supporting Labour throughout most its history, however it has been known to support the LibDem’s and even supported Conservative in the 1955 election. (Guardian.co.uk).

The average readership age of The Guardian is 24-34 year old, with a higher % of males reading The Guardian than females, London has the highest readership of this newspaper. (Ipos-mori.com).

The difference between broadsheet and tabloid newspaper’s

Income, age, social class and education have all been shown to have a positive correlation between who reads broadsheet or tabloid newspapers. Tabloid newspapers are usually smaller than broadsheet papers with a simple style, having many more photographs and often focusing on gossip and celebrity news rather than political affairs. Tabloids prefer to use a journalese style of writing promoting emotion in its reader’s using words like “huge, crackdown, bubbly blonde, love rat, love child and cops instead of Police”. Broadsheets in contrast like to use longer sentences and paragraphs often going into greater detail in their stories using a less dramatic approach in their writing style. (English lesson 2, newspaper hand out).

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Analysing the newspaper articles on Yuri Gagarin’s 50th anniversary first space flight

The first main difference that is noticeable between the two chosen newspapers is the style of headlines, The Sun states in its headline “First man in space parachuted into a ploughed field and had to borrow farmer’s phone to tell Moscow he was safe.” The Sun is clearly using a comical approach in this headline trying to show the incompetence of the Russian space program at the time, in contrast The Guardian uses a more professional approach in its headlines stating “Yuri, we have a problem: secrets of Gagarin trip revealed.”

The second noticeable difference is the introduction of the two stories, The Sun emphasis’s emotion in its readers by using big words such as “out of this world, huge blow, and his feat”. However The Guardian hints at more informative facts within its story, taking a professional approach mentioning “Newly released files cast light on hitches,” drawing its readers into the story by hinting at facts and figures.

The third noticeable difference between the two stories is how the two papers are structured. The Sun breaks its story up into little sections by using subheadings such as “Orbit, Blurry and Spirit,” making the story quicker and easier to read by jumping to certain sections of the story if the reader chooses too. The Guardian however chooses not to do this, making for a more comprehensive read.

The fourth difference between the two papers is how they give the information within the story. The Sun chooses to give little snippets of information, giving their readers a choice to gain information quickly if they choose too, they do this by adding a timeline and adding subsections. The Guardian again, chooses not do this only giving their readers a choice of the main story or a sub story on a mall statue.

The fifth difference is the style of picture between the two papers The Sun uses a larger more dramatic picture mixed with images such as the Vostok 1 blasting off, Gagarin’s funeral, Image’s of space and Yuri Gagarin in training. The Guardian however has a much smaller picture only showing Gagarin in his cosmonaut suit.

The sixth and final difference between the two newspaper stories is how they are written. The Sun uses a journalese style of writing, for example its story has many words such as “tiny, plunges, dramatic, plummeting and profoundly” making for a very dramatic read. The Guardian however has a more down to earth approach to its story using more formal words such as “technical, acceptable, apparatus and intrigue.”


From analysing the two newspapers it can be clearly seen that they are designed to cater for two very different types of readers. The Guardian seems to be aimed for a more professional type of clientele. The reader of this paper will probably have a university education, with strong political views. The Guardian readers are also more likely commute to work on long train journeys. The style of writing in The Guardian paper gives a more comprehensive read with an in-depth approach to facts and figures it is perfectly suited to the more professional type of individual.

The Sun, in contrast seems to be aimed at a totally different type of clientele. With its eye catching headlines and easy to read stories giving short snippets of information. This paper is ideally suited to the individual who is not that fussy on politics, whose education probably ended in college or secondary school, and makes short journeys to work getting small tea breaks throughout the day. The style of The Sun newspaper is perfectly suited to this type of individual who is probably on the go most of the day and doesn’t get much time to take in the daily news.


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