The Times
Thetimespapercover.jpg
Front-page of The Times from 19 October 2015
TypeDaily newspaper
FormatCompact
Owner(s)News UK
EditorJohn Witherow[1]
Founded1 January 1785; 235 years ago (1785-01-01) (as The Daily Universal Register)
HeadquartersThe News Building (London)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Circulation417,298 (Print, 2019)
220,000 (Digital, 2018)[2]
Sister newspapersThe Sunday Times
ISSN0140-0460
Websitewww.thetimes.co.uk

The Times is a British daily (Monday to Saturday) national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times (founded in 1821) are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, in turn wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.

In 1959, the historian of journalism Allan Nevins analysed the importance of The Times in shaping the views of events of London's elite:

For much more than a century The Times has been an integral and important part of the political structure of Great Britain. Its news and its editorial comment have in general been carefully coordinated, and have at most times been handled with an earnest sense of responsibility. While the paper has admitted some trivia to its columns, its whole emphasis has been on important public affairs treated with an eye to the best interests of Britain. To guide this treatment, the editors have for long periods been in close touch with 10 Downing Street.[3]

The Times is the first newspaper to have borne that name, lending it to numerous other papers around the world, such as The Times of India and The New York Times. In countries where these other titles are popular, the newspaper is often referred to as The London Times[4][5][6][7][8] or The Times of London,[9] although the newspaper is of national scope and distribution.

The Times is the originator of the widely used Times New Roman typeface, originally developed by Stanley Morison of The Times in collaboration with the Monotype Corporation for its legibility in low-tech printing. In November 2006 The Times began printing headlines in a new font, Times Modern. The Times was printed in broadsheet format for 219 years, but switched to compact size in 2004 in an attempt to appeal more to younger readers and commuters using public transport. The Sunday Times remains a broadsheet.

The Times had an average daily circulation of 417,298 in January 2019;[2] in the same period, The Sunday Times had an average weekly circulation of 712,291.[2] An American edition of The Times has been published since 6 June 2006.[10] The Times has been heavily used by scholars and researchers because of its widespread availability in libraries and its detailed index. A complete historical file of the digitised paper, up to 2010, is online from Gale Cengage Learning.[11][12]

History

1785 to 1890

Front page of The Times from 4 December 1788

The Times was founded by publisher John Walter on 1 January 1785 as The Daily Universal Register,[13] with Walter in the role of editor.[14] Walter had lost his job by the end of 1784 after the insurance company where he worked went bankrupt due to losses from a Jamaican hurricane. Unemployed, Walter began a new business venture.[15][16] At that time, Henry Johnson invented the logography, a new typography that was reputedly faster and more precise (although three years later, it was proved less efficient than advertised). Walter bought the logography's patent and with it opened a printing house to produce books.[16] The first publication of the newspaper The Daily Universal Register was on 1 January 1785. Walter changed the title after 940 editions on 1 January 1788 to The Times.[13][16] In 1803, Walter handed ownership and editorship to his son of the same name.[16] In spite of Walter Sr's sixteen-month stay in Newgate Prison for libel printed in The Times,[16] his pioneering efforts to obtain Continental news, especially from France, helped build the paper's reputation among policy makers and financiers.[citation needed]

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. Beginning in 1814, the paper was printed on the new steam-driven cylinder press developed by Friedrich Koenig.[17][18] In 1815, The Times had a circulation of 5,000.[19]

Thomas Barnes was appointed general editor in 1817. In the same year, the paper's printer James Lawson, died and passed the business onto his son John Joseph Lawson (1802–1852). Under the editorship of 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 journalists, 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 increased circulation and influence of the paper was based in part to its early adoption of the steam-driven rotary printing press. Distribution via steam trains to rapidly growing concentrations of urban populations helped ensure the profitability of the paper and its growing influence.[20]

The Times was one of the first newspapers to send war correspondents to cover particular conflicts. William Howard Russell, the paper's correspondent with the army in the Crimean War, was immensely influential with his dispatches back to England.[21][22]

A wounded British officer reading The Times's report of the end of the Crimean War, in John Everett Millais' painting Peace Concluded.

