The Guardian Weekly is an internationally focused English-language newspaper based in London, UK. It is one of the world's oldest international newspapers and has readers in more than 170 countries. Editorial content is drawn from its sister publications, the British daily newspaper The Guardian and Sunday newspaper The Observer, and all three are published by Trinity Mirror and owned by the Guardian Media Group. The Guardian Weekly also contains articles from the Washington Post.
The Guardian Weekly is edited by acting editor Graham Snowdon following Abby Deveney's departure in 2017. The editorial team in 2016 included Deveney, deputy editor Graham Snowdon, production editor Neil Willis, deputy production editor Emily El-Nusairi and assistant editors Isobel Montgomery and Jim Falzarano.
The first edition of the Manchester Guardian Weekly was printed on 4 July 1919, a week after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Manchester Guardian viewed itself as a leading liberal voice and wanted to extend its reach, particularly in the United States, in the changing political climate after the First World War. The Weekly had the stated aim of "presenting what is best and most interesting in the Manchester Guardian, what is most distinctive and independent of time, in a compact weekly form". The initial reception was good. Before long the Manchester Guardian could boast “there is scarcely a corner of the civilised world to which it is not being posted regularly”, although it is worth noting that the newspaper was banned in Germany by Hitler for a time.
For a large part of its early life the newspaper was a half-broadsheet format. Initially the notion of ‘the best of the Guardian’ meant a weighty opinion piece for the front page. It evolved, under the editorship of John Perkin, in 1969, to include the use of pictures on the front page.
In 1971, the English edition of the French daily newspaper Le Monde folded and the Weekly took on its 12,000-strong subscription list as well as four pages of Le Monde copy. A content deal was made with the Washington Post in 1975. Dedicated pages from both publications augmented Guardian articles until a redesign in 1993, under new editor Patrick Ensor, led to their articles appearing across the Weekly. In the same year, content from The Observer began to appear after the UK Sunday title was purchased by Guardian Media Group.
Around this time the Weekly relocated from Cheadle, to the south of Manchester, to join the rest of the Guardian in London. This move afforded the Weekly better access to editors, leader writers and news features. In 1991, technological advances enabled the first transmission by modem of pages to an Australian print site. Under Ensor’s editorship, the paper began to be produced using the desktop publishing program Quark XPress. It became a tabloid-sized publication; then, in 2005, when the daily Guardian newspaper converted from a broadsheet to the smaller, Berliner format, the Guardian Weekly shrank to a half-Berliner while increasing pagination to its now-standard 48 pages. Full-colour printing was also introduced. By the end of Ensor’s editorship, curtailed by his death from cancer in 2007, more advances in technology meant that even Weekly readers in the most remote locations were able to access the internet.
The appointment of Natalie Bennett as Ensor’s successor coincided with the Guardian’s move to a digital-first publishing strategy. Breaking news stories were now launched on the Guardian’s fast-growing website, rather than held back to meet print deadlines. In 2007 a digital edition of the Guardian Weekly was created, an editor’s blog was added and a presence on social media sites Facebook and Twitter came soon after. The Guardian Weekly can be found online at theguardian.com/weekly, where subscription information is also available. During her editorship, Australian Bennett emphasised the need for the Weekly’s agenda to be truly global and increased its coverage of environmental issues and the developing world. Her passion for environmental politics led to her departure from the paper in 2012. She would go on to become the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales until 2016.
The Guardian Weekly’s evolution has continued under Abby Deveney, a newspaper, newswire and web editor with more than three decades of international experience living and working in North America, Asia and Europe. Under Canadian Deveney, the Weekly has embraced long-form journalism, with a greater emphasis on insightful writing, deep analysis and lively features that showcase a well-rounded world view. Reportage of global themes and trends now features on the front page, while the back page is a stage for the Guardian’s influential opinion writers. Her global experience ensures that the Weekly never comes from one geographical perspective. This aim has been aided by the launch in 2011 of a Guardian US website, edited from New York City, followed two years later by a Sydney-based Guardian Australia site, which greatly increased the Weekly’s coverage opportunities in these key territories.
The paper is printed at sites in the UK, Australia and the United States in a full-colour half-berliner format. The standard publication runs to 48 pages with one 64-page edition around the Christmas period.
Britain, Australia, the United States and Canada are the Guardian Weekly’s top markets, followed by New Zealand, France and Germany. With a following in more than 170 countries, the Weekly’s audience is spread around the world.
Each week, readers are encouraged to introduce themselves to fellow subscribers in a Good to Meet You feature, which began in 2012.
Surveys reveal that some 60% of subscribers had taken the paper for more than a decade. Readership tends towards a well-educated demographic. The typical reader is aged over 45, educated to at least degree level and either working in or retired from education, with a 59-41 male-female split.
Readers typify their reasons for subscribing: a family habit of taking the Manchester Guardian, followed by a spell working abroad in development or teaching, then retirement or emigration (often to Australia, New Zealand or North America). Others often report their route to initiation into the Guardian Weekly family came by having a copy passed along to them in a workplace or during a secondment.
The paper's readers include many world statesmen, including Nelson Mandela, who subscribed during his time in prison and described the paper as his "window on the wider world". George W. Bush was reportedly the first President of the United States since Jimmy Carter not to subscribe to the Guardian Weekly (that is to say Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton were subscribers).