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The Most Famous Newspapers

What are the most famous newspapers around the world?

While they are not such a primary source of information today, as they were some decades ago (that honor now belongs to social media, online news sites and broadcasts), newspapers are still relevant in today’s world. There are, however, newspapers that are more famous than others. In addition, some have gained global acclaim for the quality of their reporting. 

Here are five newspapers, that belong to a group of most famous newspapers in the world. Four of these are printed in English. English is one of the most widely spoken languages globally. In fact, 1.5 billion people speak English — that’s 20% of the Earth’s population. With this in mind, regardless of quality, it would be hard for a newspaper written in French (for example) to be so popular worldwide. Until, that is, we all become translators! We list the newspapers below, in no particular order.


The New York Times (US)

Journalist and politician Henry Jarvis Raymond, along with former banker, George Jones, founded The New York Times back in 1851. Based in (you guessed it) New York, since it’s inception the paper has gone through many changes. Including a name change from “The New York Daily Times” to simply “The New York Times”. The standard of news reporting has been high throughout its tenure. It is the proud winner of no less than 125 Pulitzer awards, so far.


The Guardian (UK)

“Comment is free, but facts are sacred” – C.P. Scott, The Guardian Editor, 1921

This one quote effectively summarizes the philosophy behind The Guardian, and it is still quoted by the newspaper to this day. The paper began life as “The Manchester Guardian” until it was renamed “The Guardian” in 1959. The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust, along with its sister papers (both popular), The Observer and Guardian Weekly. The Trust was created in 1936 “to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference.” Although The Scott Trust became a limited company in 2008, a written constitution enshrined the same protections. Profits generated by the newspaper are reinvested in journalism.


The Washington Post (US)

Stilson Hutchins, a well-known newspaperman, established The Washington Post in 1877. While the paper today covers all kinds of news, it’s initial focus was on national politics and the federal government. Which is understandable, since the paper is based in the nation’s capital. The Posts’ inspiring slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness” has been placed on its masthead since 2017. The paper was controlled by the Grahams family until 2013, at which point they sold control to Nash Holdings for $250 million, in cash!

The Post (or WaPo, as it is sometimes abbreviated) has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes. Post journalists have also received 18 Nieman Fellowships and 368 White House News Photographers Association awards. In the early 1970s, Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led the American press’ investigation into what became known as the Watergate scandal.


Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan)

The Yomiuri Shimbun is one of Japan’s five national papers and the most internationally recognized of the five. The company is based in Osaka, however the newspaper is published in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and other major Japanese cities.  This is most the widely circulated newspaper in the world, according to a study conducted in 2016. It has a combined morning and evening circulation of 14,323,781. Yomiuri Shimbun established the Yomiuri Prize in 1948. Its winners have included Yukio Mishima and Haruki Murakami.


The Wall Street Journal (US)

As its name would suggest, The Wall Street Journal is a business-focused newspaper. The name itself is derived from the Wall Street, located in the heart of the financial district in Lower Manhattan. In more recent years, it has started to broaden its coverage into other kinds of news, to capture a larger audience. The paper was started in 1889 and has come a long way from its humble beginnings, to have the largest circulation of any US newspaper. It has won a total of 37 Pulitzer prizes in its run.

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