A sign of the Times!
July 15, 2010

The old Thunderer passed a significant milestone today with its 70,000th issue, being the only national newspaper in the English-speaking world to have reached that number.  

The Times has certainly seen a few developments since it started life as the Daily Universal Register in 1785 and none more so than its recent daily availability online for those who don’t like getting newsprint on their fingers. 

Today we were invited to visit the Times archive and browse through every edition from 1785 to 1985, but to be honest I wasn’t prepared to pay the £4.95 asking price for a ‘day pass.’

Back in 1944, when the 50,000th edition rolled off the old presses, Winston Churchill felt moved to send a letter of congratulations in which he wrote:

“Few journals can display so notable a record or may so justly be acclaimed as an outstanding example of the virtues of a free press. The renown of “The Times” throughout the world has for more than a century stood unassailably high.”  

But that was before The Last Tycoon, from the land down under, got his hands on it and some might now say, ‘How times have changed!’

I wonder if David Cameron was aware of today’s landmark publication and whether he was able to take a break from repairing the country to pen his appreciation. After all, in these times of austerity, it would be wise to keep in with Rupert – you never know when you’ll need his support again! 

I doubt ex prime ministers Blair and Brown will be acknowledging the occasion after this week’s Third Man  exclusives, apparently Labour figures are ‘spitting’, but there might be a Thankyou text from Mandy.  

The modern-day Times shed its former serious and somewhat pompous broadsheet image some years ago now and the new user-friendly tabloid version brought with it a change of style that has appealed to a greater cross-section of society. 

Serious investigative journalism and in-depth news analysis still remain but they are now juxtaposed with more populist or frivolous features and sensational exposes which would have been anathema, in the old days, to Disgusted of Cheltenham Spa and Colonel Blimp of Tunbridge Wells!     

Today’s edition is a point in case. The front page leads with a low-key but newsworthy ‘Europe warns Obama: this relationship is not working’  based on a lengthy interview with the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, but this sits uncomfortably along side invitations to step inside for the racey Confessions of an X-rated teacher or  the  more homespun charms of Mrs Clegg’s * tortilla recipe!

* Please note Mrs Clegg  prefers to use her own name, Miriam González Durántez, when writing about more serious topics, such as the media’s misogynistic coverage of the World Cup and her defence of the Spanish football team – ole!