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The Guardian in 2021 | Working report

How the Guardian covered 2021: a year of Covid, Cop26 and sporting triumphs – video
How the Guardian lined 2021: a yr of Covid, Cop26 and sporting triumphs – video

An unforgettable 200th yr

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief

2021 was an unforgettable yr for information – one which started in a state of limbo, in which Covid vaccines existed, however had not but been distributed; and with an American president who had been voted out of workplace, however whose supporters have been trying to maintain him in energy by means of a violent assault on the US Congress.

Regardless of a difficult yr for thus many, there was resilience and optimism in Guardian and Observer journalism that was shared by our big viewers around the globe.

Our numbers

13%

enhance in web page views to our environmental reporting

This spirit was obvious in our environmental protection – by no means extra so than round Cop26. The Guardian has all the time lined the setting extensively, however this yr we grew our local weather protection like by no means earlier than, with impactful on-the-ground reporting holding leaders and politicians to account, deep knowledgeable evaluation, and a platform for the voices of these affected by the local weather disaster, in addition to passionate campaigners and younger activists.

The Guardian produced among the greatest and boldest information investigations in our historical past this yr. The Pegasus mission highlighted how threats to our freedom can exist inside the on a regular basis applied sciences we now have come to depend on, and revealed their devastating human affect. The Pandora Papers – like Pegasus, a collaborative international investigation with media companions – uncovered the hidden property of among the world’s richest and strongest individuals by means of the most important offshore information leak in historical past. Each tasks revealed ethically questionable practices being carried out in secret, and each had a serious public affect around the globe.

Our unique revelations of sexual harassment allegations in the British TV business towards actor and director Noel Clarke was adopted up extensively, and prompted many related tales and a long-overdue debate about systemic change in the career. It was simply considered one of many items of journalism this yr highlighting dangers to ladies’s security; from the Observer’s ongoing Finish Femicide marketing campaign, to our thought-about protection across the horrific murders of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa and Gabby Petito.

After the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, knowledgeable Guardian journalists labored collectively to element the advanced story of the Taliban takeover and what it means for the nation’s future.

Within the US, this yr introduced a brand new presidential administration, however highlighted America’s deep-seated structural issues – from the continued local weather disaster to racial, financial and well being inequalities. In 2021 our reporters carried out a nine-month investigation on alarming ranges of ‘perpetually chemical substances’ — arsenic and lead — in water methods throughout the US; we uncovered legal guidelines that hold Black and Latino Californians in jail; revealed the Fb loophole that enables world leaders to deceive and harass their residents; uncovered hyperlinks between authorities officers and far-right teams; and reported on threats to US democracy.

After months of avoiding the size of tragedy skilled in a lot of the world, Australia was compelled into state-wide lockdowns, with Melbourne incomes the unwelcome title of the world’s most locked-down metropolis. Our journalists vigorously documented the state authorities responses, and highlighted the well being and vaccine inequalities rising throughout Indigenous communities because of this. 2021 was additionally a yr in which Australia’s diplomatic relations with China and France have been challenged and the place the nation’s notorious local weather inaction was brutally uncovered on a world stage – explored brilliantly by Guardian Australia’s in-depth audio investigation, Australia vs the local weather.

In such a torrid information yr, Guardian and Observer journalists additionally continued to carry our readers moments of optimism, pleasure – and hope. Excellent protection of the humanities, meals, relationships, and stunning and engaging options (a lot of them contained in our bumper new Saturday journal for UK readers) all performed their half. We significantly prioritised reflecting readers’ hopes for the long run by means of new objects resembling ‘A brand new begin after 60’.

Our numbers

200

years of the Guardian, celebrated on 5 Might 2021

From the Olympics to the Euros, the Ashes and past, our sportswriters overcame big logistical challenges to cowl these occasions and the tales round them with wit, verve and intelligence – breaking loads of information alongside the best way.

