Britain is a nation of newspaper readers. In fact they buy 15 million newspapers every day and about 42 million people read them. On the one hand, there are the “quality” newspapers: The Times, The Independent, The guardian, the Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph. On the other hand, there are the “populars” and “tabloids”, so-called because of their smaller size – the most widely read of which are The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, The Sun and The Daily Star.
Quality newspapers are more expensive, they concentrate on serious news, although they also have features, sports news and a guide to radio and TV programmes. Popular newspapers concentrate on more emotive reporting of stories often featuring sex, violence, The Royal family film and pop stars, and sport. It’s often said that the popular press aims to entertain its readers rather than inform them. The tabloids press is much more popular than the quality press.
In some countries, newspapers are owned by government or by political parties. This is not the case in Britain. Newspapers here are mostly owned by individuals or by published companies, and the editors of the papers are usually allowed considerate freedom of expression. This is not to say that newspapers are without political bias. Papers like The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and The Sun, for example, usually reflect conservative opinions in their comment and reporting, while the Daily Mirror and The Guardian have a more left-wing bias.
In addition to the 12 national daily newspapers there are nine national papers which are published on Sundays. Most of the “Sundays” contain more reading matter than daily papers, and several of them also include “color supplements” – separate color magazines which contain photographically-illustrated feature articles. Reading a Sunday paper, like having a big Sunday lunch, is an important tradition in many British households. Besides, nearly every area in Britain has one or more local newspapers.
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