Alan Rusbridger

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Alan Rusbridger
Alan Rusbridger by Alessio Jacona - International Journalism Festival 2014.jpg
Alan Rusbridger at the International Journalism Festival 2014
Born Alan Charles Rusbridger
(1953-12-29) 29 December 1953 (age 60)[1]
Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia)
Alma mater Magdalene College, Cambridge
Occupation Editor
Notable credit(s) Editor of The Guardian
Salary £395,000[2]
Spouse(s) Lindsay Mackie[2]
Children 2 daughters
Website
www.theguardian.com/profile/alanrusbridger
twitter.com/arusbridger

Alan Charles Rusbridger (born 29 December 1953) is a British journalist and the editor of The Guardian. He took up the post in 1995, having been a reporter and columnist earlier in his career.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Before 1995[edit]

Rusbridger was born in Lusaka,[2] Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), the son of B.E. (née Wickham) and G.H. Rusbridger, the Director of Education of Northern Rhodesia. When Rusbridger was five, the family returned to Britain[2] and he was educated at Lanesborough Prep School, Guildford, where he was also a chorister at Christ Church, and Cranleigh School, a boys' independent school in Cranleigh, Surrey. At Magdalene College, Cambridge, he read English Literature. During the vacations of his first two years at university, he worked for the Cambridge Evening News as an intern, and accepted a job offer from the newspaper after graduation. He stayed with the Evening News until 1979.[2]

He then joined The Guardian as a reporter, and subsequently wrote the paper's diary column and later became a feature writer. In November 1985, Rusbridger had a brief stint as a Royal reporter following the Prince and Princess of Wales around Melbourne, Australia. Fascinated by gadgets, at this stage he was already using a Tandy word processor and an early (slow) modem to file stories back to London.[4] He left in 1986 to become TV critic of The Observer, then an entirely separate newspaper, before moving to America to be the Washington editor of the short-lived London Daily News in 1987.

After returning to The Guardian, he launched the "Weekend" supplement in 1988, followed by the paper's "G2" section. He became features editor in 1994.[5]

After 1995[edit]

As editor from 1995, he defended the paper against a number of high-profile defamation suits, including those from the Police Federation and the Conservative MPs, Neil Hamilton and Jonathan Aitken. In the case involving Hamilton, and the lobbyist Ian Greer, he said: They weren’t going to fight us in the court so they tried to do it through the TV studio." Rusbridger countered them by being available for TV interviews over three days to ensure that their version of events did not gain precedence.[5] Hamilton's case collapsed shortly before a court hearing, while Aitken was demonstrated to have perjured himself, and served a prison sentence as a result.[6]

Seen early in his editorship as a modernising new broom, he commented in June 1997 shortly after the election of Tony Blair's first New Labour government that the "old" Guardian: "opposed lots of things the Tories did which we'd now think weren't terribly bad in retrospect ... I mean, a lot of the trade union stuff doesn't seem as horrendous now as it seemed at the time."[7] From around 1997, he oversaw the launch and development of the newspaper's website,[8] initially known as Guardian Unlimited.

In September 2005 The Guardian responded to the tabloid re-launches of The Times and The Independent by moving from a broadsheet format to the "Berliner" format, which is common in the rest of Europe. The print edition of the newspaper still accounted for about 75% of the company's revenue around 2012. In a profile of Rusbridger though, published in the New Statesman at the end of May 2012, former newspaper editor Peter Wilby cast doubt on whether Rusbridger's enthusiasm for online journalism, freely available without a paywall, and the large amount of money invested by the group, would ever gain a return or ensure the long-term survival of the newspaper.[8]

He is a member of the board of Guardian News and Media, of the main board of the Guardian Media Group and of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian and The Observer, of which he is executive editor. Rusbridger received £471,000 in pay and benefits in 2008/9,[9] but has since volunteered to a series of pay cuts, bringing his revenue to £395,000 in fiscal year 2012.[2]

He has written three children's books, as well as being the co-author (with Ronan Bennett) of a BBC drama, Fields of Gold.