Our multimedia groups have additionally produced one other yr of participating and carefully-crafted podcasts, movies and visuals. Immediately in Focus’ deep dives on the Pegasus mission was excellent over 5 episodes and Science Weekly has remained a must-listen all through the pandemic. Guardian documentaries secured an Oscar for the shifting quick movie Colette.

Within the Guardian’s bicentenary yr, we additionally appeared again to our historical past, with readers and former colleagues recollecting their favorite Guardian tales and moments. It was highly effective for us to learn messages from 1000’s of people that Guardian journalism has impressed, knowledgeable and moved over the a long time. Readers stay on the very coronary heart of the Guardian’s mission. And, regardless of the pandemic’s persevering with reverberations, monetary help for the Guardian has reached report ranges this yr, with multiple million common acts of economic help from readers, on prime of our dedicated print subscribers in the UK and practically half 1,000,000 extra one-off contributions.

In our 2 hundredth yr, we’re grateful to each reader who helps to fund our work and helps our journalism.

Thanks. 200 years and we’ve solely simply begun.

Composite picture: Rosanna Webster

Open, unbiased journalism has by no means mattered extra

We’d like new supporters to maintain our formidable, high-impact reporting

Thanks for supporting our award-winning newsroom in 2021

A constructive outlook, after a difficult yr

Keith Underwood, Interim chief govt

This has been an eventful and profitable yr for the Guardian. Alongside our journalism, priorities have been to efficiently handle the enterprise by means of the various phases of the pandemic, to guard and promote employees wellbeing, and to evolve and innovate such that we are able to proceed to tell and encourage readers now and into perpetuity.

The ongoing volatility attributable to coronavirus has been felt by many various components of our enterprise – from the difficulties in supplying our newspapers to loyal print subscribers in the UK, to the long-term closures of places of work and distant working for many of our employees around the globe for the previous 20 months. The pandemic has additionally created main financial instability – impacting our international promoting revenues and lots of of our different enterprise actions.

Our numbers

1m

digital recurring acts of help to the Guardian

Regardless of these challenges, this has been a constructive yr for our enterprise. At first, the exceptional monetary help from readers has continued to develop in 2021. In November, we handed the milestone of 1 million digital subscriptions from readers around the globe. This milestone is all of the extra spectacular for the truth that we now have achieved it with out imposing a paywall. Together with print subscriptions, and practically half 1,000,000 one-off contributions from readers, we obtained a complete of practically 1.6 million acts of help in the previous 12 months.

The Guardian is a really international information writer. Now, greater than half of our digital subscriptions, and roughly 30% of our whole revenues, come from exterior the UK. Our worldwide presence performs an integral position in the Guardian’s international enterprise, with dynamic and rising groups in each Australia and the US. Guardian Australia persistently ranked in the highest 5 international information manufacturers in the Australian market, and delivered glorious monetary outcomes as a trusted, progressive information writer. With only a decade’s presence in the market, Guardian US continues to increase its attain in a extremely aggressive sector, delivering distinctive award-winning journalism and attracting advertisers and fast-growing numbers of supporters.

Regardless of the financial volatility, our international promoting groups have labored fantastically, innovating and successful enterprise from manufacturers who wish to promote alongside the Guardian’s trusted journalism – maybe exemplified by a large-scale partnership with Ocado, supporting our Saturday Feast journal and serving to to fund our new ‘Consolation Consuming’ podcast hosted by Grace Dent. Equally revolutionary have been our Guardian Stay crew’s ongoing success with a programme of digital occasions; a sequence of latest digital journalism instruments efficiently launched by our product and engineering groups; and work by our publishing groups on the very profitable launch of our new Saturday print journal.

Our numbers

175m

month-to-month browsers each month

In addition to our industrial efficiency we now have additionally made good strides in our dedication to variety and inclusion, doubled down on our local weather targets, and are adjusting rapidly to new methods of working.