1890 to 1981

The Times faced financial extinction in 1890 under Arthur Fraser Walter, but it was rescued by an energetic editor, Charles Frederic Moberly Bell. During his tenure (1890–1911), The Times became associated with selling the Encyclopædia Britannica using aggressive American marketing methods introduced by Horace Everett Hooper and his advertising executive, Henry Haxton. Due to legal fights between the Britannica's two owners, Hooper and Walter Montgomery Jackson, The Times severed its connection in 1908 and was bought by pioneering newspaper magnate, Alfred Harmsworth, later Lord Northcliffe.[23]

In editorials published on 29 and 31 July 1914, Wickham Steed, the Times's Chief Editor, argued that the British Empire should enter World War I.[24] On 8 May 1920, also under the editorship of Steed, The Times in an editorial endorsed the anti-Semitic fabrication The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion as a genuine document, and called Jews the world's greatest danger. In the leader entitled "The Jewish Peril, a Disturbing Pamphlet: Call for Inquiry", Steed wrote about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

What are these 'Protocols'? Are they authentic? If so, what malevolent assembly concocted these plans and gloated over their exposition? Are they forgery? If so, whence comes the uncanny note of prophecy, prophecy in part fulfilled, in part so far gone in the way of fulfillment?".[25]

The following year, when Philip Graves, the Constantinople (modern Istanbul) correspondent of The Times, exposed The Protocols as a forgery,[26] The Times retracted the editorial of the previous year.

In 1922, John Jacob Astor, son of the 1st Viscount Astor, bought The Times from the Northcliffe estate. The paper gained a measure of notoriety in the 1930s with its advocacy of German appeasement; editor Geoffrey Dawson was closely allied with those in the government who practised appeasement, most notably Neville Chamberlain. Candid news reports by Norman Ebbut from Berlin that warned of warmongering were rewritten in London to support the appeasement policy.[27][28]

Kim Philby, a double agent with primary allegiance to the Soviet Union, was a correspondent for the newspaper in Spain during the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. Philby was admired for his courage in obtaining high-quality reporting from the front lines of the bloody conflict. He later joined British Military Intelligence (MI6) during World War II, was promoted into senior positions after the war ended, and defected to the Soviet Union when discovery was inevitable in 1963.[29]

Between 1941 and 1946, the left-wing British historian E. H. Carr was assistant editor. Carr was well known for the strongly pro-Soviet tone of his editorials.[30] In December 1944, when fighting broke out in Athens between the Greek Communist ELAS and the British Army, Carr in a Times leader sided with the Communists, leading Winston Churchill to condemn him and the article in a speech to the House of Commons.[31] As a result of Carr's editorial, The Times became popularly known during that stage of World War II as "the threepenny Daily Worker" (the price of the Communist Party's Daily Worker being one penny).[32]

On 3 May 1966 it resumed printing news on the front page – previously the front page had been given over to small advertisements, usually of interest to the moneyed classes in British society. Also in 1966, the Royal Arms, which had been a feature of the newspaper's masthead since its inception, was abandoned.[33][34] In 1967 members of the Astor family sold the paper to Canadian publishing magnate Roy Thomson. His Thomson Corporation brought it under the same ownership as The Sunday Times to form Times Newspapers Limited.[citation needed]

An industrial dispute prompted the management to shut the paper for nearly a year from 1 December 1978 to 12 November 1979.[35]

The Thomson Corporation management were struggling to run the business due to the 1979 energy crisis and union demands. Management sought a buyer who was in a position to guarantee the survival of both titles, and had the resources and was committed to funding the introduction of modern printing methods.[citation needed]

Several suitors appeared, including Robert Maxwell, Tiny Rowland and Lord Rothermere; however, only one buyer was in a position to meet the full Thomson remit, Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch. Robert Holmes à Court, another Australian magnate had previously tried to buy The Times in 1980.[citation needed]

