Polly’s “Precarious” Guardian Has £850 Million Cash Reserves

Polly Toynbee has a full page advert in today’s Guardian asking readers to “become a Founder member” for £540-a-year. In other words write them a cheque because the £1.60 they pay to read the paper isn’t enough to save it from its “precarious” position:

“The Guardian’s life has always been precarious because we don’t have an owner or a corporation propping us up. We don’t have a press baron or oligarch ordering us to take their political or commercial line. We swim along in a dangerous world of media sharks, our independence precious and unique.”

As Press Gazette points out, the “precarious” Guardian currently has cash reserves of £850 million since selling its stake in Autotrader last year. Cynical tax strategies have kept the Guardian afloat whilst simultaneously campaigning against tax avoidance. Amazingly £850 million has built an endowment that will allow the unpopular paper to lose money in perpetuity. All without paying any corporation or capital gains taxes for years…

Pic via @wblau

Guardian’s Small Correction & Clarification

coulson-correction

Over page after page last summer the Guardian splashed on the front page of G2 about the baby-eating antics of News of the World journalists. Today hidden back on page 32 a small clarification reveals allegations were untrue. Notice how the Guardian is currently now splashing page after page, day after day, about the Daily Mirror’s corporate malfeasance and multi-million pay outs to hacked celebs? Nope.

Sidelined Guardian CEO “Keen to Explore New Opportunities”

andrew-millar

The official line is that GMG CEO Andrew Miller will be standing down as chief executive and leaving Guardian Media Group at the end of June because he could not give the board a long-term commitment:

GMG and GNM are now embarking on the next major transformation programme and the GMG Board understandably wants a chief executive who is able to see that process through over an extended period of time. Given my desire to move to new challenges, I was unable to give the GMG Board the assurances they were seeking in this regard.

Miller was responsible for the cynical tax strategies that saw hundreds of millions in revenue producing Guardian owned assets held offshore in the Caymans tax haven whilst simultaneously the Guardian campaigned against the practice in editorials. The shifty tax strategies kept the Guardian afloat and built an endowment that will allow the paper to lose money almost in perpetuity. Hypocrisy in print and pixels…

Insiders say that in reality Miller’s been being sidelined for a while. David Pemsel, his deputy, is the super smooth ex-bullshitter for “brand consultancy” St Lukes, and a former ITV marketing director, is thought to be most likely to succeed him if the board hires internally. “Imagine what Pemmo could achieve if he wasn’t weighed down by all that self-doubt” one Guardianista told Media Guido archly…

Guardian Gushes Over Soviet “Prosperity”

The Guardian takes us “Inside Transnistria, the breakaway nation loyal to Russia” today, with a picture special from the pro-Russian territory which declared independence from Moldova when the Soviet Union fell. Alongside a charming picture of the landscape, this gushing caption:

“The Soviet period was a time of prosperity in villages. Agricultural companies offered many jobs, and the authorities paid attention to the culture of the countryside and offered entertainment for youth.”

60 million killed, but at least they entertained their young people eh…

Guardian Looks Outside North London For New Editor

guardian

Outgoing Scott Trust chair Liz Forgan has this afternoon emailed Guardian staff informing them of the selection process to replace Alan Rusbridger. Forgan says “For the first time in Guardian history we will be openly advertising the role,” stressing that they are looking outside of North London:

“Both internal and external candidates, from any journalistic background, from any country in the world, will be welcome to apply. The role will be advertised and opened for applications before the end of this year. The Scott Trust will give equal consideration to all plausible candidates and will meet a longlist of applicants in February 2015.”

Guardian staff get a vote on who they want to edit them, but Forgan only says it is her “intention” to put their preferred candidate on the final shortlist, somewhat pissing on their quinoa:

“the opinion of the Guardian and Observer’s editorial staff is important, and it has been indicated to The Scott Trust that the Guardian and Observer chapel branch of the National Union of Journalists will conduct a ballot to select a candidate they wish to be considered. The terms of this ballot are for the chapel to confirm, but it is The Scott Trust’s intention to guarantee the selected candidate a place on the final shortlist… Our editorial staff are very important stakeholders in this process – but they are not the decision makers. We will take the results of the NUJ process into careful consideration when making the final appointment, but this is not an election process. The next editor-in-chief will be appointed by The Scott Trust, not voted in by the newsroom.”

Sit down and shut up, comrades…

Exclusive: Matthew d’Ancona to Guardian

Guido hears the Cameroon venerable bede Matthew D’Ancona is off to the Guardian, after the Sunday Telegraph‘s somewhat bizarre decision to wield the axe.