Publication of Snowden leaks[edit]

As editor-in-chief, in August 2013 Rusbridger took the decision to destroy hard drives containing information leaked to The Guardian by Edward Snowden, rather than comply with a government demand for the data. An action taken in the presence of the authorities, Rusbridger described performing the task as "slightly pointless". "Given that there were other copies, I saw no reason not to destroy this material ourselves." [10]

On 3 December 2013 Rusbridger gave evidence before a Home Affairs Select Committee hearing on counterterrorism at the UK Parliament with regard to the publication of information leaked by Snowden.[11]

Other activities[edit]

He is visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, and Visiting Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London. Between 2004 and 2013 he was Chair of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.[12] He is a governor of the Ditchley Foundation,[13] an organisation which exists to promote international relations.

Rusbridger supports 10:10, a British climate change campaign for a 10% reduction in carbon emissions in 2010.

He is also a passionate amateur pianist. He recently performed Chopin's Ballade No. 1 for More4 in "Rushbridger vs Chopin", and speaks about the difficulties of taking on a piece considered by many professional pianists as daunting.[14]

Personal life and honours[edit]

In 1982, he married the educationalist Lindsay Mackie, who was educated at the private St Leonards School, in St Andrews, Fife. She helped found FILMCLUB. They have two daughters (born 1983 and May 1986), one of whom was briefly educated at the independent St Paul's Girls' School in London. In 2009 it was reported that one of his daughters, Isabella, had been working at The Guardian, but had been using her mother's surname as a nom de plume to avoid suspicion of having obtained the job through nepotism.[15] His wife is good friends with Tessa Jowell, whom she knew at the University of Edinburgh, and he is good friends with her estranged husband, David Mills. They both own cottages near the same Gloucestershire village.[16]

Rusbridger received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Lincoln in September 2009[17] and from the University of Kingston in January 2010.[18]

In 2010 he was chosen to deliver the annual Andrew Olle Media Lecture in Australia.

Film portrayal[edit]

In the 2013 film The Fifth Estate, Rusbridger was portrayed by Peter Capaldi.[19]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "RUSBRIDGER, Alan Charles". Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ken Auletta "Annals of Communications: Freedom of Information", The New Yorker, 7 October 2013
  3. ^ Alan Rusbridger on Twitter
  4. ^ Alan Rusbridger "Alan Rusbridger - Editor, The Guardian", Press Gazette, 23 November 2005.
  5. ^ a b Stephen Armstrong "MEDIA: PROFILE; Guardian of journalistic integrity: Alan Rusbridger, Editor, the Guardian", PR Week, 11 October 1996.
  6. ^ Alan Rusbridger "The long, slow road to libel reform", guardian.co.uk, 10 May 2011.
  7. ^ Rob Brown "New Government! New Guardian! Alan Rusbridger is shaking up his staff with Blairite conviction", The Independent, 2 June 1997.
  8. ^ a b Peter Wilby "Alan Rusbridger: the quiet evangelist", New Statesman, 30 May 2012.
  9. ^ Guardian profile.
  10. ^ "Rusbridger: destroying hard drives allowed us to continue NSA coverage". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Anthony Faiola, "Guardian editor defends publication of Snowden files", The Washington Post, 3 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Dame Liz Forgan appointed as new NYO Chair", National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
  13. ^ "The Governors". The Ditchley Foundation. 
  14. ^ "Rusbridger vs Chopin", Radio Times.
  15. ^ "Guardian editor's daughter in Melanie Phillips row". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  16. ^ The Independent, July 1997.
  17. ^ "Guardian chief editor honoured by university". The Linc. 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  18. ^ "Good news comes by degrees". Kingston University. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  19. ^ The Fifth Estate at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]

Articles
Media offices
Preceded by
Jonathan Fenby
Deputy Editor of The Guardian
1993 - 1995
Succeeded by
Georgina Henry
Preceded by
Peter Preston
Editor of The Guardian
1995–present
Incumbent