[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 19 January, 2004, 17:13 GMT
The UK's 'other paper of record'
Telegraph logo
The Daily Telegraph was launched in 1855

From lowly beginnings almost 150 years ago, the Daily Telegraph has risen to rival The Times as the newspaper of record in Britain.

The Daily Telegraph and Courier was founded by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Sleigh to air his side of a row with the Duke of Cambridge.

The first edition, which was four pages long and cost 2d, hit the streets on 29 June, 1855, but failed to make enough money to pay back printers JM Levy.

The printer took over the paper in September, made his son co-editor, and relaunched it with the slogan, "the largest, best, and cheapest newspaper in the world".

Today, the newspaper is the biggest selling broadsheet in Britain with a circulation of 926,000 and, according to BBC News Online political correspondent Nick Assinder, "has the reputation of being the newspaper of the establishment".

The paper has a very important role in the political spectrum
George Jones
Daily Telegraph political editor

"It would be at the top of most politicians' piles of newspapers and, in the years the Tories were in power, it even came to be regarded as the paper of record over The Times," he said.

And one of the reasons for this had been the paper's determination to keep its news reporting separate from its editorial comment pieces.

'Middle Britain'

The Telegraph's political editor, George Jones, agrees. "The reporting of news and sport have both been very important for the paper and it has always sought to distinguish between news and its opinion pieces, reporting news in a straight-forward, unbiased fashion," he said.

Traditionally, those opinion pieces have tended to support the Conservative Party, something Mr Jones believes is key to the Telegraph's role in the media.

"It tries to be the newspaper which is in tune with middle Britain. It is right of centre, but that's probably the majority view of people in the country," he said.

"The paper has a very important role in the political spectrum, being a right of centre, Tory party supporting newspaper."

These fine titles will be in good and caring hands
Conrad Black
Former Telegraph owner

Nick Assinder said: "It's been a steady supporter of a very traditional way of life which chimes very much with the Tory party and its political editors have always been seen as having a hotline to senior ministers."

Tabloid Nation author Chris Horrie describes the Telegraph as "the only Tory broadsheet", but says it has recently been trying to shake off its traditional image as the paper of choice for "retired colonels in the home counties".

"It has been trying to attract more women and this has led to a rather schizophrenic paper, with most of the editorial keeping its traditional values but its features sections targeting rather well-to-do women."

With a takeover bid unveiled, the Telegraph's future may be uncertain, but many respected figures will be hoping it does not change drastically from the "very gentlemanly organisation" George Jones describes.

Profile: The Barclay brothers
19 Jan 04  |  Business
Q&A: What now for the Telegraph?
19 Jan 04  |  Business
Telegraph tycoon sacked and sued
18 Jan 04  |  Business
Hollinger 'paid offshore bonuses'
12 Jan 04  |  Business


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific