Rusbridger Out

Yesterday the Scott Trust, owners of the Guardian, met to discuss whether Alan Rusbridger would take over as chair as agreed two years ago. The Trust was split on whether this should still happen – current editor Kath Viner and GMG chief exec David Pemsel particularly opposed Rusbridger’s return amid staff outcry and swingeing cuts. Today Rusbridger has confirmed he is out. Coup successful…

Read his email in full:

Dear former colleagues

I wanted to let you know I will not be returning to Chair the Scott Trust later this year. Many of you will know what the Scott Trust has meant to me and for Guardian journalism. It is so unique that not many people – externally, or, sometimes, even internally – truly appreciate the crucial role it has had over many years in nurturing, resourcing and protecting what we do. When, in late 2014, the Scott Trust appointed me to succeed Liz as chair I was beyond honoured. But much has changed in the year since I stepped down. All newspapers – and many media organisations beyond – have been battered by turbulent and economic forces that were difficult to foresee last summer.

On my appointment to the Scott Trust job in November 2014 the Chair of GMG, Neil Berkett, was kind enough to say publicly : “Alan has set the standard for journalistic leadership in the digital age. His appointment to lead The Scott Trust coincides with rapidly rising readership, continued innovation and secure finances at the Guardian. His successor will inherit a global media organisation in very strong health and with clear prospects for further growth.” The difference between that assessment and the way things look now is a measure of how much the world has changed. I have been on the Trust long enough to understand its role.

We all currently do our journalism in the teeth of a force 12 digital hurricane. It is surely obvious to anyone that changed circumstances will demand dramatically changed solutions. Kath and David clearly believe they would like to plot a route into the future with a new chair and I understand their reasoning. I have a fantastically interesting new life in Oxford. I will miss you all. You have been the most wonderful colleagues and we achieved really amazing things together. I continue to read with immense admiration the journalism the Guardian and Observer produce. It’s all the more enjoyable for having played no part in it.

Thanks to all of you who have quietly emailed support in the past few weeks. And very best wishes to all as you negotiate the storms currently affecting pretty much everyone in our industry. We will come through….

Alan

Dave Gets His Daily Dose

Another happy reader – Dave shares with the House the news, as revealed by Guido, that the BBC, Mirror Group, and Guardian have all been using offshore investment funds. Sign up to the Guidogram here to get your daily dose too… 

Media Organisations Using Offshore Havens

cayman-papers-540

Guido is enjoying the squirming of the offshore elite as much as anyone – the Icelandic premier is a corker, the Putin case study is great, the Bollywood stars who make their millions from millions of poor Indians will find it hard to survive the reputational hit. All very enjoyable.

It is worth mentioning that most of the UK’s big media organisations shelter assets and cash flows offshore. Top of the hypocrites in this respect is The Guardian. They put their assets in the Caymans, and they used a Luxembourg tax shell designed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers to funnel cash flows beyond the reach of HMRC. They previously blamed the difficult economic environment for committing the sins for which they condemn others. This isn’t just hypocrisy, this is an insult to us all. The Guardian’s entire heritage is one of tax dodging, the original founding Scott Trust was itself a tax dodge. They have year after year avoided tens of millions of taxes…

Other media organisations using offshore entities include the Huffington Post – whose journalists criticised Amazon for doing the same. The owners of the Mail, News UK and The Telegraph also have various offshore tax-efficient structures. Facebook, Google and Guido are not UK-owned though in the latter groups’ cases they have at least never claimed to be in favour of clamping down on tax havens. Guido’s point is that the likes of the Guardian should practice what they preach, hold all their assets in the UK and pay all the taxes which will consequently arise.

Read more:

Seumas Milne Floored in Guardian Game of Chicken

Some Easter holiday reading: don’t miss WikiGuido’s profile of Seumas Milne in this month’s GQ. Read Milne’s extraordinary defence of a self-confessed KGB stooge, the inside story of the ‘revenge reshuffle’ and how he was floored in a game of chicken in the Guardian newsroom:

Former colleagues reveal how, despite his slight figure, Milne had a remarkable habit of refusing to give way in corridors. Over several years, his fellow journalists grew tired of his insistence that oncoming co-workers make way for him. Eventually, one snapped, telling his desk, “I’m not going to do it again. Next time he plays chicken with me, I’m not going to get out of the way.” The whole office waited for the inevitable confrontation. Soon enough, it happened. As Milne walked down a corridor, the six-foot colleague approached from the other direction. They smashed into each other, sending Milne flying, along with the papers he was carrying. “Seumas was in shock,” recalls an onlooker. “No one had ever done that to him before. He expected people to show deference to him. There was a horrible silence in the office. It was a moment that demonstrated how aloof he seemed from the rest of the working environment.”

Read the full profile here

Guardian Cutting 250 Jobs

Guardian Media Group chief executive David Pemsel emails staff:

Given that over half our current costs are people, we propose to reduce our UK headcount by around 250 people. While protecting journalism remains our priority, we anticipate the impact will be spread across all departments, including editorial. We hope to achieve the target reductions through voluntary redundancy. If we do not achieve the reductions we are targeting through voluntary means, we will consider whether voluntary redundancies are necessary. 

Around 100 editorial redundancies expected. Will Seumas Milne be one of them?

UPDATE: The Midland Goods Shed is also dead. 20% cuts across the board mean that crazy idea “new space for debate, culture and curiosity” is no more. Thankfully…

Nicholas Watt New Newsnight Political Editor

nicholas-watt-newsnight

Congratulations to Nick Watt, the telegenic Guardian chief political correspondent who has been appointed the new Newsnight political editor. A deserved escape route from Kings Place for pretty-boy Watt after he was snubbed for the pol-ed job there. Ian Katz hires yet another Guardian journalist. More as we get it…

Guido Gets Guardian Gong

The Guardian’s Ed Snowden coverage in 2014 led to a series of high-profile awards, notably a Pulitzer Prize and an Emmy. So what on earth was this gong doing on sale in a Richmond Oxfam?

Guido dispatched a roving reporter to find out…

Apparently an unidentified benefactor turned up at the Oxfam on Friday afternoon and handed the Pulitzer in. It was quickly snapped up for a fiver by a mysterious telephone bidder just before the store closed, though Guido managed to get his hands on the Guardian‘s Emmy for just £4.99.

emmy award guardian

The prizes were most likely wall hangings for senior journalist’s offices. Guido’s new intern has only been here a week and he’s already landed an Emmy…

Guardian’s 13,000 Unpaid Students

Earlier Guido pointed out the Guardian’s hypocrisy in criticising the Tab for using unpaid student writers, when they do the exact same thing. The Tab has asked the Guardian’s press office how many student writers they have on their ‘Blogging Students’ site. The response is sensational.

A Guardian News & Media spokesman said:

“Blogging Students is part of our established Guardian Students network with over 13,000 members. As active members of the community, students are invited to share their experiences through blogging. The guidelines about how to pitch work for Blogging Students outline that these blogs are not paid. Some of our best bloggers have been commissioned to write paid pieces.”

So the Guardian has a potential total of over 13,000 unpaid student bloggers. That is more than four times the number who wrote for the Tab last year. The most successful Guardian student bloggers get paid, as do the Tab’s, but most do not. Amusing that the Guardian would accuse the Tab of “exploitation” when they do the same thing with four times as many students…

Hypocrisy of Guardian Attack on Tab

The Guardian has executed a drive-by shooting on The Tab, the popular student news site which has successfully disrupted the old student media establishment. Headlined “The Tab picks up business without paying”, the hit piece accuses the site […]

+ READ MORE +

Job Culls Coming at Indy, Guardian, Telegraph

indy

Evgeny Lebedev is expected to close the Indy and Sindy print editions as soon as tonight. Of the 150 full-time staff, just 20 or so look like they’ll moving over to the i paper. It will not be difficult for […]

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Belam’s Back

BELAM-back

Martin Belam, possibly the most over-rated person on social media, is going back to the Guardian to continue wasting money on behalf of people who don’t really know what to do on the internet. He cratered over at Trinity Mirror[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guardian Embraces Austerity

As we go to pixel, a major company meeting is taking place over at King’s Place where Guardian staff are being informed of 20% cuts to be imposed on their publisher, Guardian News & Media. The meeting had to […]

+ READ MORE +



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