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Every morning I follow the same pattern, after my lecture at 10:00 am, I go to the shop to pick up my 15p (student price) Guardian, read the front and back pages in that seventies style kitchen and go off to another lecture. I start reading the paper again at about 10:00 pm with the dark, gloomy Glasgow night staring at me coldly outside. In the morning I read the editorials, letters and business section at breakfast and the cycle continues...
On weekdays The Guardian is my guide to what is going on in the world around me. I spend most of my life within a five mile radius, so it would be all to easy to get colloquial. I read it because I agree with it on most of its editorials, because of its excellent coverage of world affairs and because it enlightens me on issues and shapes my politics further.
I presume that the reader of this article is aware that The Guardian is a London based national broadsheet and the most left-wing national paper too. It stands in stark contrast to the ‘little Englander’ philosophy of the Daily Mail and the Third Reich sentiments of the Torygraph and Times.
Every day it includes a different extra section, including G2 every day and special supplements such as Education, The Editor and Online on separate week days. Each different day also includes a job supplement complementing the supplement topic (e.g. Media jobs printed when the Media supplement is included). This is of course of great interest to the student reader.
G2 includes the wonderful ‘Pass Notes’ column, a sideways look at a topical personality. It is especially good for extended stories, such as investigative ones and interviews with important figures. It offers a lighter tabloid style to complement the rest of the paper. It’s similar to the Sunday Times’ News Review.
The Guardian is most notable for its politics and this is where its writers excel. It outlines the coming political debates, looks back at the Commons’ work on the previous day and has superbly informative and argumentative left leaning editorials. You probably don’t need to agree with their politics to admire the quality of the writing, but it helps. But can Tories read?
When compared to the dull and tired letters to the editor in other papers such as The Times and The Irish Times (a completely different paper to the London Times and very pro-European), The Guardian offers a refreshing change. Coupled with serious argument and comment from readers, as well as MPs and people in positions of high authority, there are also moments of comic relief, showing the readership has a sense of humour.
More laughs and chuckles can come from the political cartoons, Simon Hoggart’s political column, the Diary and the Corrections column. The Guardian is the only paper to offer corrections to previous editions, which often leads to humorous mistakes.
But The Guardian, like everything else in life has its faults. It’s Sport section is a little thin for my liking, giving far too much room to cricket and far to little to football. I do enjoy the crap written by ‘Big’ Ron Atkinson ona Friday though.
The biggest problem I have with The Guardian is what stops it from receiving a five star rating from me. It offers far more column space to American issues than here in Scotland or the Irish Question, but this isn’t all.
The Guardians was born as The Manchester Guardian in the 19th Century, but you wouldn’t think so now. The paper is so London-centric at times, it defies belief. Obviously this is a problem that all national papers printed in London suffer from, so this paper is not alone, but it is so arrogant. The writers seem unable to understand the culture of anyone who lives higher than Birmingham, possibly needing interpreters to decipher even Yorkshire accents.
Examples of this come in the form of the nation supposedly coming to a standstill due to the rail crisis. Since so few people North or West of the South East of England use the railways, I could be forgiven for thinking the nation must have shrunk to just the area inside the M25. There are about two railway lines in Northern Ireland that half the time don’t run anyway, so who cares. Yesterday (17/01/01) there was a story about a massive shortage in graveyard space, which forgot to mention that it was only in London until half way through the article. This is all too typical.
If I wanted this sort of news I would by the London Evening Standard, but I live in Scotland, so what do I care about national crises that are centred only on London. But having concentrated on the negative, I must remember that the competition to choose from puts everything into perspective. The Guardian is my favourite newspaper, it is a quality paper, worthy of my 15p for sure.
I almost completely agree with kfingleton's opinion of the Guardian. I find being a student this is the most non-predjudical newspaper to date, which is the type of approach we need in our society today. Most newspapers contain gossip and personal stories which are none of our business. Even though it contains news surrounding America and their actions, which most of the time we can guess on anyway, it still contains the main news headlines for all over the world; and no slang or news articles which side with one particular party in politics. Again, a problem I frequently find is the jobs shown in th G2 section contain a majority of oportunites in London and it's surrounding counties, residing in the South West this does not help me or others outside of the 'Great City' who are looking for employment in our area. Good comments.
kfingleton 15.02.2001 12:25
I've only just noticed Gideon's comments on anti-semitism. this sounds like the ugly views that many Jews in Israel, the US and UK are shouting out. They are obviously drowning out the views of the Jewish left. The Guardian is only highlighting Israel's irrational anti-Palestininan violence. It's amazing to think that a people tortured and forced out of European countries for centuries find it now justifiable to force a whole people from their own country today.
blinderben 14.02.2001 21:31
A very good op.I didn't really notice the Londoncentricism of the paper but I live in London so I probably don'tnotice it! However, I have to take issue with Gideon. Criticising Israel is not being anti-semitic. Why should a paper be uncritically friendly to Israel?