Guardian: How Climate Change Could Ruin Your Weekend

guardian logo

The Guardian have taken their trolling game up a notch with the spectacularly titled article: “No more beer, chocolate or coffee: how climate change could ruin your weekend”.

It warns that if we don’t take global warming seriously, we will run out of beer, there won’t be any oysters left to eat, we will hit “peak chocolate” ( like peak oil, but worse), the coffee growers will give up and we’ll have to drink Swedish wine. Viner’s tenure is off to a flying start…

Rusbridger Redux

rusbridger-banged-out

Rusbridger was banged out of the building by his staff last week. His successor is Katharine Viner:

kath-viner

He wrote his own obituary for his editorship in his last paper, it seems only right that the Guardian’s fiercest critics should have a look back as well.

Rusbridger bet big on digital; The Times, Telegraph and cash-starved Indy don’t really match The Guardian in the quality of their digital offer. Rusbridger decided on digital first before the other papers – some of which still hold back the best stories for the second edition to serve yesterday’s news in tomorrow’s papers – which doesn’t really cut it in the digital age. The second big bet was on a “free-to-air” model with no internet paywall. The Mail and The Guardian are both close to making this work financially, the jury is still out as to if the greater scale of advertising will trump paywall subscriptions. The Guardian’s mobile app is quite simply way ahead of any other British newspaper’s app.

Rusbridger maintained the liberal traditions of the paper, it is safe to say the editorial values of the Guardian and Guido clash. We’re believers in the liberating power and prowess of capitalism in raising living standards for all. They’re hand-wringing worriers about social justice who want to tax us into equality. So much for economics as politics by other means. However we’re admirers of the tenacity with which Rusbridger pursued some stories – phone hacking was mostly indefensible, the Snowden revelations were in the public interest, as were the Wikileaks revelations – which they handled well in the circumstances.

Rusbridger’s Guardian lost money, this along with their shifty offshore assets tax hypocrisy was a constant theme of ours for years. Guido believes that profit is the best guarantor of independence. A multiplicity of revenue streams means never being so dependent that you are compromised. The Guardian’s business model has profit as a secondary consideration, having succeeded in creating a massive tax efficient endowment from selling Auto Trader. If they don’t overspend too much that will last them for many decades yet and, even if they do, Liz Forgan told Guido that she could see a few billionaires endowing their brand of liberal journalism in perpetuity.

On balance as a news brand Rusbridger’s Guardian is a triumph, as a business less so. However, to be fair, who in the newspaper business has been more successful?

Two anecdotes: Guido was once cornered at an awards ceremony by Rusbridger’s two daughters, they physically pinned him to a pillar and berated him for an age – in no uncertain terms – for being sexist and, far more importantly, mean to their father. On recounting this story to Alan he literally beamed with fatherly pride.

Some years before that, at a think-tank lunch, Rusbridger was the guest speaker and positively glared at Guido throughout his talk on the difficulties of keeping a newspaper viable in the dawning digital age. When it came for questions he seized the moment to have a go back at Guido. Pointing his finger, he sneered “you’d probably be glad to see us go under, wouldn’t you, well?” At this point Guido turned to the chairman of the lunch: “This is under Chatham House rules, isn’t it? None of us can report who says what?” The chairman nodded. Guido turned back to Rusbridger, “Whenever I am abroad on holiday it is the paper I choose to buy for the breadth and depth of coverage. You edit one of the greatest papers in the world.” Deflated, Alan slumped back in his chair with a bemused grin…

Rusbridger Steps Down After Spending £4.5 Billion

RUSSY

So, farewell then Alan Rusbridger, stepping down today after 20 years as editor of the Guardian.

Since Rusbridger took the helm in 1995, Guardian Media Group has declared operating costs of £4,495,292,000 for their national newspaper subsidiary.

Around £230 million-a-year in the later years.

What you might call big cheque book journalism…

Janine Gibson Out: Rusbridger Email to Staff

MediaGuardian were scooped to the departure of their own paper’s deputy editor by Politico on Friday. Seen as the heir apparent to Alan Rusbridger for the editorship, Janine Gibson was overlooked and is now off. Rusbridger finally gets round to emailing staff:

Dear all,

Sorry that we got scooped on this, but no-one was really anticipating rival breaking news late on the Friday of a bank holiday.

Janine Gibson has, after much thought, decided to move on from the Guardian. 

As most of you know, Janine’s been with us for 17 years, after joining as a refugee from the Independent. As media editor she launched the MediaGuardian website and was then appointed G3 editor before becoming editor of the Guardian website in 2008 and then a deputy editor.