Within the yr of Cop26, we now have labored arduous to cut back our personal emissions, as our positive impact and sustainability report defined in extra element. We at the moment are formally dedicated to the Science Based mostly Targets initiative for companies, and our most up-to-date carbon audit reveals an general discount in our carbon emissions by round 30%. Pushed by the fervour of our employees and our readers, we launched many different environmental initiatives too – from Guardian Jobs’ Inexperienced Jobs initiative, to the elimination of plastic and paper wrapping for our print publications.

We’re dedicated to variety and inclusion, with particular targets to enhance feminine and non-white illustration in any respect ranges in the corporate, and to cut back our gender and ethnicity pay gaps, by means of a powerful give attention to recruitment, promotion, coaching and improvement for workers. These will stay a excessive precedence in 2022 and past.

Our numbers

87%

enhance in digital recurring help since 2018

Trying forward, we really feel optimistic in regards to the Guardian’s enterprise; with excellent journalism, a powerful model, a dedicated and revolutionary workforce, and with the rising monetary help of our readers, we’re effectively positioned to succeed in a difficult international media market.

As we shut 2021, I’ve been profoundly impressed with the resilience of our employees and the deep sense of objective that powers the work of everybody at Guardian Media Group. A honest thanks to all employees for his or her efforts and contributions. As we and our readers know, it’s a actually particular organisation.

Many because of all those that learn us, subscribe or contribute financially to us, promote and companion with us. Your help helps us present Guardian journalism that makes an actual affect in so some ways.

We want you all a really comfortable yr forward.

Composite picture: Rosanna Webster

Exclusives and awards: the yr in journalism

Mark Rice-Oxley, govt editor reader revenues

It was the yr that the vaccines started the fightback towards the virus; that life, enterprise (and carbon emissions) rebounded; that provide chains – and sports activities stars – broke down and that new eras started in the US, Germany – and Afghanistan.

Our numbers

16.1bn

web page views to our digital platforms

Guardian and Observer journalism lined all this and way more in 2021, publishing a chunk of labor on common each 5 minutes, and serving nearly 2m pages to readers each hour. There was a string of game-changing investigations, a twig of awards, and a relentless give attention to the problems that transfer us most: the setting, ladies’s rights, injustice, know-how, racism, younger individuals. And all this from a employees nonetheless scattered by the pandemic, most working remotely in dozens of nations, from lots of of kitchen tables and residential places of work.

200 years a piece in progress

Amid the uncertainty of a stop-start restoration from essentially the most difficult international occasion in 80 years, there was a particular purpose for celebration in 2021 because it marked the Guardian’s 2 hundredth anniversary. Greater than 54,000 editions – and several other million articles – later, we used this second to elucidate the place the Guardian got here from, the place it’s going, and what it’s for. The editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, wrote an essay on Guardian values from time to time. And a mighty train involving employees current and previous, in addition to supporters and patrons, pinpointed 200 of essentially the most memorable Guardian items of labor. We additionally used the second to launch new streams of journalism: one, known as The Outspoken, champions unsung campaigners; one other, Reconstruction After Covid, invited sensible minds to reimagine a greater post-pandemic world.

Fittingly for the bicentenary of a newspaper that has constructed a status on discovering out darkish secrets and techniques and publishing them in the general public curiosity, it was an distinctive yr for investigative journalism. The Pandora papers, revealing the offshore offers and property of greater than 100 billionaires and 30 world leaders, resulted in investigations in at the very least 9 nations. We printed on the misuse of Pegasus cellphone spyware and adware, which resulted in the Israeli producer being positioned on a US blacklist.

We made waves with exclusives on Isis brides, the risk to the Nice Barrier Reef, and the failure to prosecute rape in the UK. Months of investigation produced revelations in regards to the little-known curiosity in Britain whereby the monarch can scrutinise laws earlier than parliament does.

