Might it become The Sunday Guardian - public domain

One of the little battles going on in the British newspaper business is within The Guardian group. They’ve owned The Observer for some time now and there has long been an attempt to make The O into just The Sunday G.

Ah, for people who don’t know. Traditionally Sunday papers in the UK have been near entirely separate titles from the daily paper even if of the same name. Sometimes they even had different ownership – The Times and The Sunday Times didn’t always move as a pair. Sometimes they had different titles but were closely aligned – The News of the World and The Sun. But still different editors, different journalistic staff, different ad sales teams, separate organisations. And there’s good money to be saved by eliminating the one structure and turning the other into a rolling 7 day operation.

Thus, whatever the masthead might say, that temptation – being succumbed to by at least some – to turn The Observer into just The Sunday Guardian.

One effect of this happening is that The O would travel down that same path to perdition The G has already done. Both were, traditionally, classical liberal. The Manchester Guardian had close links to Cobden and the abolition of the Corn Laws for example. There was even a nice little blog run by one within the organisation which still made those arguments – ones that were difficult to get into the paper itself. The O has been slower to travel down that path to using economics as people wished it were rather than as it is. But, obviously, given the continued gnawing away at the title’s independent existence the infection is going to spread.

To monitor this all we need is to look at The Observer’s output and see whether it is publishing stories which reflect the same insanity to be found in The Guardian. At which point:

Can Spotify and Dropbox finally prove that tech is a sound investment?

Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Facebook, they’ve just so comprehensively proven over the decades that tech is a bad investment, haven’t they?

Yup, the Guardianisation of The Observer is proceeding apace.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I have no intention of defending the Guardian – and to be honest the Observer was long only slightly less in Moscow’s pocket than the comrades through the rest of the week.

    However I do remember boo.com. And pets.com. And GeoCities – Yahoo bought that for $3.75 billion and a decade later it was worth nothing.

    Not all internet companies are worth investing in.

    • Yup, the (current) tech revolution has not changed investing. The mentioned high-tech powerhouse companies have changed the way we live, for the much much better. Sears Roebuck let farmers hundreds of miles from a big city buy from a catalog over the telephone. Innovation has never conferred eternal life or continual profits.

  2. The only business point of an enterprise owning multiple franchises is to aim each at a different audience, such as leftie NBC’s center-right business channel CNBC. In this case, there is a business reason for having different editorial spin in each. If multiple franchises exist solely because millions of people simply want to keep taking The Observer, and not because they would object to reading The Guardian, then its editorial independence is not a given. I don’t think the evolution is always toward the left.