After living in London for a year and a half, I have decided what my favourite newspaper is. The Guardian gets my seal of approval, and beats off competition from The Independent and The Times , both of which, IMHO, are also very good. I really like the international news in The Financial Times . My favourite tabloid is without a doubt The Mirror . I also quite like The Sun . I’m amazed at the completely untrue stories that The Sun seem to get away with printing. A man whose conversation I listened to on the train said that at the end of the day in the office tea room, it was always The Sun that was mixed up and scattered around the room because so many people had read it. The FT, The Times, and all the other respectable papers had only been read by one or two people and were still immaculate. Yep, that’s my experience too. It still amazes me that The Sun is by far the most popular paper in the UK.
My least favourite are the junk papers that appear to be serious newspapers and contain puerile editorial content that is packaged as news. By these I mean the likes of The Evening Standard (which is very popular but full of trash) and The Daily Express. At least when someone reads The Sun it is taken with a grain of salt (it’s hard not to with the sensationalist nature of the reporting).
The funny thing about the press in the UK is that it is regarded as a sign of your political orientation. This is not without good cause as all the papers seem to have a political affiliation.
It can be quite personal though. On a reality dating type TV show I saw ages ago, one of the contestants said something to the effect of “Oh dear, he doesn’t read The Telegraph. This is not going to work out.” The newspaper that you read is a reflection of your personality. People seem to have quite strong opinions about what type of character reads what. For instance, a bigoted, child-eating Daily Telegraph reader may say of a Guardian reader that they are a limp-wristed bleeding-heart liberal.
The situation in New Zealand is not like this at all. I really enjoy the diversity of the English press, and will often buy a range of papers, including ones that I don’t particularly like in an attempt to get broader coverage and opinion of events.
(Oh – I was joking about Telegraph readers being bigots – really.)