History of International Newspapers: The Times in England Part 2

About the International newspaper The Times published in England, history and information.

THE TIMES (London, England)

In 1854, The Times sent out the world's 1st war correspondent--William Howard Russell--to cover the Crimean War, with the admonition "Tell the truth." Russell, moon-faced, 34 years old, did. He told about the poorly clad, half-starved British troops who weren't getting supplies. From a height, he viewed the battle at Balaklava, where he could see what was going on as plainly "as the stage and those upon it are seen from the box of a theater." In graphic detail, he described the "thin red streak topped with a line of steel" as it made its attack; then the sabers swinging among the guns of the Russians; and finally the retreat. "At 11:35 not a British soldier, except the dead and dying, was left in front of those bloody Muscovite guns." Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is based largely on this report.

The Times got a lot of complaints following publication of Russell's eyewitness stories and his reports about the lack of supplies. Lord Raglan, a British commander, said that Russell was giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The prince consort called him a "miserable scribbler."

Delane went to the Crimea to find out if Russell's stories were indeed true. He wrote back that the Turks were "infinitely better supplied and better appointed than the French of English."

The Times tried to get the Government to do something about the situation with no success, so the paper mounted a campaign to raise money for relief. The campaign brought pond 25,000 and spurred Florence Nightingale to go with 38 nurses to the Crimea.

Later, Delane made a trip to the U.S. He didn't like it. To him, Washington, D.C., was an "odious village," and Boston was a place where "nobody seems to have anything to do but lounge in and out of the hotels and gossip and drink." On October 14, 1862, Delane wrote an ill-considered editorial in which he said, "Is the name of Lincoln ultimately to be classed in the catalog of monsters, wholesale assassins and butchers of their kind?"

By 1908, The Times had been bought by Lord Northcliffe, who, though he saved it from ruin, meddled too much in its affairs. However, it was he who attacked the ministry for a shortage of shells which caused a British attack to fail in France in 1915. He was told by the Government that circulation of the paper would fall and he might go to jail. "Better to lose circulation than lose the war," he replied. The paper was burned on the floor of the London Stock Exchange.

In 1922, John Jacob Astor acquired the paper. It went into a decline, from which Sir William Haley, who became editor in 1952, rescued it. Before he took over, the paper was called "the Whimperer." He soon stopped that by enlivening the physical appearance and content, putting in more photographs, and writing editorials. Haley was "a curious bird, withdrawn, relentless, a latter-day Victorian, a product of self-help--he left school at 16--with a boundless appetite for work and a strong streak of puritanism that came out in his biting Profumo leader, 'It is a moral issue.'" (Magnus Turnstile in The New Statesman.)

In 1966, Lord Thomson of Fleet, a fantastically rich man, bought The Times, which soon merged with the Sunday Times. In 1970, the paper was still losing money, "fighting for its life," according to Denis Hamilton, chief executive. By 1975, however, thanks to the merger, the situation was improving.

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