The affect of our journalism didn’t cease there. The assassin of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta was lastly sentenced, three years after we began reporting on the case. The British authorities determined to cease cold-calling disabled individuals to supply them “take it or go away it” advantages after we uncovered the observe in March. Our Covid articles on insider contracts for mates of the Conservative social gathering resulted in a decide ruling that one such deal was illegal. A decade after we revealed that undercover cops have been inveigling their means into the lives of activists, a tribunal dominated that it was a human rights violation. Australia’s electoral fee launched an inquiry after the Guardian uncovered an MP’s questionable Fb pages. A US ethanol plant was compelled to shut after we revealed how its toxins have been polluting a Nebraska city.

Dismantling wrong-headed insurance policies and practices by exposing them stays a core goal of Guardian journalism.

The hottest summer time ever

The local weather disaster stays an editorial, and company, precedence. In 2021, this meant extra Guardian journalists than ever reporting from international hotspots: the heatwaves of Russia, Europe and North America, because the northern hemisphere summer time was declared the most well liked ever; the floods in China, Germany, India, England, Greece, Thailand. The drought in japanese and southern Africa, threatening famine in locations resembling Madagascar. The wildfires in Australia, the US, Canada, Europe, recurring with higher depth, higher destruction. At sure occasions and in sure locations, the Earth is actually changing into unliveable, as our correspondents heard first hand from these residing on the local weather frontline.

We additionally despatched extra Guardian journalists than ever to report from the annual Cop local weather summit. Although the result was disappointing (columnist George Monbiot known as it a “suicide pact”) the journalism was quick, full, forensic and frank, and confirmed the Guardian’s formidable vary, from reside information to remark, podcasts to information visualisations, human-interest journalism to humour. It was rewarding to see an academic study of 17 big media organisation in 5 nations set up that the Guardian and Observer produced “one of the best or most scientifically correct protection of local weather change”. However setting protection isn’t nearly local weather, as demonstrated by our exclusives on British sewage dumping, failed Australian environmental offsets and the perils of air air pollution.

All around the globe

Dozens of employees correspondents and freelancers cowl the world for the Guardian, delivering swift, authoritative journalism on disaster and chaos, whether or not in Myanmar, Ethiopia, japanese Europe or Sudan.

We had reporters on the bottom in Afghanistan talking to Afghans because the nation fell to the Taliban, and correspondents in the US talking to Individuals on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. We anticipated the autumn of Kabul and teamed up with feminine Afghan journalists to publish a sequence of pressing reportage in regards to the dramatic change in the nation’s prospects.

Our US crew ushered in a brand new period underneath Joe Biden – after offering memorable protection of the chaotic climax to the Trump presidency. In Asia, we investigated the altering geopolitical energy stability and deepening insecurity in the South China Sea. We lined watershed elections in Germany, the Czech Republic, Norway, Israel and Iran, amongst others, and scrutinised shortcomings at Google, Amazon, Apple and Fb in a troublesome yr for Huge Tech.

The virus, the variants, the vaccines

Because the world entered a second yr in the grip of Covid-19, we skilled our focus globally on individuals and lives as a lot as on statistics and developments and coverage. Misplaced to the Virus, and Misplaced on the Frontline have been two sequence that shone a highlight on the lives reduce quick by the pandemic. Internationally, we reported on the surge and retreat of lethal variants in the UK, Europe, US, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and past, unpacking among the most granular statistics to spotlight coverage weaknesses.

There was in fact progress to report, too – the rollout of vaccines in scores of nations and the administration of some 8bn doses worldwide, albeit in an uneven vogue that coined a brand new time period: vaccine inequality. We spoke to vaccine-hesitant individuals and sought to cowl the complexities of the pandemic with humanity and compassion.

With immunisation got here social and financial revival, and we investigated the availability chain crunch and international shortages, whereas inspecting the cultural shifts at play in the return to places of work and colleges, bars and eating places, theatres and sports activities arenas.

