After a terrible run editing the Indy – where he tried to sign the paper up a government backed press regulator – and then sitting on his arse at the Standard for a year on huge money, Lebedev has finally booted Chris Blackhurst out. Sorry, he’s gone to extend his “range of interests”:
From: Doug Wills
Sent: 15 January 2015 16:00
To: ES ALL
Subject: Changes in the Business department
Chris Blackhurst has decided to step down as the multi-media head of business across the Evening Standard, Independent, Independent on Sunday and i titles.
Chris will continue to write regular columns and conduct weekly interviews for the newspapers and London Live TV.
Jim Armitage has been promoted from his current position as deputy city editor to City Editor for the titles.
It may be helpful to know that the following statement has been released by the company:
THE multi-media head of business at the Evening Standard and Independent, Chris Blackhurst, has decided to step down.
Blackhurst, who oversees the group’s business coverage, will continue to write regular columns and conduct weekly interviews for the newspapers and London Live TV. However, he will now also be free to pursue other ventures.
“I’ve been thinking about extending my range of interests for some time,” said Blackhurst. “I made up my mind over Christmas. I’d like to see what other journalistic opportunities in print, digital and broadcast, directorships, advisory and consultancy roles are out there. I’ve been with this organisation 14 years, longer if you include my first spell with the Independent which began in 1992 – it’s time to broaden my horizons.”
Blackhurst was City Editor of the Evening Standard for nine years, before becoming Editor of The Independent for two years. He was then promoted to Group Content Director, and in September last year, he took on the multi-media business role. He’s won numerous awards for his journalism.
ESI Media Chief Executive Steve Auckland said: “We are delighted that Chris will continue to be a high-profile writer with our titles as we know how highly regarded he is by our readers and throughout the business world.”
The spin has been met with newsroom incredulity.
A very sympathetic double page spread in tonight’s Evening Standard, giving a generous plug to lefty playwright Roy Williams’ latest production. For some reason the piece doesn’t mention Williams’ other half is Fiona Hughes: the deputy arts editor of the Evening Standard…
Today’s Standard brings encouraging news in the race to be Labour’s candidate for London mayor. Diane Abbott is now ahead of Tessa Jowell among Labour supporters, with 17% saying they want Diane to be their candidate compared to just 14% choosing Tessa. As you can see from the chart below, the party is spoilt for choice:
Guido offers his warm support for Diane’s candidacy…
It’s all kicking off between Tim Walker of the Telegraph’s Mandrake diary and Sarah Sands, Standard editor, over the Charles Saatchi / Nigella Lawson assault or gentle tiff, depending on your viewpoint.
Should be noted that Saatchi is an occasional Standard columnist.
And in joins Louise Mensch:
Interesting that Walker’s dinner question went unanswered…
Though notice is yet to be served on the paper’s management, Guido understands that tensions over that the Indy are boiling over and the NUJ chapel has moved to ballot for industrial action. The latest round of cuts see 25 editorial jobs on the line and further integration with the Standard looms. In this round the cuts are only coming from the Indy. Derry Street sources are expecting a big majority on the side of strike action in the vote. One tells us:
“People are scared for their jobs but also for the quality of what will be left behind if this slash and burn exercise is pushed through. We already produce three newspapers and a website with by far the smallest staffs on Fleet Street, those of us left will be asked to do more with even less; not to mention this TV station.”
The anger is being directed at the very top:
“Evgeny Lebedev, who has backed the titles with huge amounts of his own cash, has constantly talked about quality journalism. We’ve always been heartened to hear that. I think a lot of people are now wondering how we’ll be able to produce it if we lose even more staff.”
Tidings of great joy over at the Standard this afternoon after Evgeny announced is rewarding his troops by giving each one an iPad, apparently to celebrate their new return to profit, Olympic success and general greatness. Guido’s eyes and ears over at High Street Ken says “people are actually really happy!” Meanwhile downstairs at the Indy…