News in the UK
July 15, 2020
The concept of "paper of record"—a single place to get the news—is relatively new. Speaking for the United States, many publishers got started with the explicit aim of promoting a particular political view; historians call it the party press era, from about 1780-1830, where editors openly endorsed a political platform.
I'm not sure whether that tradition came from the UK, but something like it lives on. In the UK, The Guardian was always understood as the paper of labor/working class, The Financial Times for businesspeople (similar to the WSJ), and the Daily Mail a sort of regional semi-tabloid, a bit like Chicago's Sun Times.
The difference is that, whereas in the US, you expected to get "fair and balanced" from a professional paper, the UK never had that expectation. News was well-reported, but written from a particular viewpoint.
I'm hopeful the future of news in the US can become more like the UK. Maybe you have your paper and I have mine, but we both agree that one source is never "the whole story".
Before you call me a conspiracy theorist, yes, I realize not all papers are created equal. I might prefer the editorial view of The Economist over the New York Times, but I'd never suggest the Times isn't a great paper, employing many responsible journalists doing their best to report the news. They just have a point of view, like any human would.
I had this thought myself but saw another guy with the same idea yesterday on Twitter:
Wondering if the New York Times might be a happier ship if the US had the UK model of multiple newspapers that are all perfectly open and comfortable having a political position on the masthead. The guardian is a left-wing paper. That’s not a problem - there are others.— Benedict Evans (@benedictevans) July 14, 2020