Janine launched Guardian US in 2011, at a time when we had not quite found our feet or purpose in the States. She had a clear sense of where the Guardian should be going and what it should be in America. Guardian US began with 6 employees and 7m users, and grew in 3 years to 50+ staff and tripled its audience. And, of course, she edited the Snowden story out of New York in a way that was assured, well-judged and brave. The Snowden story probably won more awards than any story since Watergate – and much of that was down to Janine’s sure touch. 

That record – plus her digital instincts – made Janine a high profile figure in US journalism, and it was no surprise when the NYT tried to poach her to be their deputy editor early last year. At that point we managed to keep her, with the (thankless!) task of returning to London to help reorganise desks and production as well as edit the digital site. 

She’s been a brilliantly talented and lovely colleague, and we wish her so well in whatever she does next.

Gibson’s leaving will once again fuel speculation that the New York Times’ board is considering setting up a London operation as revenge for the Guardian attempting to muscle in on their turf stateside. Janine ran Guardian US until last year and will have impressed editing the Snowden story. The news got a suspiciously kind write up in the NYT over the weekend…

Guardian Sets Crude Example

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Saudi Arabia have come out in support of the Guardian’s campaign to keep fossil fuels in the ground:

The hated, oppressive regime which opposes everything our country holds dear, joins forces with Saudi Arabia…

Guardian Coy on Coal Cash

guardian question

Alan Rusbridger is very coy about whether the Guardian makes money from fossil fuel companies, despite campaigning for the Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation to divest their investments from them. In a recent Q&A, Rusbridger wriggled around the straightforward “Will The Guardian refuse advertising from fosil fuel companies?” question, claiming that his commercial director “didn’t think we took vast sums from fossil fuel companies.

Funny, then, that the coal mining company Anglo American both sponsors the Guardian’ssocial impact hub” and pays for a whole “partner zone” worth of “advertisement features” within the Guardian’ssustainable business” section.

guardian fossil fuel

Anglo American is one of the fossil fuel companies in which the Gates Foundations invests…

Boris Johnson Slaps Down Guardian’s Divestment Crusade

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Boris Johnson has roundly rejected a motion from the London Assembly that called for City Hall’s pension fund to pull out of fossil fuel investments. The motion, inspired by the Guardian’s nutty divestment campaign, called on Boris to put the retirement of London’s public workers at risk in order to stop the “havoc of climate change“.

Boris, who famously said  “no stone should be left unfracked in the cause of keeping the lights on,” poo-pooed the motion, likening the idea of pulling investment from the companies that keep the worlds poor warm to jumping off a cliff edge.

Let’s hope the next Mayor is equally sound…

Seumas Milne: Putin Good, Tories Bad

The Guardian’s Kremlin-apologising in house former Stalinist, Seumas Milne, has outdone himself.

The same Shameless Bilge who says we shouldn’t “demonise” Putin is accusing a British political party of an “anti-democratic coup”. Irony is dead…

Guardian Backs Labour

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Though they warn:

“Of course there are misgivings. The party has some bad instincts – on civil liberties, penal policy and on Trident, about which it is too inflexible. Questions linger over Ed Miliband’s leadership, and whether he has

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Lutfur Rahman Roll Call of Shame

As Lutfur Rahman is found guilty of a string of election offences, here is a piece the Guardian published on him last year:

Apparently “there had been a concerted effort by the media and political establishment to smear Rahman”[…]

+ READ MORE +

Happy Earth Day Sheeple

HAPPY EARTH DAY

It’s Earth Day, the “largest civic event in the world” that was started to give bored anti-Vietnam hippies something else to protest about. It’s also an annual excuse for earnest news publications to run eco-garbage scare stories. Just […]

+ READ MORE +

Man With Plane Trolls Owen Jones From the Sky

With Owen Jones visiting South Thanet yesterday to campaign for Labour, Simon Moores – an economist, Guardian contributor, councillor and pilot – saw his chance to troll the his lefty colleague from a great height. And troll him he did, […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh on Labour’s soft left

“Ms Cooper does not believe the previous Labour government was wrong to run a fiscal deficit after 15 years of economic growth. Both she and Mr Burnham think families should be entitled to tax credits for a third child. These views are not mad. They are just a bit too leftwing for Britain. For any serious party, that amounts to the same thing. The soft left is more electable than the hard left but then Mars is more habitable than Neptune: neither planet will host human life anytime soon.”

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