From 1981

The Times cover (5 June 2013)

In 1981, The Times and The Sunday Times were bought from Thomson by Rupert Murdoch's News International.[36] The acquisition followed three weeks of intensive bargaining with the unions by company negotiators John Collier and Bill O'Neill. Murdoch gave legal undertakings to maintain separate journalism resources for the two titles.[37] The Royal Arms was reintroduced to the masthead at about this time, but whereas previously it had been that of the reigning monarch, it would now be that of the House of Hanover, who were on the throne when the newspaper was founded.[34]

After 14 years as editor, William Rees-Mogg resigned upon completion of the change of ownership.[38] Murdoch began to make his mark on the paper by appointing Harold Evans as his replacement.[39] One of his most important changes was the introduction of new technology and efficiency measures. Between March 1981 and 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 print room staff at 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, when The Times moved from New Printing House Square in Gray's Inn Road (near Fleet Street) to new offices in Wapping.[40][41]

Robert Fisk,[42] seven times British International Journalist of the Year,[43] 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 1988. He wrote in detail about his reasons for resigning from the paper due to meddling with his stories, and the paper's pro-Israel stance.[44]

In June 1990 The Times ceased its policy of using courtesy titles ("Mr", "Mrs", or "Miss" prefixes) for living persons before full names on first reference, but it continues to use them before surnames on subsequent references. In 1992 it accepted the use of "Ms" for unmarried women "if they express a preference."[45]

In November 2003, News International began producing the newspaper in both broadsheet and tabloid sizes.[46] Over the next year, the broadsheet edition was withdrawn from Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the West Country. Since 1 November 2004, the paper has been printed solely in tabloid format.[47]

On 6 June 2005, The Times redesigned its Letters page, dropping the practice of printing correspondents' full postal addresses. Published letters were long regarded as one of the paper's key constituents. According to its leading article "From Our Own Correspondents", the reason for removal of full postal addresses was to fit more letters onto the page.[48]

In a 2007 meeting with the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, which was investigating media ownership and the news, Murdoch stated that the law and the independent board prevented him from exercising editorial control.[49]

In May 2008 printing of The Times switched from Wapping to new plants at Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire, and Merseyside and Glasgow, enabling the paper to be produced with full colour on every page for the first time.[50]

On 26 July 2012, to coincide with the official start of the London 2012 Olympics and the issuing of a series of souvenir front covers, The Times added the suffix "of London" to its masthead.[51]

In March 2016, the paper dropped its rolling digital coverage for a series of 'editions' of the paper at 9am, midday and 5pm on weekday.[52] The change also saw a redesign for the paper's app for smartphones and tablets.[53]

In April 2019, Culture secretary Jeremy Wright said he was minded to allow a request by News UK to relax the legal undertakings given in 1981 to maintain separate journalism resources for The Times and The Sunday Times.[37][54]

Content

The Times features news for the first half of the paper; the Opinion/Comment section begins after the first news section with world news normally following this. The business pages begin on the centre spread, and are followed by The Register, containing obituaries, a Court & Social section, and related material. The sport section is at the end of the main paper. In April 2016, the cover price of The Times became £1.40 on weekdays and £1.50 on Saturdays.[55]

Times2

The Times' main supplement, every day, is the times2, featuring various columns.[56][57] It was discontinued in early March 2010[58][59] but reintroduced on 12 October 2010 after discontinuation was criticised.[60] Its regular features include a puzzles section called Mind Games. Its previous incarnation began on 5 September 2005, before which it was called T2 and previously Times 2.[61] The supplement contains arts and lifestyle features, TV and radio listings, and theatre reviews. The newspaper employs Richard Morrison as its classical music critic.[62]

The Game

The Game is included in the newspaper on Mondays, and details all the weekend's football activity (Premier League and Football League Championship, League One and League Two.) The Scottish edition of The Game also includes results and analysis from Scottish Premier League games. During the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euros there is a daily supplement of The Game.[63]

