The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper, published in London and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B. Sleigh in June 1855 as The Daily Telegraph and Courier, and since 2004 has been owned by David and Frederick Barclay. It had a daily circulation of 523,048 in March 2014, down from 552,065 in early 2013. In comparison, The Times had an average daily circulation of 400,060, down to 394,448.
It is the sister paper of The Sunday Telegraph. It is run separately with a different editorial staff, but there is some cross-usage of stories, and the two titles share a website.
The Daily Telegraph and Courier was founded by Colonel Arthur B. Sleigh in June 1855 to air a personal grievance against the future Commander-in-chief of the British Army, Prince George, Duke of Cambridge. Joseph Moses Levy, the owner of The Sunday Times, agreed to print the newspaper, and the first edition was published on 29 June 1855. The paper cost 2d and was four pages long. It was not a success, and Sleigh was unable to pay Levy the printing bill. Levy took over the newspaper, his aim being to produce a cheaper newspaper than his main competitors in London, the Daily News and The Morning Post, to expand the size of the overall market.
Levy then appointed his son, Edward Levy-Lawson, and Thornton Leigh Hunt to edit the newspaper, and relaunched it as The Daily Telegraph, with the slogan “the largest, best, and cheapest newspaper in the world”. Hunt laid out the newspaper’s principles in a memorandum sent to Levy: “We should report all striking events in science, so told that the intelligent public can understand what has happened and can see its bearing on our daily life and our future. The same principle should apply to all other events—to fashion, to new inventions, to new methods of conducting business”.
In 1876 Jules Verne published his novel Michael Strogoff, whose plot takes place during a fictional uprising and war in Siberia. Verne included among the book’s characters a war correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, named Harry Blount—who is depicted as an exceptionally dedicated, resourceful and brave journalist, taking great personal risks in order to follow closely the ongoing war and bring accurate news of it to the Telegraph‘s readership, ahead of competing papers.
In 1908, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany gave a controversial interview to The Daily Telegraph that severely damaged Anglo-German relations and added to international tensions in the build-up to World War I. In 1928 the son of the 1st Baron Burnham sold it to the 1st Viscount Camrose, in partnership with his brother Viscount Kemsley and the 1st Baron Iliffe. Both the Camrose (Berry) and Burnham (Levy-Lawson) families remained involved in management until Conrad Black took control in 1986.
In 1937 the newspaper absorbed The Morning Post, which traditionally espoused a conservative position and sold predominantly amongst the retired officer class. Originally William Ewart Berry, 1st Viscount Camrose, bought The Morning Post with the intention of publishing it alongside The Daily Telegraph, but poor sales of the former led him to merge the two. For some years the paper was retitled The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post before it reverted to just The Daily Telegraph. In the late 1930s, Victor Gordon Lennox, The Telegraph’s diplomatic editor published an anti-appeasement private newspaper The Whitehall Letter that received much of its information from leaks from Sir Robert Vansittart, the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office and Reginald “Rex” Leeper, the Foreign Office’s Press Secretary As an result, Gordon Lennox was monitored by MI5
In November 1940, with Fleet Street subjected to almost daily bombing raids by the Luftwaffe, The Telegraph started printing in Manchester at Kemsley House (now The Printworks entertainment venue), which was run by Camrose’s brother Kemsley. Manchester quite often printed the entire run of The Telegraph when its Fleet Street offices were under threat. The name Kemsley House was changed to Thomson House in 1959. In 1986 printing of Northern editions of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph moved to Trafford Park and in 2008 to Newsprinters at Knowsley, Liverpool.
During the Second World War, The Daily Telegraph covertly helped in the recruitment of code-breakers for Bletchley Park. The ability to solve The Telegraph’s crossword in under 12 minutes was considered a recruitment test. The newspaper was asked to organise a crossword competition, after which each of the successful participants was contacted and asked if they would be prepared to undertake “a particular type of work as a contribution to the war effort”. The competition itself was won by F H W Hawes of Dagenham who finished the crossword in less than eight minutes.
Canadian businessman Conrad Black, through companies controlled by him, bought the Telegraph Group in 1986. Black, through his holding company Ravelston Corporation, owned 78% of Hollinger Inc. which in turn owned 30% of Hollinger International. Hollinger International in turn owned the Telegraph Group and other publications such as the Chicago Sun-Times, the Jerusalem Post and The Spectator.
