John Mulholland (journalist)

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John Mulholland (born 20 November 1962) is an Irish journalist who was the editor of the British Sunday newspaper The Observer for 10 years and assistant editor of The Guardian. He has worked for most of his career with the Guardian Media Group.[1] In April 2018, he became the editor of Guardian US.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Mulholland was born in Ranelagh, Dublin, and has seven siblings.[1] Mulholland received a degree in Communications in 1983 from Dublin City University[1] and he also studied for an MA in media and communications at California State University, Sacramento.[3]


Mulholland worked as arts assistant at The Independent from 1987–8, then briefly for London Daily News in the same role. He co-founded Listings Limited in 1988 as the deputy editor, providing arts and entertainments listings to newspapers.[4]

He joined The Guardian as assistant editor of the arts desk in 1990, then became media editor in 1994.[4] In 1998 he left The Guardian to manage the relaunch of Mirror Group Newspapers' Sporting Life, but his contract was ended after three months and before the launch after a disagreement over the management of the project.[4][5][6]

The Observer[edit]

Mulholland rejoined the Guardian Media Group as deputy editor of The Observer in 1998,[7] overseeing the magazines, sport, travel and culture sections.[3] He developed and launched the monthly food, sport and music magazines and led the change of format to Berliner.[8] He encouraged Nick Paton Walsh when Paton Walsh was a trainee at the newspaper, and entered his first piece into the Press Gazette's Young Journalist of the Year award in 2000, which it won.[9]


Mulholland succeeded Roger Alton as editor in January 2008 (announced in October 2007), having read The Observer as a teenager,[10] and reshuffled the paper's editorial team.[1][11] He closed the monthly sport, music and women's magazines in 2009,[12] and relaunched the paper in February 2010 with four sections and a reduced staff of 70 to reduce costs.[13][14]

Mulholland faced criticism and calls for his resignation due to an article by Julie Burchill published in The Observer on 13 January 2013, later withdrawn from the website, which was seen as transphobic.[15] Mulholland responded on the comments page to what he described as "many emails protesting about this piece" and stated that he would be looking into the issue.[16]

On 1 June 2015, Muholland additionally became an assistant editor of The Guardian in one of the first appointments made by Katharine Viner, the editor-in-chief of Guardian News and Media.[17] From July to Autumn 2017, Mulholland was the temporary editor of Guardian US while Lee Glendinning was on maternity leave.[18] In April 2018, Mulholland became the editor of Guardian US, and was succeeded by his deputy, Paul Webster.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Dubliner is new editor of 'Observer'". Irish Independent. 6 October 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Paul Webster appointed new editor of The Observer". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Alton to step down as Observer editor". Press Gazette. 24 October 2007. Archived from the original on 17 April 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ a b c "Mulholland's Drive". Press Gazette. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2012.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Mirror Group fires pre-launch editor of Sporting Life". Campaign. 10 August 1998. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  6. ^ McCann, Paul (11 August 1998). "Editor of shelved 'Sporting Life' is sacked". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Editor Alton to leave Observer". The Guardian. London. 24 October 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  8. ^ Brook, Stephen (25 October 2007). "'Mr Modesty' steps up at the Observer". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Nick Paton Walsh on John Mulholland". Press Gazette. 1 July 2005. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Rock, Mark. John Mulholland, Editor, The Observer. Audioboo, May 2011 (6:13, mp3)
  11. ^ "Jasper Gerard out in Observer reshuffle". Press Gazette. 3 January 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ Andrews, Amanda (10 November 2009). "Observer to close down magazines". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  13. ^ "How the Observer's relaunch was enlightened by the spirit of 1791". The Guardian. London. 15 February 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  14. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (3 March 2010). "Mulholland: Observer will lose readers but break even". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ Philipson, Alice (13 January 2013). "Lynne Featherstone calls for Observer's Julie Burchill to be sacked following 'disgusting rant' against transsexuals". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  16. ^ "Statement from John Mulholland, editor of the Observer". The Guardian. London. 14 January 2013.
  17. ^ "Lee Glendinning appointed editor, Guardian US", Guardian News & Media press release, 1 June 2015
  18. ^ "Observer editor John Mulholland to become interim editor of Guardian US operations". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Press Office. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Roger Alton and Jocelyn Targett
Deputy Editor of The Observer
with Paul Webster
Succeeded by
Paul Webster
Preceded by
Roger Alton
Editor of The Observer
Succeeded by
Paul Webster