Saturday supplements

The Saturday edition of The Times contains a variety of supplements. These supplements were relaunched in January 2009 as: Sport, Weekend (including travel and lifestyle features), Saturday Review (arts, books, TV listings and ideas), The Times Magazine (columns on various topics), and Playlist (an entertainment listings guide).[citation needed]

The Times Magazine 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 Giles Coren, Food and Drink Writer of the Year in 2005 and Nadiya Hussain, winner of BBC's The Great British Bake Off.[64]

Online presence

The Times and The Sunday Times have had an online presence since March 1999, originally at the-times.co.uk and sunday-times.co.uk, and later at timesonline.co.uk.[65] There are now two websites: thetimes.co.uk is aimed at daily readers, and the thesundaytimes.co.uk site at providing weekly magazine-like content. There are also iPad and Android editions of both newspapers. Since July 2010, News UK has required readers who do not subscribe to the print edition to pay £2 per week to read The Times and The Sunday Times online.[66]

Visits to the websites have decreased by 87% since the paywall was introduced, from 21 million unique users per month to 2.7 million.[67] In April 2009, the timesonline site had a readership of 750,000 readers per day.[68] In October 2011 there were around 111,000 subscribers to The Times' digital products.[69]

Ownership

The Times has had the following eight owners since its foundation in 1785:[70]

Readership

At the time of Harold Evans' appointment as editor in 1981, The Times had an average daily sale of 282,000 copies in comparison to the 1.4 million daily sales of its traditional rival The Daily Telegraph.[39] By November 2005 The Times sold an average of 691,283 copies per day, the second-highest of any British "quality" newspaper (after The Daily Telegraph, which had a circulation of 903,405 copies in the period), and the highest in terms of full-rate sales.[73] By March 2014, average daily circulation of The Times had fallen to 394,448 copies,[74] compared to The Daily Telegraph's 523,048,[75] with the two retaining respectively the second-highest and highest circulations among British "quality" newspapers. In contrast The Sun, the highest-selling "tabloid" daily newspaper in the United Kingdom, sold an average of 2,069,809 copies in March 2014,[76] and the Daily Mail, the highest-selling "middle market" British daily newspaper, sold an average of 1,708,006 copies in the period.[77]

The Sunday Times has a significantly higher circulation than The Times, and sometimes outsells The Sunday Telegraph. In January 2019 The Times had a circulation of 417,298[2] and The Sunday Times 712,291.[2]

In a 2009 national readership survey The Times was found to have the highest number of ABC1 25–44 readers and the largest numbers of readers in London of any of the "quality" papers.[78]

Typeface

[T]he various typefaces used before the introduction (The) Times New Roman [sic] didn't really have a formal name.

They were a suite of types originally made by Miller and Co. (later Miller & Richards) in Edinburgh around 1813, generally referred to as "modern". When The Times began using Monotype (and other hot-metal machines) in 1908, this design was remade by Monotype for its equipment. As near as I can tell, it looks like Monotype Series no. 1 — Modern (which was based on a Miller & Richards typeface) — was what was used up until 1932.

— Dan Rhatigan, type director[79]
An example of the Times New Roman typeface

In 1908, The Times started using the Monotype Modern typeface.[80]

The Times commissioned the serif typeface Times New Roman, created by Victor Lardent at the English branch of Monotype, in 1931.[81] It was commissioned after Stanley Morison had written an article criticizing The Times for being badly printed and typographically antiquated.[82] The font was supervised by Morison and drawn by Victor Lardent, an artist from the advertising department of The Times. Morison used an older font named Plantin as the basis for his design, but made revisions for legibility and economy of space. Times New Roman made its debut in the issue of 3 October 1932.[83] After one year, the design was released for commercial sale. The Times stayed with Times New Roman for 40 years, but new production techniques and the format change from broadsheet to tabloid in 2004 have caused the newspaper to switch font five times since 1972. However, all the new fonts have been variants of the original New Roman font: