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- This article concerns the British newspaper, see The Daily Telegraph (Australia) for the Australian publication
The Daily Telegraph is a British broadsheet newspaper founded in 1855. Its sister paper, The Sunday Telegraph, was founded in 1961. In 2002, the Telegraph was the highest selling British broadsheet, with an average daily circulation of 920,000. This compared with a circulation of 620,000 for The Times, 230,000 for The Independent, and 400,000 for The Guardian1.
The Telegraph is known for its right-wing politics. Within this classification it takes a roughly central position on the authoritarian/libertarian axis. It is less traditionalist and more libertarian than The Spectator but more traditionalist and less libertarian than The Economist. Personal links between the editorial team and the leadership of the Conservative Party (the Tories) vary in strength but the combination of these links with the paper's influence over Conservative activists result in the paper often being jokingly referred to as the Torygraph.
Its editors in recent years have been the renowned W. F. Deedes (1974-1986), Sir Max Hastings (1986-1995), and Charles Moore (1995-2003). On October 1, 2003 the newspaper announced that Moore was stepping down as the editor of the paper to spend his time working on a biography of Margaret Thatcher. His successor is Martin Newland.
The Daily Telegraph was established on June 29, 1855 by Colonel Arthur B. Sleigh. He controlled it only briefly before selling it to his printer, Joseph Moses Levy , father of the 1st Baron Burnham. Levy appointed his sons as editors and relaunched the paper on September 17. His most significant and successful move was reducing the price of the paper to a penny, the first of the penny press. Within twelve months the new paper was outselling The Times.
In 1908, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany gave a controversial interview to The Daily Telegraph which severely damaged Anglo-German relations and added to international tension leading 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 1937 the newspaper absorbed The Morning Post which traditionally espoused a Conservative position and sold predominantly amongst the retired officer class. Originally Lord 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.
November 15th 2004 saw the 10th anniversay of the launch of the Telegraph's website Electronic Telegraph . Now rebranded to telegraph.co.uk the website was the UK's first national newspaper online.
The Daily Telegraph is owned by Press Holdings Limited , the company belonging to the Barclay brothers. Until January 2004 the newspaper group was controlled by Canadian businessman, Conrad Black. Black, through his holding company Ravelston , owned Hollinger Inc. which in turn owns 30% of Hollinger International and, under a deal struck when Black bought the newspaper group in 1986, owns 78% of the voting rights. Hollinger Inc. also owns the Chicago Sun-Times, the Jerusalem Post, and other right-leaning publications such as The Spectator, a weekly magazine edited by the British Member of Parliament, Boris Johnson.
On January 18 2004, Black was sacked 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 Hollinger Inc. from Black, giving them the controlling interest in the newspaper group. They then launched a takeover bid for the rest of the group, valuing the company at £200m. However, a suit has been filed by the Hollinger International board with the SEC to try to block Black selling shares in the company until an investigation into his dealings have been completed. Black filed a counter-suit but eventually United States judge Leo Strine sided with the Hollinger International board and blocked Black from selling his Hollinger Inc. shares and interests to the twins. On Sunday March 7, the twins announced they were launching another takeover bid, this time just for the Daily Telegraph and its Sunday sister paper rather than the whole stable. 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 initative. Desmond withdrew in March 2004 when the price climbed above £600m, as did Daily Mail and General Trust plc on June 17.
Amidst the unravelling of the takeover Sir David Barclay suggested that The Daily Telegraph might in future no longer be the "house newspaper" of the Conservative Party. In a interview with The Guardian newspaper he said "Where the government are right we will support them."
Eventually, the Barclay brothers purchased Hollinger, and with it the Telegraph, for around 665 million pounds in late June 2004.
There has been much speculation about the launch of a compact edition of The Daily Telegraph to counter the change in size of The Times to a tabloid. However, the Telegraph has denied these claims and tried to attract disgruntled Times readers who want to read a more upmarket broadsheet. Its latest advertising slogan is Think Bigger.
It is possible that the Telegraph will face increased competition from The World, a new highbrow newspaper to be launched by Stephen Glover .
Peter Simple, the pseudonym of Michael Wharton who writes a humorous column in the paper.
Auberon Waugh, a previous columnist
1 These figures do not take into account the varying numbers of free copies of each paper given away at hotels, railway stations, and in aeroplanes.