In 1872 Charles Prestwich (CP) Scott was made editor of the Manchester Guardian. The nephew of the founder, he was just 26 years old. CP Scott held the post for the next 57 years. During his tenure the paper achieved national and international recognition, and became a potent force in British public life.
CP Scott bought the paper in 1907 from the estate of Taylor’s younger son (also called John Edward Taylor). He pledged that the Manchester Guardian’s principles would be upheld by maintaining its independence and running it for public benefit, not private gain. At this point the paper became a limited company owned by the Scott family.
The principles of the Guardian were enshrined by CP Scott in his celebrated essay to mark the paper’s centenary on May 5, 1921.
His much-quoted article is still used to explain the values of the present-day newspaper, Trust and Group. More than that though, it is recognised around the world as the ultimate statement of values for a free press, asserting:
- ‘comment is free, but facts are sacred’
- newspapers have ‘a moral as well as a material existence’
- ‘the voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard’
The Scott Trust and GMG have adopted as their values the essential qualities that CP believed should form the character of a newspaper. In his essay he described them as:
- ‘honesty, cleanness (today interpreted as integrity), courage, fairness, a sense of duty to the reader and the community’