Nicknamed "The Gray Lady" or The Times, the newspaper was founded as The New-York Daily Times in 1851 by Henry J. Raymond and George Jones as a sober alternative to the more partisan newspapers that dominated the New York journalism of the time. In its very first edition on September 18, 1851, the paper stated,
"We publish today the first issue of the New-York Daily Times, and we intend to issue it every morning (Sundays excepted) for an indefinite number of years to come."
In later years, the paper expanded its production to Sundays; the Sunday edition is now the largest of the week, containing numerous sections focussing on food, travel, the arts, and other cultural topics, in addition to news content, as well as a glossy magazine. The considerable size of the Times Sunday edition is a cliché amongst those familiar with newspapers.
In the United States a public library will typically hold copies of the New York Times Index, which cross-references current events with the articles from the Times, in keeping with its policy of being a newspaper of record. This policy also means that the Times is rarely first with a story (a "scoop"), unless it is local to New York, and that when the Times has a scoop that information is propagated world-wide to other papers and news sources.
Adolph Ochs acquired the Times in 1896, and under his guidance the newspaper achieved an international scope, circulation, and reputation. In 1897 he coined the paper's current slogan "All The News That's Fit To Print," widely interpreted as a jibe to competing papers known for yellow journalism. It is currently owned by The New York Times Company, in which descendants of Ochs, principally the Sulzberger family, maintain a dominant role.
Many conservatives believe that the Times news coverage, as well as its editorial board, has a liberal slant. Many books have been written about the reliability of the New York Times and its impact on the political community. Comparisons have been made between the Times and the New York Post and Wall Street Journal, both of which are also published in New York have a much more conservative slant, at least on their editorial pages. The paper has also been criticized for allowing Exxon-Mobil Corporation to run a regular paid "advertorial" commentary piece on its editorial page, although the practice is common in other U.S. newspapers.
In 2003, the Times admitted to journalism fraud committed over a span of several years by one of its reporters, Jayson Blair, and the general professionalism of the paper was questioned, though Blair was immediately fired following the incident. Questions of affirmative action in journalism were also raised, since Blair was African American. Several top officials, including the chief of its editorial board, also resigned their posts following the incident.
On May 26, 2004, the Times published another significant admission of journalistic failings, admitting that its flawed reporting during the buildup to war with Iraq helped promote the misleading belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.  A second self-criticism by TimesombudsmanDaniel Okrent went further. "The failure was not individual, but institutional," Okrent wrote. "War requires an extra standard of care, not a lesser one. But in the Times's WMD coverage, readers encountered some rather breathless stories built on unsubstantiated 'revelations' that, in many instances, were the anonymity-cloaked assertions of people with vested interests. Times reporters broke many stories before and after the war - but when the stories themselves later broke apart, in many instances Times readers never found out. ... Other stories pushed Pentagon assertions so aggressively you could almost sense epauletss sprouting on the shoulders of editors. ... The aggressive journalism that I long for, and that the paper owes both its readers and its own self-respect, would reveal not just the tactics of those who promoted the WMD stories, but how the Times itself was used to further their cunning campaign."