Alan rusbridger

The problem with Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’

He might now be one of the most powerful men in global media, but I find whenever I see a photograph of Nick Clegg, Orwell’s quote about everyone getting the face they deserve by 50 comes to mind. Now 54, the remnants of the boyish idealist are still just about there, but the eyes to me are ledgers of too much unhappy compromise – deadened, I always assume, by the principles he felt forced by David Cameron to sacrifice for personal advancement, and by the amazing decision to see out the remaining years of a career spent failing upwards as Mark Zuckerberg’s lavishly remunerated PR lickspittle. For a decade and

Will Alan Rusbridger apologise for the Guardian’s Republican cell?

Subscribers will know that I wrote in my column for the magazine this week about the revelations by former journalist Roy Greenslade that he was an active supporter of the IRA throughout the Troubles. But there are a number of people who we should still hear from on this, and have not. One is Greenslade’s long-term editor and defender at the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, now the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. As I mentioned in my column, in 2000 The Spectator ran a piece by Stephen Glover identifying a Republican cell within the Guardian. Rusbridger responded furiously to this, denouncing the piece, The Spectator, the magazine’s then-editor Boris Johnson, and


Guardian editorship: Male candidate comes last in staff ballot

The votes are in for the Guardian staff ballot. After Mr S reported a lacklustre display from all four internal candidates at the hustings, it is Katharine Viner who has come out on top. Viner, the current editor of Guardian US, is guaranteed a final round interview after winning with over 50 per cent of the vote. Of her rivals, Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, placed second, while Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of the Guardian website, followed close behind in third. Well done Kath. RT @guardian: Katharine Viner wins staff ballot for Guardian editor — Janine Gibson (@janinegibson) March 5, 2015 Wolfgang Blau, the only male candidate

Alan Rusbridger’s curious Russia Today appearance

Alan Rusbridger’s book ‘News and how to use it’ is intended as a guide of ‘what to believe in a fake news world’. Which makes the former Guardian editor’s appearance on Russia Today (RT) somewhat curious.  RT is the Kremlin’s state-controlled TV network. It has a history of downplaying stories that paint Russia in a bad light. It also has a habit of reporting with relish stories that make western countries look bad. In 2019, RT was fined £200,000 by Ofcom after an investigation found that the channel had failed to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes. According to David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker: ‘RT is

Alan Rusbridger on the joys of four-hand piano

One of the few social activities not yet prohibited under lockdown laws is four-handed piano playing. I don’t mean sitting side-by-side at one keyboard. That would risk infection and, if snitched on, the possibility of sharing a prison cell with Piers Corbyn. No, the four hands must be divided equally across two pianos, and the instruments must be end-to-end. Safely isolated in this manner — perhaps three or four metres apart — the ivories can be tickled for as long as you want. I’ve been a devoted four-hand piano player all my life — due entirely to the limitations of the two I was born with. On one keyboard I

Why has Gary Lineker been appointed a visiting fellow at Oxford?

Congratulations to Gary Lineker OBE, who has just been appointed a visiting fellow to Lady Margaret Hall, an Oxford college. This coup was announced on Twitter earlier today by Alan Rusbridger, principal of LMH and ex-editor of the Guardian: Lineker is among nine new fellows appointed by LMH, with Emma Watson becoming an associate fellow, having served as a visiting fellow from 2016-19 “with particular emphasis on promoting gender equality and women’s rights”, according to the college’s press release. That’s Watson, not Lineker, who might have struggled to reconcile that with his refusal to take a pay cut as the BBC’s highest-paid star – he earns £1.75 million a year – to

The curious omission from Alan Rusbridger’s book

Alan Rusbridger’s new book, Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now, is a thoughtful, if somewhat prolix, analysis of the tectonic changes that the internet is effecting on journalism. But its real message – and how insidiously it drips through the pages – is that virtually every national newspaper in Britain is scurrilous, corrupt and amoral with one iridescent exception. Yes, you’ve guessed it: the Guardian. Now Alan is a very gifted journalist with huge achievements to his name – achievements, incidentally that he’s not reluctant to dwell on. So how sad that the defining tone of this tome is sanctimony and self-justification. Unedifyingly, it manages to combine rather cloying

