Americans read British newspapers

theme - freedom of the press

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 rule the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they should rule the country The Times read the people who really run the land. The Daily Mail read the wives of the people who run the land. The Financial Times read the people who own the land. The Morning Star reads the people who think that the country should be ruled by another country. And the Daily Telegraph reads the people who think that's already the case. "
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?
Bernard: "Sun readers don't care who rules the country as long as they have big breasts."

We are now introducing you to a selection of the most important British media. Then there is the Independent, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Star, the Daily Express, the Daily Record ... and so many more.


"The Sun is the equivalent of the German Bild newspaper," says communication scientist Christine Lohmeier from the University of Munich. "At Sun, little value is placed on political correctness." Indeed, the Sun polarizes with stories of scandals, photos of scantily clad women, and creative puns in the headlines. She once called the German Pope Benedict XVI "Papa Ratzi". In 1992 the British daily with the highest circulation claimed the election victory of the conservative candidate John Major for itself. The day after the election, the headline was: "It's The Sun wot won it". The Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch is behind the sun.

Circulation: approx. 2.5 million copies, price: £ 0.40, website:


If the Guardian were human, they would probably be diagnosed as borderline. On the one hand, the newspaper has seen worldwide fame since it published the revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden, which sparked discussions about mass surveillance by secret services. The Guardian expands to Australia and the USA, the journalism industry celebrates the paper for its innovative digital strategy. On the other hand, it has been in the red for years, the circulation is falling threateningly and is currently just over 200,000 copies. For comparison: the Freie Presse from Chemnitz and the Neue Westfälische from Bielefeld are of the same size. Nevertheless: The political relevance of the Guardian should not be underestimated. Communication scientist Lohmeier says: "The Guardian is a politically left-wing quality newspaper that repeatedly attracts international attention through high-quality investigative reports."

Circulation: approx. 200,000 copies, price: £ 1.60, website:


The outcry was great when the News Corporation of the Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch bought the prestigious Times in February 1981. Until then, Murdoch had mainly attracted attention with the tabloid The Sun. To this day, however, DieTimes is valued in the British upper class, as Christine Lohmeier confirms: "The Times is a conservative-liberal daily that enjoys the reputation of having a large part of the political and economic elite among its readers." The Times is one of the few newspapers to charge readers for its online presence. Since then, the number of readers on the Internet has been dwindling.

Circulation: 400,000, Price: £ 1, Website:


"The people's daily newspaper", the Morning Star calls itself. In fact, the paper that is close to the British Communist Party belongs to its readers. But they are getting fewer and fewer. The journalistic cooperative sees itself as the only socialist daily in the English-speaking world. Communication scientist Christine Lohmeier says: "The Morning Star is a politically left-wing tabloid paper that was founded in 1930 as a paper by the workers and unions." Today, the proud newspaper is just a copy of itself. The website asks for donations and the circulation is, depending on the source, only 15,000-30,000 newspapers.

Circulation: 15,000-30,000, Price: £ 1, Website:


If the Times is too demanding and the Sun is too clumsy for you, read the Daily Mail, the second largest newspaper on the island. "It is assigned to the so-called mid-market segment, which is classified between tabloids and broadsheet," explains Christine Lohmeier. Politically, the paper is more conservative. The New Yorker once called the Daily Mail "the most powerful newspaper in Britain". Although it has fewer readers than the Sun, it is taken seriously by those in power. According to its own information, the majority of the Daily Mail's readership is female. MailOnline, the online edition of the Daily Mail, is by far the UK's most-read news website and one of the top 100 most visited websites ever.

Circulation: approx. 1.8 million copies, price: £ 0.60, website:


Alongside the Times, the Daily Telegraph is the UK's largest conservative daily. "She is known for her support for the Conservative Party, which has given her the nickname 'Torygraph'," says Christine Lohmeier (refers to the Conservative Tory Party, also known as the "Tories"). As early as 1906, the Daily Telegraph caused diplomatic tensions between the German Empire and Great Britain when it printed a sensitive interview with the then Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Daily Telegraph website has been online since November 1994. "This made it the first European newspaper that was available on the web," says Christine Lohmeier. The newspaper has been owned by the extremely wealthy twins David and Frederick Barclay since 2004.

Circulation: approx. 400,000 copies, price: £ 1.20, website:


As in many other areas of life, Scotland has a special status when it comes to newspapers. It is not the London papers that set the tone in the north of the island, but the Scottish ones: The Herald from Glasgow and The Scotsman from Edinburgh. "The Herald has the largest readership of the Scottish daily newspapers," says Christine Lohmeier. However: "Like all Scottish regional newspapers, the Herald competes with the national daily newspapers, many of which have a special version for Scottish readers."

Circulation: approx. 50,000 copies, price: £ 1.10, website:


The British Broadcasting Corporation may not be a newspaper, but it is arguably the most influential medium in Great Britain. Auntie, the "Auntie", or "The Beep" is what the British call their BBC jokingly. And the beeping aunty is one of the largest broadcasters in the world with 23,000 employees. "Your original mission of providing information, education and entertainment to the British population had a major impact on the development of numerous public service broadcasting companies in Europe," explains Christine Lohmeier. The BBC is financed through a direct fee from all households, similar to ARD and ZDF in Germany. The BBC is particularly known for its international reporting, but also for self-produced series - such as "Yes, Prime Minister".

BBC website:
Price: £ 145.50 a year

Is the freedom of the press in danger?

Compared to Germany, the British press is considered to be harder. "There one is not very squeamish with the people who are being reported on," says Christine Lohmeier. Many journalists refer to the traditionally strong freedom of the press for which the United Kingdom is known - UK member England was the first country to abolish censorship in 1695. But when the Guardian quoted from the secret documents of the American whistleblower Edward Snowden last year, the British secret service GCHQ became uncomfortable. "You had your fun. Now we want that stuff back," intelligence officials are said to have said to Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian. Under the supervision of two secret service technicians, Guardian employees then destroyed hard drives and other data carriers containing the explosive material. "That was an astonishing step," says Lohmeier, "because freedom of the press was one of the defining factors on the way to democracy in Great Britain".

The future: digital, what else?

As almost everywhere in the world, media use is changing on the island. "Young people turn away from newspapers", according to a study by the polling institute YouGov from 2013. The alleged consequence: "The papers are dying out with the old generation." Although 61 percent of young Britons read online newspapers, the reader-paper loyalty is decreasing, as Christine Lohmeier explains: "Young people no longer buy a newspaper and read it, there is a mixture on the Internet." Readers deal with content from different media. It is unlikely that Sun readers will surf the digital Daily Telegraph from time to time.

Maximilian Zierer is a graduate of the German School of Journalism in Munich and reports between Bavaria and Barcelona - and sometimes about Britain.


Also explosive: The wiretapping scandal at News of the World, plus a piece from the Tagesspiegel.
A Spiegel article about Alan Rusbridger.
Video of Guardian employees who had to destroy their hard drives in the NSA scandal.
An episode from "Yes, Prime Minister" on Youtube.
Circulation numbers of the largest newspapers on the Guardian website.
Article from the New Yorker on the Daily Mail.
And here is the YouGov study on media use in the UK.