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The Economist is an international weekly newspaper printed in magazine-format and published digitally that focuses on current affairs, international business, politics, and technology. Based in London, the newspaper is owned by The Economist Group, with core editorial offices in the United States, as well as across major cities in continental Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In August 2015, Pearson sold its 50 percent stake in the newspaper to the Italian Agnelli family's investment company, Exor, for £469 million (US$531 million) and the paper re-acquired the remaining shares for £185 million ($206 million). In 2019, its average global print circulation was over 909,476; this, combined with its digital presence, runs to over 1.6 million. Across their social media platforms, it reaches an audience of 35 million, as of 2016. The newspaper has a prominent focus on data journalism and analysis over original reporting, to both criticism and acclaim. Founded in 1843, The Economist was first circulated by Scottish economist James Wilson to muster support for abolishing the British Corn Laws (1815–46), a system of import tariffs. Over time, the newspaper's coverage expanded further into political economy and eventually began running articles on current events, finance, commerce, and British politics. Throughout the mid-to-late 20th century, it greatly expanded its layout and format, adding opinion columns, special reports, political cartoons, reader letters, cover stories, art critique, book reviews, and technology features. The paper is often recognizable by its fire engine red nameplate and illustrated, topical covers. Individual articles are written anonymously, with no byline, in order for the paper to speak as one collective voice. It is supplemented by its sister lifestyle magazine, 1843, and a variety of podcasts, films, and books. The editorial stance of The Economist primarily revolves around classical, social, and most notably, economic liberalism. Since its founding it has supported radical centrism, favouring policies and governments that maintain centrist politics. The newspaper typically champions economic liberalism, particularly free markets, free trade, free immigration, deregulation, and globalisation. Despite a pronounced editorial stance, it is seen as having little reporting bias, and as exercising rigorous fact-checking and strict copyediting. Its extensive use of word play, high subscription prices, and depth of coverage has linked the paper with a high-income and educated readership, drawing both positive and negative connotations. In line with this, it claims to have influential readership of prominent business leaders and policy-makers.
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