Learn more about The Times
The Times is a national newspaper published daily in the United Kingdom since 1785, and under its current name since 1788. For much of its history it has been regarded as Britain's newspaper of record and preserved in the British Library's newspaper library in that capacity. It has played an influential role in politics and shaping public opinion about foreign events.
The Times, and its sister paper The Sunday Times, are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary of News International, itself wholly owned by the News Corporation group, headed by Rupert Murdoch. Though traditionally a right-wing newspaper and a strong supporter of the Conservatives, it has supported New Labour in the two last elections,<ref>FT.com / News in depth / UK Election - Election 2005: What the papers said</ref> after Murdoch allied himself with Tony Blair<ref>David Rose, "Government refuses to reveal details of Murdoch meetings. In Press Gazette, December 15, 2005.</ref>. It has also come to stress Murdoch's "neo-conservative" views over the broader and more balanced range of conservative views it has traditionally put forward.<ref>Material Which Never Made It To Publication</ref>
Outside the UK, The Times is sometimes referred to as "The London Times",<ref>"Website Requires Payment to View Article", WantToKnow.info. URL accessed on 10 June 2006.</ref> or "The Times of London"<ref name="reuters">Murdoch's Times of London to launch US edition, a May 26, 2006 Reuters article</ref> in order to distinguish it from the many other "Times" papers, such as The New York Times, The Times of India, and The Irish Times. It is also the originator of the ubiquitous Times New Roman typeface, originally developed by Stanley Morison of The Times in collaboration with the Monotype Corporation.
The Times, printed in broadsheet format for 200 years, switched to compact size in 2004, in an attempt to appeal to younger readers<ref name="reuters" />. In May 2006, it announced plans to launch a United States edition<ref name="reuters" />; it began publishing on June 6 of the same year.
The Times was founded by John Walter in 1785 as The Daily Universal Register. Unhappy with Universal being universally ignored by the public, Walter changed the title after 940 editions on 1 January, 1788 to The Times. John Walter was also the first editor of the paper. He resigned in 1803, handing ownership and editorship to the second John Walter. The first John Walter had already spent sixteen months in Newgate prison for libel printed in The Times, but his pioneering efforts to obtain European news, especially from France, helped build the paper's reputation among policy makers and financiers.
The Times used contributions from significant figures in the fields of politics, science, literature, and the arts to build its reputation. For much of its early life, the profits of The Times were very large and the competition minimal, so it could pay far better than its rivals for information or writers.
In 1809, John Stoddart was appointed general editor, replaced in 1817 with Thomas Barnes. Under Barnes and his successor in 1841, John Thadeus Delane, the influence of The Times rose to great heights, especially in politics and amongst the City of London. Peter Fraser and Edward Sterling were two noted hacks and gained for The Times the pompous/satirical nickname 'The Thunderer' (from "We thundered out the other day an article on social and political reform.").
The Times was the first newspaper to send special correspondents abroad, and it was the first to send war correspondents to cover particular conflicts. W. H. Russell, the paper's correspondent with the army in the Crimean War, was immensely influential<ref>Philip Knightley, The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth-maker from the Crimea to the Gulf War II</ref> with his dispatches back to England.
In other events of the 19th century, The Times opposed the repeal of the Corn Laws until the number of demonstrations convinced the editorial board otherwise, and only reluctantly supported aid to victims of the Irish Potato Famine. During the American Civil War, The Times represented the view of the wealthy classes, favouring the secessionists, but it was not a supporter of slavery. Its support of individual politicians was internally driven and did not pander to public opinion.
The third John Walter had succeeded his father in 1847. Though the Walters were becoming more conservative, the paper continued as more or less independent. From the 1850s, however, The Times was beginning to suffer from the rise in competition from the penny press, notably The Daily Telegraph and The Morning Post.
In 1922, John Jacob Astor, a son of the 1st Viscount Astor, bought The Times from the Northcliffe family estate. The paper gained a measure of notoriety in the 1930s with its advocacy of German appeasement; then-editor Geoffrey Dawson was closely allied with those in the government who practised appeasement, most notably Neville Chamberlain.
In 1967, members of the Astor family sold the paper to Canadian publishing magnate Roy Thomson, and in the same year it started printing news on the front page for the first time. (Previously, the paper's front page featured small advertisements, usually of interest to the moneyed classes in British society.) The Thomson Corporation merged it with The Sunday Times to form Times Newspapers Limited.
The Thomson Corporation management were struggling to run a business under the grip of the print unions at the height of Union powers. Union demands was increasingly difficult to meet. Management were left with no choice but to save both titles by finding a buyer who was in a position to guarantee the survival of both titles, and also one who had the resources and was committed to funding the inevitable migration to technology-based printing.
Several suitors appeared, including Robert Maxwell, Tiny Rowland and Lord Rothermere; however, only one buyer was in a position to fulfill the full Thomson remit. That buyer was the Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch.
Both papers had their survival guaranteed and it marked a significant own goal for the radical elements within the Trade Union movement.
 Rupert Murdoch
In 1981, The Times and The Sunday Times were purchased from Thomson by Rupert Murdoch's News International.
Murdoch soon began making his mark on the paper, replacing its editor, William Rees-Mogg, with Harold Evans in 1981. One of his most important changes was in the introduction of new technology and efficiency measures. In March–May 1982, following agreement with print unions, the hot-metal Linotype printing process used to print The Times since the 19th century was phased out and replaced by computer input and photo-composition. This allowed the staff of the print rooms of The Times and The Sunday Times to be reduced by half. However, direct input of text by journalists ("single stroke" input) was still not achieved, and this was to remain an interim measure until the Wapping dispute of 1986, which saw The Times move from its home at New Printing House Square in Gray's Inn Road (near Fleet Street) to new offices in Wapping<ref>Alan Hamilton, "The Times bids farewell to old technology". The Times, May 1, 1982, pg. 2, col. C.</ref>.
