Who reads which newspaper in Britain?


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Britain is one of the world's most class-conscious societies. Contrarily to many other countries though, social classes have little to do with income or jobs. It's a mindset, a way of being and living, something inherited from one's parents and influenced by one's peers. It has more to do with one's tastes, manners, hobbies, pets, and the vocabulary one uses, than about money. British people hate to talk about money, but one's social class is immediately apparent from their appearance and behaviour.

Unsurprisingly, the paper you read also reflects your social class. The main division is the type of newspaper one reads. Higher social classes read one of the four broadsheets (The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Times), which are regarded as more intelligent and respectable publications. Then comes the Mid-market tabloids (The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, The London Evening Standard), which blend serious reporting and gossips. At the bottom of the social scale are the Red-tops tabloids (The Communists, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Sport, The Daily Star, The Sun, The Sunday People), which are often completely ridiculous or hysterical.

Apart from social classes, each publication has its own political leaning or affiliation. Among the broadsheets, The Daily Telegraph is strongly pro-Conservative. The Times is more moderately conservative. The Independent is centre-left but tries to be politically neutral as its name indicate. The Guardian is liberal, progressive and center-left leaning, and seems to be increasingly read by the new establishment. Its readers were traditionally supporters of the Labour Party, but are now shifting toward the Liberal Democrats. The Financial Times advocates free-market, it is is pro-globalisation and pro-EU, and supports both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

The Mid-market tabloids are generally more extremist and alarmist in their tone. Quoting from this page, The Daily Mail is "ultra right-wing, populist, nationalistic, xenophobic, isolationist, often hysterical, and notoriously obsessed with the immigrants, house prices, same-sex marriage, and claimants of state benefits". The Daily Express is provincial, has a liking for conspiracy theories, is known for scare-mongering articles about immigration and is a supporter of UK Independence Party (UKIP). The Evening Standard is right-wing and more focused on local London news.

Red-top tabloids are known for their sensationalism and for deliberately igniting controversy. The Sun is the the best-selling paper in the UK. It is populist and working-class, known for its collection of topless women and its obsession about the price of beer. It is infamous for its xenophobic and anti-gay stance and also claimed that video games are evil. The Daily Mirror is a populist, left-wing tabloid supporting the Labour Party. The Daily Star is racist and homophobic far-right publication often described as having lots of gossip and tits but little news. The Sunday People is essentially pornographic in character and concerned about scantily clad celebrities.

Red-tops are read mostly by the working classes. Mid-range tabloids pander to the less-educated (lower to middle) middle classes. Broadsheets appeal mostly to upper, upper-middle and some middle-middle classes.

Readership varies by age groups, gender and social class, as shown by this MORI survey.

The 65+ are much more likely to read the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Mirror. Young people (15-24) favour The Daily Star and The Sun. The Times, The Guardian and The Independent are read more or less equally by all age groups, but especially by those between 25 and 54 years old.

Men read more newspapers than women (55% vs 45%). Those most likely to appeal to a male audience are the Financial Times (72%) and the Daily Star (70%).

About half of the readers of the Financial Times, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent belong to the upper-middle or middle-middle classes (A and B in the NRS classification), and 30% to the lower-middle class (C1). The Daily Mail and the Daily Express get 75% of their readership from the lower-middle and working classes (C1, C2, D and E), while the share rises to over 90% for The Daily Mirror, The Sun and The Daily Star, among which 40% of the readers belong to the unskilled working class (D) and those at those at lowest level of subsistence (E).

YouGov, an international internet-based market research firm, did a detailed profiling of each newspaper's audience, including their favourite foods, hobbies, sports, general interests, niche interests and pets. You can check the different profiles here.

In summary:

PublicationCirculation (2016)TypePolitical stanceTypical reader
The Sun1.78 millionRed-top tabloidFar-right & conservativeUnemployed chav who spends his days watching TV or at the pub playing darts and talking football.
Daily Mail1.59 millionMid-market tabloidConservative Conscientious female office worker who likes gardening and eats cheese-and-tomato sandwiches
Evening Standard900.000Mid-market tabloidConservative
Daily Mirror810.000Red-top tabloidLabourOlder manual worker who eats ham, eggs and chips, likes football, boxing, TV, DIY and owns a bird
Daily Telegraph472.000BroadsheetVery conservativeOlder businessman with traditional views, who enjoys good food, likes cricket and supports the monarchy
Daily Star470.000Red-top tabloidLabour & Far-rightWorking class man who likes boxing, football, darts, naked celebrities, and spends a lot of time eating chips and ice cream in front of the TV
Daily Express408.000Mid-market tabloidUKIPRetired manual worker who likes meat pies, gardening and walking his dog
The Times404.000BroadsheetCentre-rightEducated professional who likes trekking and rugby
Financial Times198.000BroadsheetFree-market liberalismYoung trader, analyst or entrepreneur who enjoys sailing and seafood.
The Guardian164.000BroadsheetLiberal, centre-left (Lib Dems)Well-travelled foodie who cares about the arts and modern technologies
The Independent55.000BroadsheetNeutral, centrist (Lib Dems)Cosmopolitan and liberal young man who cycles to work and likes cultural activities