On 18 January 2004, Black was dismissed as chairman of the Hollinger International board over allegations of financial wrongdoing. Black was also sued by the company. Later that day it was reported that the Barclay brothers had agreed to purchase Black’s 78% interest in Hollinger Inc. for £245m, giving them a controlling interest in the company, and to buy out the minority shareholders later. However, a lawsuit was filed by the Hollinger International board to try to block Black from selling his shares in Hollinger Inc. until an investigation into his dealings was completed. Black filed a countersuit but, eventually, United States judge Leo Strine sided with the Hollinger International board and blocked Black from selling his Hollinger Inc. shares to the twins. On 7 March 2004, the twins announced that they were launching another bid, this time just for The Daily Telegraph and its Sunday sister paper rather than all of Hollinger Inc. Current owner of the Daily Express, Richard Desmond, was also interested in purchasing the paper, selling his interest in several pornographic magazines to finance the initiative. Desmond withdrew in March 2004, when the price climbed above £600m, as did Daily Mail and General Trust plc on 17 June.
The Barclay brothers purchased the Telegraph Group for around £665m in late June 2004. Sir David Barclay suggested that The Daily Telegraph might in the future no longer be the “house newspaper” of the Conservatives. In an interview with The Guardian he said, “Where the government are right we shall support them”. The editorial board endorsed the Conservative Party in the 2005 general election. 15 November 2004 was the tenth anniversary of the launch of The Telegraph’s website Electronic Telegraph. Now re-launched as www.telegraph.co.uk telegraph.co.uk. On 8 May 2006 the first stage of a major redesign of the website took place, with a wider page layout and greater prominence for audio, video and journalist blogs.
On 10 October 2005, The Daily Telegraph relaunched to incorporate a tabloid sports section and a new standalone business section. The Daily Mail’s star columnist and political analyst Simon Heffer left that paper in October 2005 to rejoin The Daily Telegraph, where he has become associate editor. Heffer has written two columns a week for the paper since late October 2005 and is a regular contributor to the news podcast. In November 2005 the first regular podcast service by a newspaper in the UK was launched. Just before Christmas 2005, it was announced that the Telegraph titles would be moving from Canada Place in Canary Wharf, to Victoria Plaza near Victoria Station in central London. The new office features a ‘hub and spoke’ layout for the newsroom to produce content for print and online editions.
In October 2006, with its relocation to Victoria, the company was renamed the Telegraph Media Group, repositioning itself as a multimedia company. On 2 September 2008, the Daily Telegraph was printed with colour on each page for the first time when it left Westferry for Newsprinters at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, another arm of the Murdoch (Rupert Murdoch) company. The paper is also printed in Liverpool and Glasgow by Newsprinters. In May 2009, the daily and Sunday editions published details of MPs’ expenses. This led to a number of high-profile resignations from both the ruling Labour administration and the Conservative opposition.
In June 2014, The Telegraph was criticised for its policy of replacing experienced journalists and news managers with less-experienced staff and Search Engine Optimisers
The Daily Telegraph has been politically conservative in modern times. The personal links between the paper’s editors and the leadership of the Conservative Party, along with the paper’s generally right wing stance and influence over Conservative activists, have resulted in the paper commonly being referred to, especially in Private Eye, as the Torygraph. Even when Conservative support was shown to have slumped in the opinion polls and Labour became ascendant in them (particularly when leader Tony Blair rebranded the party as “New Labour” on becoming leader after the death of John Smith in 1994), the newspaper remained loyal to the Conservatives. This loyalty continued after Labour ousted the Conservatives from power by a landslide election result in 1997, and in the face of Labour election wins in 2001 and the third successive Labour election win in 2005.
The Daily Telegraph’s sister Sunday paper was founded in 1961. The writer Sir Peregrine Worsthorne is probably the best known journalist associated with the title (1961–97), eventually being editor for three years from 1986. In 1989 the Sunday title was briefly merged into a seven-day operation under Max Hastings’s overall control. In 2005 the paper was revamped, a glossy fashion magazine being added to the more traditional review section. It costs £2.00 and includes separate Money, Home and Living, Sport, Travel and Business supplements. Circulation of The Sunday Telegraph in July 2010 was 505,214 (ABC)
The Young Telegraph was a weekly section of The Daily Telegraph published as a 14-page supplement in the weekend edition of the newspaper. The Young Telegraph featured a mixture of news, features, cartoon strips and product reviews aimed at 8–12-year-olds. It was edited by Damien Kelleher (1993–97) and Kitty Melrose (1997–1999). Launched in 1990, the award-winning supplement also ran original serialised stories featuring popular brands such as Young Indiana Jones and the British children’s sitcom Maid Marian and her Merry Men. In 1995, an interactive spin-off called Electronic Young Telegraph was launched on floppy disk. Described as an interactive computer magazine for children, Electronic Young Telegraph was edited by Adam Tanswell, who led the re-launch of the product on CD-Rom in 1998. Electronic Young Telegraph featured original content including interactive quizzes, informative features and computer games, as well as entertainment news and reviews. It was later re-branded as T:Drive in 1999.