Alan Rusbridger changes his tune on the demands of editing

After George Osborne was announced as the new editor of the Evening Standard, there was outrage across the House as many asked: how can Osborne serve as an MP, financial advisor and daily newspaper editor all at the same time? Alan Rusbridger has now graced us with his take on the situation. In an editorial for the New York Times, the former Guardian editor says that it  ‘would be better’ if Osborne were to make ‘a clean break from politics’ and become ‘a great crusading editor on behalf of the people’. Part of Rusbridger’s issue with Osborne’s appointment is that he doesn’t understand how the former Chancellor will have the time: ‘I edited

Question time | 8 December 2016

If you were to see one film about American whistle-blower Edward Snowden — there is no law saying you have to, but if you were — then the film you want is probably Laura Poitras’s 2014 documentary Citizenfour rather than this biopic from Oliver Stone. It’s being sold as a ‘pulse-pounding thriller’ but oh, if only it were. Instead, it’s psychologically thin, tiresomely hagiographic and doesn’t answer any of the questions you’d like it to answer. Certainly, my pulse failed to oblige and if yours doesn’t behave similarly, I’d be most surprised. Poitras’s film, which was a proper pulse-pounder, followed Snowden in real time as he was actually in the

Alan Rusbridger suffers the ultimate indignity at the hands of the Guardian

Today Alan Rusbridger has announced that he will not return as chairman of the Scott Trust. The decision comes after his successor Katharine Viner let it be known that she was opposed to him returning to the role. With leading figures on the paper turning on the once invincible Rusbridger over the company’s £80m losses in the past year, it seems his golden era has come to an end. Alas, he has now suffered the ultimate indignity. When his email explaining his decision was forwarded to staff, the staffer sending the email out managed to misspell his name and introduce him as ‘Alan Rushbridger’: While an email correcting the mistake has now been sent

Write a leftie column and win a doctorate

I see that law students at Oxford University were told that if they found the contents of a lecture on rape and sexual assault ‘distressing’, they would be permitted to absent themselves. This is an interesting approach for future lawyers and barristers. Perhaps, further down the line, they will excuse themselves in court when the evidence is a bit gamey and go to a safe space for a good cry. Or should we be more concerned about those students who remained in the lecture theatre because they did not find the contents remotely distressing, but actually ‘a bit of a hoot’ or ‘bloody hilarious — especially that bit with the

Oxbridge colleges are drowning in celebrity appointments like Emma Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch

An Oxford College has done something really offensive, and it doesn’t involve a statue of a white supremacist. Lady Margaret Hall has appointed Benedict Cumberbatch as a visiting fellow. It gets worse. It has elected Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys and Emma Watson from the Harry Potter films to the same post. Why they didn’t go the whole hog and appoint Giles Fraser as college dean and Jamie Oliver as steward I don’t know. Oxbridge is gradually being drowned in celebrity appointments. The latest were the brainchild of one himself: former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who became Principal of Lady Margaret Hall last September. Besides him, Bridget Kendall

Long life | 18 June 2015

My friend Alan Rusbridger has just given up editing the Guardian after a distinguished 20-year reign that has climaxed, as befits an accomplished musician and former chair of Britain’s National Youth Orchestra, with a magnificent crescendo of earthshaking scoops. He has now, at 61, ascended to more serene heights as chairman of the Scott Trust, the company that owns the Guardian, and also as principal of an Oxford college, Lady Margaret Hall. His departure from the Guardian after one of the most outstanding, if also rocky, periods in its long history has been appropriately marked by articles, interviews, speeches and other celebrations in which he has reflected with shrewdness and

Jonathan Aitken says farewell to Alan Rusbridger

Sore heads over at the Guardian this morning after yet another leaving party for Alan Rusbridger. In what Mr S makes to be Rusbridger’s third leaving do, politicians and celebrities gathered at the Battlebridge Room of Kings Place to raise a glass to the departed editor. Ed Miliband chatted away to Benedict Cumberbatch over a bottle of Sol, while Chuka Umunna and Harriet Harman tucked into the prosecco. No sign of any of the Labour leadership contenders, but a smattering of Tories were in attendance, including Lord Grade and David Davis. Perhaps the most surprising appearance was from Jonathan Aitken – after all, it was Rusbridger’s dogged pursuit of the disgraced former Tory MP