NB: the circulation figures do not necessarily reflect the market share of readers as younger and wealthier people are far more likely to read online than to buy the paper version. For example, The Guardian has 243,000 online visitors daily and is the second mostly read paper online, after the Daily Mail. In contrast, red-top tabloids have very little online traffic.
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So a lot of the press tends to be xenophobic and extremist in it's overall tone? Can't say this is the main reason but no wonder most of the British voted in favor of Brexit.
So a lot of the press tends to be xenophobic and extremist in it's overall tone? Can't say this is the main reason but no wonder most of the British voted in favor of Brexit.

The influence of xenophobic tabloids is a well-known reason for the Brexit vote. It is mostly working class and lower-middle class people who voted for Brexit, and they read primarily fact-distorting and scare-mongering tabloids.
What about BBC news? I don't live in Britain but I'm a big fan of BBC.
What about BBC news? I don't live in Britain but I'm a big fan of BBC.
Me too. I'm getting news and good documentaries from BBC.
I also appreciate Deutshe Welle , nice visual, nice sound, nice themes and great English! Tottaly digestable.
The BBC is not a newspaper and therefore was not part of the various demographic studies cited above. The BBC has an international rather than British audience, but in the UK it is mostly middle class people (lower to uppper middle) who read the BBC website.

Deutsche Welle is neither a newspaper nor British, so obviously not part of the study.
The influence of xenophobic tabloids is a well-known reason for the Brexit vote. It is mostly working class and lower-middle class people who voted for Brexit, and they read primarily fact-distorting and scare-mongering tabloids.

Oh really? But then again England has always been xenophobic. Such is like saying the sun rises in the east & sets in the west. Brits maybe not be doing a KKK stunt but to say they aren't xenophobic is rather inaccurate. The word tolerant is far better but even that is stretching it in places. After all, England is in a way like Canada. Neither country likes to be called racist and bigoted, and they [or the people] will protest quite loudly when called out on being just that, but there is no denying simple fact.

But it is interesting that you say that the working & lower middle class are the ones that voted Brexit. Of course they did. They're the ones been affected, those of the wealthier class couldn't careless (& why should they?).

Cold simple fact is, after all, that the EU wasn't designed for the "people" it was designed for big businesses to bring in cheap labour & also to ship their products everywhere without tariffs. I mean the EU security ideas well, given their success rate with stopping people joining ISIS, a three legged blind hound dog would be better.

Still why do you think welfare numbers have skyrocketed in England? A combination of people losing their jobs to that cheap labour and the shipped-in cheap labour not having the qualifications to actually work in England nor thanks to easier-than-stealing-candy-from-a-baby welfare system wanting to even try working in England. There's a reason why, after all, refugees nowadays keep reapplying for country status. It isn't quite to be reunited with family - seeing as they always target the easy-to-get welfare countries.

The EU was a lovely construct. One in which the "fat cats" could only ever look after their fellow "fat cats"?

However, with respect to the poor only voting for Brexit. My uncle is British. He is the son of a British airways pilot. He was a British airways pilot himself and his wife not just a doctor but a specialist. I'd say he belongs to the upper middle-class at the least what with a house in England, a house in Spain, and a house in Germany - two of which are without mortgage. His brother is a genius investor & a multi-millionaire. They all voted for Brexit by the way.

But the summary on your papers is interesting though.

The Daily Mail, for example, isn't entirely xenophobic. If it was it would not have been painting the Swedes whom had had enough and were chasing refugee thugs through the subways a few months ago as if the native born Swedes were the hounds of hell themselves. It is even a rag of the trashy tabloids, pretty obvious in how most of the writers have grammar & writing skills that a child could at times best, that really only sells "sensationalized" stories. That means whatever is selling at that time is published. There's a reason why half the articles on a "good day" are just rubbish or better yet published with only half the facts & updated later.

As for what I read. I read at least five of them.

After all, people that don't read more than one newspaper [/news channel] are blind. They only ever "learn" what that newspaper / channel wants them to see & hear and have the folly of actually believing it completely accurate.

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