In June 1990, The Times abandoned its policy of using courtesy titles on first reference ("Mr", "Mrs", or "Miss" prefixes for living persons) but continue to use them on subsequent references. The more formal style is now confined to the "Court and Social" page, though "Ms" is now acceptable in that section.
In November 2003, News International began producing the newspaper in both broadsheet and compact sizes. On 13 September 2004, the weekday broadsheet was withdrawn from sale in Northern Ireland. Since 1 November 2004, the paper has been printed solely in compact format. Whilst the newspaper published dual editions, some claimed that the compact version featured more sensationalist stories than the broadsheet, such as celebrities on the front page. This was denied by management at News International.
The Conservative Party announced plans to launch litigation against The Times over an incident in which the newspaper claimed that Conservative election strategist Lynton Crosby had admitted that his party would not win the 2005 General Election. The Times later published a clarification, and the litigation was dropped.
On 6 June 2005, The Times redesigned its Letters page, dropping the practice of printing correspondents' full postal addresses. According to its leading article, "From Our Own Correspondents", this was in order to fit more letters onto the page.
In September 2005, the cover price of The Times was raised to 60p, the same as The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, and 5p less than The Independent. It was the first time in twelve years that the cover price of The Times has matched that of its rivals, a clear indication that News International was no longer prepared to fund the price war it had launched in September 1993 by cutting the price of The Times from 45p to 30p.
 The Times today
The newspaper's cover price in the United Kingdom is 65p on weekdays (20p for students, at some university campus shops), and £1.30 on Saturday. The Times' Sunday sister paper is The Sunday Times, a broadsheet. Its cover price is £2.
The certified average circulation figures for November 2005 show that The Times sold 692,581 copies per day. This was the highest achieved under the current editor, Robert Thomson, and ensured that the newspaper remained ahead of The Daily Telegraph in terms of full rate sales, although The Daily Telegraph remains the market leader for broadsheets, with a circulation of 905,955 copies, owing to over 300,000 discount subscribers each day. Tabloid newspapers, such as The Sun, at present outsell both papers with a circulation of around 3,274,855, with their far broader appeal and content.
Long considered the UK's newspaper of record, The Times is seen by some as a serious publication with high standards of journalism. Others, including employees of The Times feel it has gone downmarket since being acquired by Murdoch; they cite its coverage of celebrities as evidence, though this increased coverage of and emphasis on celebrity- and sports-related news is rarely given prominence on the front page. It is not without trenchant critics, however: Robert Fisk<ref>Robert Fisk, 2005. The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East. London: Fourth Estate, pp329-334. ISBN 1-84115-007-X</ref>, seven times British International Journalist of the Year, resigned as foreign correspondent in 1988 over what he saw as political censorship of his article on the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 in July of that year.
 Readership profile and image
The British Business Survey 2005 named The Times as the UK's leading daily newspaper for business people. This independent survey was sponsored by The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, and The Times.
The latest figures from the national readership survey show The Times to have the highest number of ABC1 25–44 readers and the largest numbers of readers in London of any of the "quality" papers.
 Times 2 / T2
T2 is The Times's main supplement, featuring various lifestyle columns. On 5 September 2005, it relaunched as Times 2 and is now and aimed at women, describing itself as The thinking woman's daily supplement. It has an image of the day and a modern morals column, where people ask Joe Joseph if they lead moral lives. However, the supplement continues to be popular with male readers, it containing a sudoku puzzle and a simpler, concise crossword.
Crème is the newspaper's supplement for "PAs, secretaries, executive assistants and anyone who works in administrative support."<ref>http://www.timesonline.co.uk/section/0,,8247,00.html</ref> It is read by more secretaries than The Guardian and The Evening Standard<ref>NRS, April 04 – March 05</ref>.
 The Times Magazine
The Times Magazine accompanies the newspaper on Saturday, and features columns touching on various subjects such as celebrities, fashion and beauty, food and drink, homes and gardens or simply writers' anecdotes. Notable contributors include Gordon Ramsay, one of Britain's highest profile chefs, and Giles Coren, Food And Drink Writer of the Year in 2005.
The Times, along with the British Film Institute, sponsors the London Film Festival (or more specifically, The Times bfi London Film Festival). As of 2005, it is Europe's largest public event for motion pictures.
The Times also sponsors the Cheltenham Festival of Literature.
 In popular culture
- During the time Ian Fleming was writing his James Bond books, Fleming had established that James Bond often is a reader of The Times.
- In George Orwell's classic, Nineteen Eighty-Four (written in the 1940s), the main character Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to edit reportings in previous issues of The Times in order for the government's targets to appear upheld.
- A Punch cartoon once featured a butler ushering into his master's presence "Three reporters, m'lud, and a gentleman from The Times".
- On two occasions in 1882 a practical joker at the Times inserted a few words of obscenity into the text of the newspaper: in both cases, it was put on sale before the interpolation was noticed (see Harcourt interpolation).
- In the Monty Python sketch Ministry of silly walks, the lead character played by John Cleese purchases a copy of The Times before going to the ministry.
- In his book Notes From a Small Island, Bill Bryson writes that when he was deputy editor of the business section at The Times, he was often unable to gain access to the day's stock exchange values, mainly because a co-worker often refused to give them to him. As a result, and for more than a year, he used the market values from the early edition of The Financial Times.
 Notes and references
 External links
- Official website, including a Style Guide
- Driving section including news, reviews and opinion from Jeremy Clarkson.
- Wapping: legacy of Rupert's revolution, January 15, 2006 - The Observer - Three views of the industrial dispute twenty years on.
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