Evening Standard Editor George Osborne Could Have Been Locked in Parliament

Yesterday raised another question over George Osborne’s appointment as editor of London’s flagship Evening Standard: had the attack occurred in two months’ time, Osborne would have likely been stuck inside a locked-down parliament along with other MPs. Out of the newsroom…

The first edition of London’s Evening Standard hit the streets before the attack, nevertheless the paper says it rushed out a late change to its last editions giving the tragedy comprehensive coverage read by commuters on their way home in print and on their phones. This was all put together in the afternoon, when Osborne plans to be on the parliamentary estate. He would not have been able to judge the tone, choose the front page splash headline or picture. He would not have been able to effectively edit the paper. A source in the Standard newsroom tells Guido that Osborne was not seen on deck yesterday and hasn’t been spotted in the office since the day he was appointed – although he is not due to start until May. Yesterday Osborne would have been perfectly positioned as a reporter, but not an editor…

Osborne Trolls Commons: “We’ve Missed Standard Deadline”

He says he will “listen to the views of colleagues” about whether he should stay as an MP. Get the feeling he’s loving this…

“Mr Osborne, Are You Going to Resign?”

8 Huge Osborne Conflicts of Interest

New Evening Standard editor and sitting Tory MP George Osborne will now have to navigate a minefield of conflicted interests. Guido counts eight off the top of his head…

  • MP for Tatton: The Commons sits on four of the weekday mornings that Osborne will be in the Standard newsroom. He can’t be in two places at once. How can he properly represent his constituents? 
  • Northern Powerhouse: Osborne says he will continue to promote the Northern Powerhouse, while fighting for London at the Standard. Those two interests will surely collide at times…
  • Standard’s City pages: Osborne is being paid £650,000 by investment firm BlackRock. He will have a fiduciary duty to the firm. How can the Standard’s City pages now credibly cover BlackRock and its competitors?
  • Press regulation: The editor one of the country’s highest circulating newspapers will now have a parliamentary vote on any further issues relating to press regulation. Osborne voted for the full implementation of the Leveson Inquiry. The whole point of Leveson was to stop politicians and newspaper editors becoming too close…
  • 1922 Committee: Osborne remains a member of the influential 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, whose meetings are held in private. Not with a newspaper editor in the room…
  • Privy Council: Osborne remains a member of the Privy Council, whose members swear an oath to “keep secret all matters treated of in council”. Journalists usually try to discover secrets for their readers.
  • Advertising: The commercial side will be hugely important for Osborne at the Standard. Editors have to keep advertisers sweet. Big business has him over a barrel…
  • Owner’s influences: Evgeny Lebedev’s dad was a KGB Putin crony. Evgeny is pro-Putin’s actions in Syria, Osborne could not be a bigger critic of Russia and Assad. And he is now in the pay of Russians…

And when will he find time for the wife and kids?

UPDATE: Transparency International call for the appointment to be blocked:

“It is inconceivable that ACOBA, the advisory body for political business appointments, could approve this move, and therefore extraordinary that it should have been proposed. If ACOBA approve this they will be signing their own death-warrant , confirming they are not fit for purpose and unable to guard against conflicts of interest and consequences of the revolving door – two of the most prevalent corruption risks in UK politics.”

Standard Newsroom Reacts


Fair to say journalists in the Evening Standard newsroom have had their minds blown at the news that George Osborne is their new editor:

The deputy editor of the Standard diary speaks for his colleagues:

Osborne due to address his staff at 12:15 pm, one of his tougher speeches…

George Osborne New Evening Standard Editor

The BBC’s Amol Rajan reports George Osborne is the new editor of the Evening Standard. He will edit the paper in the morning and do his MP’s duties in the afternoon. Wow!

Evgeny Lebedev says:

“I am proud to have an editor of such substance, who reinforces The Standard’s standing and influence in London and whose political viewpoint – socially liberal and economically pragmatic – closely matches that of many of our readers. George is London through and through and I am confident he is the right person to build on the fantastic legacy of Sarah Sands.”

Osborne statement:

“I am proud to be a Conservative MP, but as editor and leader of a team of dedicated and independent journalists, our only interest will be to give a voice to all Londoners. We will be fearless as a paper fighting for their interests. We will judge what the government, London’s politicians and the political parties do against this simple test: is it good for our readers and good for London? If it is, we’ll support them. If it isn’t, we’ll be quick to say so.

So much is now at stake about the future of our country and its capital city. I will remain in Parliament, where that future is debated. I was elected by my constituents in Tatton to serve them and I intend to fulfil that promise. I remain passionate about the Northern Powerhouse and will continue to promote that cause. Right from the first speech I gave about the North of England, I’ve said that London needs a successful north and the north benefits from its links to a global city like London. It’s not a zero-sum game, but quite the opposite.”

Osborne says he will continue to promote the Northern Powerhouse and represent Tatton while editing a newspaper and advising BlackRock…

Evening Standard Editor Runners and Riders

After five years at the helm Sarah Sands is off to the Today programme, so the Evening Standard is looking for a new editor. Who will join the likes of Paul Dacre, Max Hastings and Geordie Grieg on the illustrious list of former Standard editors? As ever Media Guido gives you your preliminary runners and riders…

Rachel Johnson – A party circuit pal of Evgeny, who she calls “a wise old beard (or two) on young shoulders”. Has been a Standard columnist. Might the sister of the former Mayor edit London’s dominant paper?

