On May 5, 1821, The Guardian newspaper was published for the first time in Manchester, UK. This May, The Guardian is celebrating its bicentennial anniversary.
Marking the Guardian's 200th anniversary, the editor-in-chief sets out how the media can help rebuild a better world: "Times change but the Guardian's values don't: 200 years, and we've only just begun".
And truly, the Guardian remains as one of the last bastions of independent journalism to make a better world. In combination with its print version's resilience in the broader technological sphere and its remarkable success of its online activities, the paper's journalism has been defining our thinking, shaping the world with transparency and accountability.
From its inception 200 years ago, The Guardian has long been ascribed as a key institution in the definition and development of liberalism. So much so that the idea/image of "Guardianista" - environment friendly, progressive minded and Labour-leaning - has become a part of the traditional British press history and mythology.
After the Peterloo massacre in 1819 - a violent suppression of the public's peaceful demand for electoral reform - a local cotton businessman named John Edward Taylor was determined to establish a newspaper that would provide political reformists with a better way to exert their voices.
This paper was first published in Manchester on 5 May 1821, back then its original name was The Manchester Guardian. The newspaper was initially only distributed weekly by John Edward Taylor on Saturdays. The newspaper's first edition said it was supportive of civil and religious freedom.
The Paper began printing two times a week when in 1936 a Wednesday edition was added. And when the infamous Stamp Duty - the main culprit for newspapers' high prices in the UK - was abolished, daily publication of the Manchester Guardian began.
Two centuries is a long time. Much has changed in the last two centuries. From what it means to be a newspaper in particular to the whole technological landscape to the world order and so forth. The Guardian has also changed but in one respect it remains basically the same: the paper serves its original purpose.
Its fundamental essence remains the same, a paper that defends and enforces the ideals of freedoms and liberty and the causes of domestic or international importance.
In 1872, nephew of Taylor CP Scott became the editor and in 1907, he purchased the paper. He stayed as editor for 57 years and under his leadership the paper cemented its liberal values and during his time it earned worldwide recognition.
John Russell Scott, son of CP Scott, was committed to protecting this heritage when he became the owners of the paper after his father and his brother died. In 1936 he established the Scott Trust, (it was an attempt to ensure) which ensured the Guardian's editorial and financial freedom in perpetuity/ forever.
The trust's prime responsibility lies in selecting the editor of The Guardian but aside from appointing them, it strictly follows the editorial policy: "the same lines and in the same spirit as heretofore" and it does not interfere in editorial decisions. Moreover, this policy also gives editors a long term. For instance, Alan Rusbridger enjoyed his editorship for 20 years, from 1995 to 2015.
The Trust went through its first reformation in 1948. At that time, the Trust was thought to be liable to tax due to changes in the British law. Simultaneously, John Scott also gave up the exclusive power to nominate trustees. From then on, the trustees would appoint new members themselves.
For a Guardian journalist, it became a regular practice to be a member of the trust, even though he or she is not considered a "representative" of the personnel, since it could lead to a conflict of interests.
In 1992, the Trust pinpointed its prime objective as: "To secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity: as a quality national newspaper without party affiliation; remaining faithful to its liberal tradition; as a profit-seeking enterprise managed in an efficient and cost-effective manner."
The Trust was reconstituted again 2008, being replaced by The Scott Trust Limited. The Scott Trust Limited is a limited company with the original protection that the Guardian enshrined. This was supposed "to strengthen the protection it offers to the Guardian and because like all non-charitable trusts, and unlike limited companies, the Scott Trust has a finite lifespan." The Scott Trust is the sole shareholder in Guardian Media Group and its profits are reinvested in journalism and do not benefit a proprietor or shareholders.
The newspaper traditionally supports Britain's democratic opinion from the mid-liberal left hand and publicly supported the Libyan Democrats for the first time in 2010. The Guardian supported the Labor Party in 2005 and 2015. The Guardian had been regarded by a YouGov poll as Britain's leftist journal since 2017 and Mirror wasn't far behind. The survey indicated that 16% of Britons considered The Guardian to be "really left," which put it ahead of other journals.
The Guardian has increased its digital activities greatly in recent years. Between 2009 and 2010 a number of new digital goods and services were unveiled by the Guardian.
The journal was restarted in a new tabloid format from January 2018. The same month, a redesigned Guardian took to the smartphone, apps and desktop versions of the website for online readers worldwide. On 11 October 2018 thereafter was a complete overhaul of the Guardian Weekly as a news magazine.
On 1 May 2019 The Guardian announced that it had successfully completed its three-year turnaround strategy by breaking even for the first time in recent history.
The Guardian is printed in a mid-size format Monday through Saturday, with a daily average circulation of 110,000. Last year, The Guardian website averaged 238 million unique visitors a month.