Covid has spurred us to ever higher innovation in how we do issues. Filmmaker John Domokos took the middleman out of the media course of by giving the digital camera to “civilians” to report what life is actually like in robust components of Britain. Our flagship podcast, Immediately in Focus, hit the highest of the charts with a six-part whodunnit from the English Channel, and we launched different compelling podcast sequence together with Australia v the local weather, and the much-loved Consolation Consuming with Grace Dent.

We appointed new devoted reporters to get nearer to the varied communities in our society. We introduced out a set of recent newsletters, together with TechScape and All the way down to Earth. We launched a brand new all-in-one Saturday journal, and debuted on TikTok with a backgrounder on the Taliban that reached greater than 4 million individuals. Our cartoonists and columnists ensured that all of us retained an important sense of humour.

We made numerous noise in regards to the issues we care most about: witness our exclusives on sleaze in the UK Tory social gathering; our persevering with protection of the post-Brexit commerce rancour; and our work on racism in colleges, theatres and universities and authorities.

The lives of others

It was a wealthy yr for Guardian and Observer options and interviews, with a exceptional pink carpet of A-listers opening as much as our reporters, together with, however on no account restricted to, Greta Thunberg, Angelina Jolie, Sally Rooney, David Crosby, Marcus Rashford to 50% of Abba.

Our Options crew confirmed off their creativeness, humanity and compassion with sequence resembling Black lives, which advised the tales of unsung people on the forefront of social change and civil rights; Double acts – in which among the greatest names in theatre mentioned their lives and work; How you can reside now, which comforted readers by means of the extremely lengthy northern hemisphere winter lockdown; and Eating throughout the divide, which sought to indicate that folks with completely different opinions can nonetheless discover frequent floor in the event that they take the time to sit down down collectively.

Our Remark crew demonstrated each breadth and brilliance, with visitor writers starting from David Harewood to Elton John and Ben Okri, and regulars dissecting themes as numerous as road harassment of girls, excessive climate, antimicrobial resistance, commerce disruption and civil disobedience. Our remark platform persistently projected the experience and knowledge of essentially the most perceptive scientists and students, voices which have turn into integral to our pressing want to grasp the advanced, fragile world in which we reside.

Sport dealt with not only a huge quantity of thrilling motion on the pitch (the Euros, Olympics, Paralympics, Ryder Cup, T20 World Cup and Ashes) however the human tales behind the performances, whether or not that was superstars breaking down (Simone Biles), breaking by means of (Emma Raducanu), or breaking their silence (Peng Shuai). Soccer Weekly, the world’s primary soccer podcast, went every day in the course of the Euro 2020 championships. However alas, 2021 will in all probability go down because the yr that the enjoyment of sport was abruptly punctured by the scourge of racism – in the stands, on the streets, on social media, and in the chief suites the place sport is run.

And the winner is …

Our numbers

1

Oscar for Guardian documentary, Colette

The Guardian and Observer have been honoured with dozens of awards in 2021. We’re happy with all of them, however a couple of deserve particular point out. We grew to become the primary newspaper organisation to win an Oscar, for the quick documentary Colette. Our long-running video sequence Wherever However Westminster received the UK’s Orwell Prize. And it was maybe becoming that after heroic work by our groups in essentially the most troublesome of circumstances, we have been rewarded with the news website of the year award on the UK nationwide press awards, and news provider of the year at the British journalism awards – recognition of a supreme crew effort by a really exceptional collective.

Journalism stays a difficult endeavor in a world nonetheless beset by the pandemic, the place press freedoms are unravelling alarmingly and falsehoods fly far and large turbocharged by that frenzied hearsay mill referred to as social media. However waiting for 2022 – a yr that guarantees massive elections, financial pinch factors, the subsequent chapter of the wrestle towards Covid, and a World Cup – we’re assured and decided in our mission, our journalism now sustained by supporters in 180 nations and staffed by one of the best in the enterprise. Glad new yr.

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