Good English writing is often to be found in the weekly political and literary journals, all based in London, all with nationwide circulations in the tens of thousands. “The Economist”, founded in 1841, probably has no equal everywhere. It has a coloured cover and a few photographs inside, so that it look like “Time” or “Newsweek”, but its reports have more depth and breadth than any these. It covers world affair, and even its American section is more informative about America than its American equivalents. Although by no means “popular”, it is vigorous in its comments, and deserves the respect in which it is generally held. “Spectator” is a weekly journal of opinion. It regularly contains well-written articles, often politically slanted. It devotes nearly half its space to literature and the arts. Glossy weekly or monthly illustrated magazines cater either for women or for any of a thousand special interests. Almost all are based in London, with national circulations, and the women’s magazines sell millions of copies. These, along with commercial television, are the great educators of demand for the new and better goods offered by the modern consumer society. In any big newsagent’s shop the long rows of brightly covered magazines seem to go on for ever; beyond the large variety of appeals to women and teenage girls come those concerned with yachting, tennis, model railways, gardening and cars. For every activity there is a magazine, supported mainly by its advertisers, and from time to time the police brings a pile of pornographic magazines to local magistrates, who have the difficult task of deciding whether they are sufficiently offensive to be banned. These specialist magazines are not cheap. They live on an infinite variety of taste, curiosity and interest. Their production, week by week and month by month, represents a fabulous amount of effort and of felled trees. Television has not killed the desire to read. The best-known among the British national weekly newspapers are as follows. “The Times” (1785) is called the paper of the Establishment. “The Times” has three weekly supplements, all appeared and sold separately. The Literary Supplement” is devoted almost entirely to book reviews, and covers all kinds of new literature. It makes good use of academic contributors, and has at last, unlike “The Economist”, abandoned its old tradition of anonymous reviews. “New Scientist” published by the company which owns the “Daily Mirror”, has good and serious articles about scientific research, often written by academics yet useful for the general reader. This paper is most famous of all British newspapers. Politically it is independent, but is generally inclined to be sympathetic to the Conservative Party. It is not a government organ, though very often its leading articles may be written after private consultation with people in the Government. It has a reputation for extreme caution, though it has always been a symbol of solidity in Britain. Its reporting is noted for reliability and completeness and especially in foreign affairs. Its reputation for reflecting or even anticipating government policy gives it an almost official tone. The popular newspapers are now commonly called “tabloids”. This word first used for pharmaceutical substances compressed into pills. The tabloid newspapers compress the news, and are printed on small sheets of paper. They use enormous headlines for the leading items of each day, which are one day political, one day are to do with a crime, one day sport, one day some odd happening. They have their pages of political report and comment, short, often over-simplified but vigorously written and (nowadays) generally responsible. They thrive on sensational stories and excitement. “The Guardian” (until 1959-“The Manchester Guardian”) has become a truly national paper rather than one specially connected with Manchester. In quality, style and reporting it is nearly equal with “The Times”. In politics it is described as “radical”. It was favourable to the Liberal Party and tends to be rather closer in sympathy to the Labour party than to the Conservatives. It has made great progress during the past years, particularly among the intelligent people who find “the Times” too uncritical of the Establishment. ‘The Daily Telegraph” (1855) is the quality paper with the largest circulation (1.2 million compared with “The Times’s 442 thousand and “The Guardian’s” 500 thousand). In theory it is independent, but in practice it is such caters for the educated and semi-educated business and professional classes. Being well produced and edited it is full of various information and belongs to the same class of journalism as “The Times” and “The Guardian”. In popular journalism the “The Daily Mirror” became a serious rival of the “Express” and “Mail” in the 1940s. It was always tabloid, and always devoted more space to picture than to text. It was also a pioneer with strip cartoons. After the Second World War it regularly supported the Labour Party. It soon outdid the “Daily Express” in size of headlines, short sentences and exploration of excitement. It also became the biggest-selling daily newspaper. For many years its sales were about four million; sometimes well above. The daily papers have no Sunday editions, but there are Sunday papers, nearly all of which are national: “ The Sunday Times” (1822, 1.2 million), “The Sunday Telegraph” (1961, 0.7 million), the “Sunday Express” (1918, 2.2 million), “The Sunday Mirror” (1963, 2.7 million). On weekdays there are evening papers, all of which serve their own regions only, and give the latest news. London has two evening newspapers, “The London Standard” and “The Evening News”. Traditionally the leading humorous periodical in Britain is “Punch”, best known for its cartoons and articles, which deserve to be regarded as typical examples of English humour. It has in recent years devoted increasing attention to public affairs, often by means of its famous cartoons. This old British satirical weekly magazine, survives, more abrasive than in an earlier generation yet finding it hard to keep the place it once had in a more secure social system. Its attraction, particularly for one intellectual youth, has been surpassed by a new rival, “Private Eye”, founded in 1962 by people who, not long before, had run a pupil’s magazine in Shrewsbury School. Its scandalous material is admirably written on atrocious paper and its circul
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