Telegraph.co.uk is the online version of the newspaper. It includes articles from the print editions of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, as well as web-only content such as breaking news, features, picture galleries and blogs. It was named UK Consumer Website of the Year in 2007 and Digital Publisher of the year in 2009 by the Association of Online Publishers. The site is overseen by Kate Day, digital director of Telegraph Media Group. Other staff include Shane Richmond, head of technology (editorial), and Ian Douglas, head of digital production. The site, which has been the focus of the group’s efforts to create an integrated news operation producing content for print and online from the same newsroom, completed a relaunch during 2008 involving the use of the Escenic content management system, popular among northern European and Scandinavian newspaper groups. Telegraph TV is an Online Video on Demand Television service run by The Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph. It is hosted on The Telegraph’s official website, telegraph.co.uk.
Telegraph.co.uk became the most popular UK newspaper site in April 2008. It was overtaken by Guardian.co.uk in April 2009 and later by “Mail Online”. As of December 2010, “Telegraph.co.uk” is now the third most visited British newspaper website with 1.7 million daily browsers compared to 2.3 million for “Guardian.co.uk” and nearly 3 million for “Mail Online”.
In November 2012 international customers accessing the Telegraph.co.uk site would have to sign up for a subscription package. Visitors had access to 20 free articles a month having to subscribe for unlimited access.In March 2013 the pay meter system was also rolled out in the UK.
The website was launched, under the name electronic telegraph at midday on 15 November 1994 at the headquarters of The Daily Telegraph at Canary Wharf in London Docklands. It was Europe’s first daily web-based newspaper. Initially the site published only the top stories from the print edition of the newspaper but it gradually increased its coverage until virtually all of the newspaper was carried online and the website was also publishing original material. The website, hosted on a Sun Microsystems Sparc 20 server and connected via a 64 kbit/s leased line from Demon Internet, was edited by Ben Rooney. Key personnel behind the launch of the site were Matthew Doull and Saul Klein and the then marketing manager of The Daily Telegraph, Hugo Drayton, and the webmaster Fiona Carter. Drayton later became managing director of the newspaper.
An early coup for the site was the publication of articles by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on Bill Clinton and the Whitewater controversy. The availability of the articles online brought a large American audience to the site. In 1997, the Clinton administration issued a 331-page report that accused Evans-Pritchard of peddling “right-wing inventions”. Derek Bishton, who by then had succeeded Rooney as editor, later wrote: “In the days before ET it would have been highly unlikely that anyone in the US would have been aware of Evans-Pritchard’s work – and certainly not to the extent that the White House would be forced to issue such a lengthy rebuttal.” Bishton, who is now consulting editor for Telegraph Media Group, was followed as editor by Richard Burton, who was made redundant in August 2006. Edward Roussel replaced Burton.
My Telegraph offers a platform for readers to have their own blog, save articles, and network with other readers. Launched in May 2007, My Telegraph won a Cross Media Award from international newspaper organisation IFRA in October 2007. One of the judges, Robert Cauthorn, described the project as “the best deployment of blogging yet seen in any newspaper anywhere in the world”.
In May 2009 the daily and Sunday editions published details of MPs’ expenses. This led to a number of high-profile resignations from both the ruling Labour administration and the Conservative opposition.
In December 2010 Telegraph reporters posing as constituents secretly recorded Business Secretary Vince Cable. In an undisclosed part of the transcript given to the BBC’s Robert Peston by a whistleblower unhappy that the Telegraph had not published Cable’s comments in full, Cable stated in reference to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation takeover bid for BSkyB, “I have declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we are going to win.” Following this revelation, Cable had his responsibility for media affairs – including ruling on Murdoch’s takeover plans – withdrawn from his role as business secretary. In May 2011 the Press Complaints Commission upheld a complaint regarding the Telegraph’s use of subterfuge: “On this occasion, the commission was not convinced that the public interest was such as to justify proportionately this level of subterfuge.” In July 2011 a firm of private investigators hired by the Telegraph to track the source of the leak concluded “strong suspicion” that two former Telegraph employees who had moved to News International, one of them Will Lewis, had gained access to the transcript and audio files and leaked them to Peston.
The Daily Telegraph has published at least four premature obituaries:
At the 2010 British Press Awards The Telegraph was named the “National Newspaper of the Year” for its coverage of the 2009 expenses scandal (named “Scoop of the Year”), with William Lewis winning “Journalist of the Year”. The Telegraph won “Team of the Year” in 2004 for its coverage of the Iraq War. The paper also won “Columnist of the Year” three years’ running from 2002 to 2004: Zoë Heller (2002), Robert Harris (2003) and Boris Johnson (2004).
In 1979, following a letter in The Daily Telegraph and a Government report highlighting the shortfall in care available for premature babies, Bliss, the special care baby charity, was founded. In 2009, as part of the Bliss 30th birthday celebrations, the charity was chosen as one of four beneficiaries of the newspaper’s Christmas Charity Appeal. In February 2010 a cheque was presented to Bliss for £120,000.
The newspaper runs a charity appeal every Christmas, choosing different charities each year. In 2009, £1.2 million was raised.