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​50 years of The Guardian

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The last 50 years have seen huge changes to the Guardian, characterised by the move to London and the development of the product across paper, online and now outside the UK.

In order to compete on a national scale, the Guardian moved to London in 1964, but the threat to the paper's future grew severe enough for the chairman of the Scott Trust to approach the Times to discuss a merger. The talks came to nothing. Editor Alastair Hetherington remained a staunch advocate of the paper’s independence, and today’s Guardian owes much to his leadership and vision during this period.

The paper’s position was consolidated by investment in printing and a move to improved offices in 1976. In the polarised political climate of the late 70s and early 80s the Guardian's position as the voice of the left was unchallenged. The opinion pages were the birthplace of the SDP, and the letters page was where the battle for the future direction of the Labour Party was played out.

In 1988 the Guardian undertook a major redesign that began the modern period of success in the history of the paper. In 1993 the Guardian bought the Observer – the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper.

Throughout the 90s, the Guardian continued to break big stories such as the sleaze revelations that contributed to the downfall of the Conservative government. The paper’s reputation was cemented by the collapse of the libel case brought by Jonathan Aitken.

In 1994 the Guardian began developing its online publication. In 1997 the Guardian became the first national newspaper to appoint a readers' editor.

In 2005 the new Berliner format launched – a revolutionary, mid-size design and the Guardian became the UK's first full-colour national newspaper.

December 2008 marked a significant point in the history of the Guardian when the paper moved to a brand new building in King's Cross after 32 years in its Farringdon headquarters.

In 2011 the Guardian's groundbreaking journalism was recognised at the Press Awards where it was named Newspaper of the Year for its partnership with WikiLeaks. In the same year the Guardian made headlines with its globally-acclaimed investigation into phone hacking.

As global appetite for Guardian journalism grew, the organisation launched its first digital-only edition, Guardian US, in the United States in 2011, followed by the launch of Guardian Australia in 2013. As a result, traffic from outside the UK now represents over two thirds of the Guardian's global audience. Also in 2013, the Guardian set news agendas around the world with its Pulitzer prize-winning reporting of Edward Snowden's disclosures on government surveillance.

2015 kicked off with a brand new look for theguardian.com – which presents readers with a more dynamic view of the news agenda as it changes throughout the day and night. The Guardian now has more than 120 million unique browsers worldwide a month, and this is set to grow as the brand expands into other markets.

Of course the Guardian is much more than a paper, offering bursaries, running a bookshop and producing a range of events, masterclasses and festivals. In September 2014 the Guardian launched its new Membership scheme, ahead of a new civic space set to open in King’s Cross in 2016. It feels like a new journey is just beginning.

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