Islington based d’Ancona will fit right in.

Congratulations…

Rusbridger Emails Guardianistas

rusbridger-tweet

Dear all,

This is to let you know that next summer I will be stepping down as editor-in-chief of the Guardian before succeeding Liz Forgan as Chair of The Scott Trust when she reaches the end of her term in 2016.

In February I’ll have been editor for 20 years. It’s been quite an extraordinary period in the life of the Guardian. In February 1995 newspaper websites were, if they existed at all, exotic things: we were still four years off launching Guardian Unlimited. Since 1999 we’ve grown to overtake all others to become the most-read serious English language digital newspaper in the world.

When I assumed the editorship in 1995, the senior team at the Guardian was debating whether we should switch to using colour photography in the paper. (There were quite a few distinguished voices believing black and white was the proper métier for news.) Today we are doing our journalism in words, (colour!) pictures, video, data, animation, audio; on mobile and other platforms and in social … and every possible combination of the above.

The past two decades have been marked out by wonderful Guardian writing, photography, innovation and editing. There have been gruelling court battles, dogged campaigns and tough investigations. The Guardian – always the outsider – has won a global reputation for its willingness to fight for the right causes. We have strong future leaders in place with unparalleled news and digital experience. We have built up – and banked – a considerable financial endowment to secure future innovation and build on our quality journalism. The GMG Board is prepared to invest significantly in what we do because of the extraordinarily strong global position for which we (editorial, commercial and digital together) have fought and won.

Each editor is told – this is literally the only instruction – to carry the Guardian on “as heretofore”. That means understanding the spirit, culture and purpose of the paper and interpreting it for the present. All that is only possible because of the unique Scott Trust, set up in 1936 to ensure the Guardian survives in perpetuity.

Since 1936 the Trust has always appointed a chair from within – in every case a member of the Scott family or a former Guardian journalist or editor. I’ve felt very lucky to have Hugo Young and Liz Forgan beside me and/or guarding my back. The Trust is one of the most important liberal institutions in the world and I was very honoured to be asked to succeed Liz as Chair when she steps down in 2016.

But the best thing about working here – the thing I’ll miss most – are my colleagues. We are a team and the strongest of communities – one which includes our readers. The community includes people from all areas, in and outside editorial. The Guardian and The Observer are bursting with extraordinarily bright, talented, brave, kind, knowledgeable, resourceful, imaginative, thoughtful and delightful people. I know our journalism – and our “perpetuity” – will be in the best possible hands.

I am currently visiting the Guardian Australia team in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra – another amazing Guardian success story – but I will be back in Kings Place on Monday and will talk to you then.

Runners and Riders for New Guardian Editor

  • Janine Gibson – Seen as the heiress apparent, this year Janine came home from the US to be deputy editor and editor-in-chief of the Guardian website
  • Katharine Viner – Replaced Gibson as editor of Guardian US, might she leapfrog her predecessor?
  • Emily Wilson – Former UK network editor of the website, now she is Down Under having taken over from Viner.
  • Dan Sabbagh – 94/1
  • Amol Rajan – Time for a person of colour?
  • James Ball – Has written every story of significance in the Guardian for the last 10 years, or so he claims.
  • Edward Snowden – You can run a paper from Skype, right?
  • Frank Fisher – Right-wing legend who writes most of Comment is Free (in the comments).
  • Russell Brand – King of the C U Next Tuesdays.
  • Jonathan Freedland – Sound on Palestine.
  • Ian Katz – Return of the Prince from the Guardian’s broadcasting arm.

Surely it’s time for the Guardian to have their first non-private school educated editor? 

Rusbridger Out

The Indy say he’s quitting as Guardian editor in the summer.

Presumably he’s off to Buzzfeed…

UPDATE:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guardian Let Hubby Write Secret Puff Piece for Wife

Guido thought this deserved a wider audience:

The Guardian failed to disclose that the author of an article, Sunil Khilnani, is married to the subject of his feature story, Katherine Boo. Khilnani’s article in The Guardian reports on the adaptation

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Comply or Die at Grauniad

Font consistency is peace. Standardised email signature is strength. The thought police at the Guardian have sent this diktat ordering staff to comply with their “clear brand guidelines” to be “ever so slightly ‘un-British’”:

From: Steve Hawker 
Date: 30 October

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guardian Scrapes Barrel to Bash UKIP

The Guardian is coming in for a lot of criticism – not least from its own staff – for this piece by Jonathan Jones today describing the Tower of London poppies as a “fake… UKIP-style memorial”. It’s the most […]

+ READ MORE +



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