Oly Duff – Under Duff’s editorship the i paper enjoyed some success and largely subsidised the Independent, before Lebedev sold it to Johnston Press last year. One of Evgeny’s cabal of bearded young male proteges. 

Amol Rajan – You wait ages for an editor’s job and then two come along at once. Has landed a string of scoopettes since becoming the BBC’s new media editor. Bearded obviously. If only he’d held out just a little longer…

Matthew d’Ancona – The former Spectator editor is already a Standard columnist and also pushes the neo-Cameroon modernising agenda in his Guardian column. Has requisite beard.

Toby Young: Now working at the New Schools Network, could he be tempted to put his career as an educationalist on hold? Able to grow beard at short notice if necessary.

Ed Cumming – Hirsute Rasputin to Evgeny’s Tsar Nicholas, Cumming is highly-rated and was commissioning editor at the Observer for two years.

Dylan Jones – The GQ editor is a name in the frame, however his 18 years at the helm of GQ suggest he is a lifer at the magazine. If he starts growing a beard he could be in contention.

Stig Abell – The former Sun man could be a good shout. Though surely he loves TLS too much to leave?

Eleanor Mills – Editorial director at the Sunday Times and editor of the Sunday Times magazine, certainly has the experience.

Ian Walker – If Lebedev goes for an internal hire then his deputy editor is the most qualified.

Jack Lefley – Currently the well-respected Standard news editor, the man who under the radar does the most work on the paper.

Evgeny could choose someone completely unexpected. He is not a conventional proprietor…

Brexit or Bust

despite-brexit-boobs

The inventiveness of this particular #DespiteBrexit story made Guido laugh…

Lebedevs Looking for New Standard Newsroom

This week’s Estates Gazette makes interesting reading in light of today’s news about the Indy. A report in the property trade journal claims the Lebedevs are planning to move the Evening Standard from their current offices sharing with the Indy and the Mail in Kensington. Apparently they are looking for a new 40,000 square foot space in Zone 1. Will there be room for a new online-only Indy there too?

Alas SunNation, We Knew It Well

sunnation

Farewell SunNation, the Sun’s outside-the-paywall experiment with a blog format has now gone with the raison d’être of the paywall. This again brings into focus the future of tabloids now it has been established that in the age of social media paywalls for popular papers are counter-productive. As far as Guido knows no mass market tabloid in the world has successfully made the transition to a digital model.

Digital first sceptics point out that for all the traffic success of Mail Online and The Guardian, they don’t really make much profit. In the case of the digital Guardian they make no profit. That is because undifferentiated general traffic does not command a high premium from advertisers. Also free online versions inevitably cannibalise the print readers…

Digital first optimists argue that there is no choice other than to deliver content where people increasingly want it, to their phones and tablets. And deliver it fast and first if you want to succeed. 

How will we make any money ask the digital sceptics? If paid subscriptions don’t work for tabloids in the digital era will it be Buzzfeed style advertorial? Video ads? Product placement? The digital first optimists point out that tabloid print sales are collapsing and soon they won’t make money either…

TABLOIDS

The Mirror is contemplating a cut-price, slimmed down version of the paper along the lines of the i, The Independent’s successful cut-down version. The more successful print innovator is actually the London Evening Standard, London’s now free high-quality evening paper is brimming with advertising. Could a tabloid thrive on advertising revenue alone? Metro and City AM show that advertising-only supported papers can be viable. It is possible that a national could go free, double or triple circulation, and suck up more than enough advertising to make up for the lost cover-price revenue. Guido noticed that last weekend the Sun on Sunday was distributed free in some places in Ireland…

Standard: Morgan Marries Fellow Minister

Gauke-ward.

Top Standard Hacks in Clarkson-esque Newsroom Fracas

Word reaches MediaGuido that Martin Bentham, the Evening Standard’s home affairs editor, has been suspended pending investigation following an altercation with another journalist at the paper. The fracas is said to have taken place in the newsroom loos, with Bentham allegedly going all Clarkson and punching top features writer Joshi Herrmann three times. Newsroom sources suggest Bentham was uspet with Herrmann being gonged by the Press Awards for bringing in stories on his patch, which ironically includes crime and the Metropolitan Police. 

Herrmann seemingly walked straight to lunch to give a blow by blow account to fellow Standard and Indy hacks, reporting “a very poor uppercut to the chin”. MediaGuido contacted Herrmann to ask if he was going to press charges: “Can’t comment sorry, but I hope Martin is back covering violent crime in London very soon”.

Bentham hasn’t written for the paper or tweeted for over a week. By the sounds of it he has lot to learn from the big boss about how to throw a fist…

UPDATE: This is the official line: “Martin Bentham is currently on a long-planned family holiday”. But no response when asked to deny the suspension…

Standard Backs the Tories

Here is their endorsement in full.

Via @TJ_Politics

Evgeny Lebedev Photographed Sans Beard

Via @archiebland

Chris Blackhurst OUT of Standard/Indy

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.

Standard Doesn’t Declare Luvvie Love Interest

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…

Diane Abbott Tops Poll as Labour’s Choice for London Mayor

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…

Media Bitch Fight: Mandrake v Sarah Sands

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…

Exclusive: Angry Indy Staff Move to Strike Ballot

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.”

All out!

iLebedev: Evgeny Buys Entire Standard Staff iPads

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…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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