Alan Rusbridger and the Sword of Truth

When Alan Rusbridger stepped down as the editor of the Guardian last month, there were emotional scenes at Guardian HQ as he handed his crown to his successor Katharine Viner. In fact so emotional, that some bright spark thought the storyline was perfect for a film: The video – which Mr S titles ‘Alan Rusbridger and the Sword of the Truth‘ – runs through Rusbridger’s achievements while at the paper, and offers startling insight into the man behind the legend as he reveals what he eats for breakfast. ‘It’s true Guardian editors really do eat muesli,’ he tells the camera on the day of the Murdoch hearing. Other highlights include Rusbridger showing

If it’s not ok to hound Sienna Miller and Steve Coogan, why is it ok to hound Nigel Farage?

Faragephobia reached dizzy new heights on Sunday afternoon, when a bunch of thespians and circus freaks invaded Nigel Farage’s local pub and hounded him and his family out. Behaving with grating and probably knowing irony like small-minded Little Englanders, though dolled up as punkish outsiders, the protesters were basically saying to Nige: ‘Your sort aren’t welcome here — you’re barred!’ And so was a public figure humiliated while doing that utterly non-public thing of lunching with his wife and young daughters — turfed out of his own local hangout by people who don’t like his policies on immigration, the NHS, and other stuff. But this was more that Faragephobia, more than

Guardian appoints its first female editor

After months of speculation, the Guardian have appointed their new editor-in-chief and it is not a man. Katharine Viner, the Guardian US editor, will become the paper’s first female editor later this year when she takes over from Alan Rusbridger as the publication’s editor-in-chief . The decision comes after a drawn out process which saw the Oxford graduate come out top against her Guardian rivals – including Janine Gibson – in a staff ballot. It’s thought Viner had to compete with the publication’s former deputy editor Ian Katz in the final round, with the pair both having interviews with the Scott Trust. However, it was people’s favourite Viner who impressed, with sources claiming that Katz’s decision to

Is Ian Katz plotting a return to ‘snooooozepapers’?

With Katharine Viner guaranteed a final round interview to be the next Guardian editor-in-chief after winning a staff ballot, rumours are circulating that her former colleague Ian Katz is the other horse left in the race. Hot goss: final two in race for Guardian editorship are now @iankatz1000 and @KathViner, insider tells me. — Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) March 13, 2015 Katz left his role as deputy editor of the Guardian to join the BBC as Newsnight editor in 2013. At the time, it was reported that he had grown tired of waiting for Alan Rusbridger to step down as editor. If it is the case that Katz is in the final two, his interview with the

Miliband could teach Rusbridger a thing or two about meeting men on Hampstead Heath

This morning Alan Rusbridger received a police caution for ‘illegal use of a tripod’ on Hampstead Heath. The Guardian editor has since written a blog detailing his brush with the law. The London police have been trying to nick an editor for years. Today they got one – me — alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) March 12, 2015 The incident began when a man took offence at photos Rusbridger was taking with David Levene. ‘He ran down the hill shouting that I had no right to take pictures and I’d better effing delete them. As he got nearer he became a rather large and shouty speck, sweat beading on his bald head as he bellowed in my face.

Alan Rusbridger vs Max Hastings: round two

After Max Hastings wrote a column for the Daily Mail arguing that civil liberties groups should not get in the way of government security, Alan Rusbridger took the former Daily Telegraph editor to task for his comments. Speaking at a Big Brother Watch event last month, the Guardian editor offered up four reasons why Hastings was wrong to say that he could not ‘imagine what harm can result from MI5 accessing the phone calls, bank accounts, emails of you, me or any other law-abiding citizen’. Rusbridger couldn’t resist taking another pop at Hastings this morning for a column in today’s Mail on the police ‘witch-hunt’ which saw Field Marshal Lord Bramall’s home searched. In