Home Language & Literature The Age of Translation: Early 20th-century Concepts and Debates
The Manchester Guardian
This section investigates two key aspects of the Manchester Guardians oversight that contributed to the selection and exclusion of topics: the newspaper’s editorial line and general attitude towards Germany at the time; and the characteristics of each foreign correspondent in relation to the translation flows.
The Manchester Guardian’s editorial line
Edward Taylor founded the Manchester Guardian in the wake of the Paterloo Massacre in 1821 in order to promulgate liberal views (Online Archive Manchester Guardian 01/06/2002). The newspaper achieved international recognition from 1872 to 1927 under C.P. Scott’s editorship (ibid.). Though a widely read quality newspaper, the Manchester Guardians circulation figures did not quite measure up to those of the popular presses (e.g. Daily Mail) during the interwar period. However, it was consulted by political stakeholders such as Chamberlain, and by an educated, politically involved readership with liberal views (Hucker 18). Consequently, we can assume that the Manchester Guardian was politically influential.
C.P. Scott eventually bought the newspaper in 1907, outlining his views on journalism in his famous essay “Comments are free but facts are sacred” (Scott 05/05/1921). In this essay he explained that a newspaper is not only a business but also a moral institution that may “educate, stimulate, assist [people], or may do the opposite” (ibid.). He described the primary task of the newspaper as gathering news and providing an unbiased account of events. “At the peril of its soul it must see that the supply is not tainted. Neither in what it gives, nor in what it does not give, nor in the mode of presentation must the unclouded face of truth suffer wrong” (ibid.). Like agenda-setting and framing research, Scott identified the selection and exclusion of topics as well as modes of representation as paramount when influencing a particular readership through the provision of news. C.P. Scott passed away in 1932 and left the newspaper to his son John Russell Scott (Online Archive Manchester Guardian 01/06/2002). However, the death duties John Scott was to pay threatened the viability of the business, thereby endangering the continuation of the liberal editorial tradition (ibid.). To preserve the newspaper’s independence, John Scott passed on his ownership to the Scott Trust in 1936 (ibid.). Three years prior to this event, William Percival Crozier had been appointed editor and given free rein in all editorial matters. In view of the events that were unfolding on the continent, this proved to be a fortunate choice: Crozier had been responsible for the foreign news provision ever since the Manchester Guardian had established this service (Ayerst 507). Thanks to his long-standing involvement and voluminous correspondence with foreign correspondents, Crozier was exceptionally well informed about European politics in the 1930s (ibid.). He continued the Manchester Guardians editorial tradition of striving for comprehensive, balanced, and objective reports (ibid. 499). This is illustrated by the following quote from a telegram he sent to Voigt, the paper’s diplomatic correspondent in London: “We really must consider what Germany does each time on its own merits, examining her acts and methods, approving them if they are good and condemning them if they are bad” (Crozier to Voigt 30/05/1937). This extract not only testifies to Crozier’s continued commitment to high-quality journalism but also suggests that the editor and his correspondents did not always agree on political matters.
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