Roy Greenslade

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Roy Greenslade
Roy Greenslade at SF Summer School.jpg
Greenslade in 2013
Born (1946-12-31) 31 December 1946 (age 72)
Other namesGeorge King
OccupationJournalist, academic
Spouse(s)Noreen Taylor
RelativesNatascha McElhone (stepdaughter)

Roy Greenslade (born 31 December 1946) is Emeritus Professor of Journalism at City University London,[1][2] and has been a media commentator since 1992, most especially for The Guardian. He writes a daily blog on The Guardian media site and wrote a column for the London Evening Standard for ten years from 2006.[3][4]

Early life and career[edit]

He was educated at Dagenham County High School (1957–63) and, aged 17, was hired by the Barking and Dagenham Advertiser. After serving a three-year indentureship[citation needed] he joined the Lancashire Evening Telegraph in Blackburn as a sub-editor before spending 18 months as a sub-editor at the Manchester office of the Daily Mail.

At The Sun and elsewhere[edit]

In 1969, he entered Fleet Street as a news sub-editor on The Sun, which had just been acquired by Rupert Murdoch. He had a brief spell with the Daily Mirror in 1972 before returning to The Sun as deputy chief sub-editor, first with the news desk and later in the features department.

He left The Sun in 1974 to write his first book and to take a degree in politics at the University of Sussex. He worked his way through university with part-time sub-editing jobs at the Brighton Argus, BBC Radio Brighton, the Sunday Mirror and Reveille. After graduating in 1979, he joined the Daily Star in Manchester for six months until being seconded to the Daily Express in London. He was soon appointed features editor of the Daily Star.

In 1981 he returned to The Sun as assistant editor. He was very involved in the move from Fleet Street to Wapping. Five years later, he transferred to The Sunday Times, first running the Review Section before becoming managing editor (news). In 1990, he was appointed by Robert Maxwell as editor of the Daily Mirror.

While editor of the Daily Mirror, Greenslade was at the centre of a controversy after he rigged a competition in the paper to make sure it was unwinnable. He admitted his behaviour in October 2011 at a seminar at the Leveson Inquiry: ″On behalf of my proprietor Robert Maxwell I fixed a game offering a million pounds to anyone who could spot the ball and ensured that no-one won. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.″[5]

He departed in March 1991 and later that year was consultant editor for three months to both The Sunday Times and Today.

The Guardian and other outlets[edit]

From 1992 until 2005 he was media commentator for The Guardian. He presented BBC Radio 4's Mediumwave (1993–95) and in 1996 was the launch presenter of Britain Talks Back on Granada Talk TV. He has continued to be a regular broadcaster on media matters.

After leaving The Guardian, he then spent three months with The Daily Telegraph in a similar capacity before returning to The Guardian to launch a media blog and began to write a weekly media column for the Evening Standard. His column for what is now the London Evening Standard lasted for ten years until April 2016, but he remains a contributor to the newspaper.[4][6] In the context of a changing industry, Greenslade concluded his last column for the London Evening Standard with the observation: "Whatever happens, this I know: journalism, the trade I have practised for more than 50 years, must survive. Without it, democracy itself is imperilled".[4]

Other work[edit]

He is on the board of the academic quarterly, the British Journalism Review, and is a trustee of the media ethics charity, MediaWise. In 2003, he was appointed Professor of Journalism at City University London in succession to Hugh Stephenson.

Greenslade has been credited with coining the term: "The Hierarchy of Death" as well as writing extensively on the subject.[7][8]

He is also the author of three books, Goodbye to the Working Class (1976), Maxwell's Fall (1992) and Press Gang: How Newspapers Make Profits from Propaganda (2003).

Greenslade was interviewed by National Life Stories (C467/14) in 2007 for the 'Oral History of the British Press' collection held by the British Library.[9]

Irish republicanism[edit]

During the late 1980s, when he was managing news editor of The Sunday Times, he secretly wrote for An Phoblacht, a newspaper published by Sinn Féin.[10] His pseudonym was George King. This was exposed by Nick Davies, a Guardian colleague and instigator of the journalistic investigation into phone hacking. When Greenslade reviewed Davies's book on his blog in 2008, he did not deny his writings for An Phoblacht.[11] Greenslade also spoke at a Sinn Féin conference in London on the 30th anniversary of the hunger strikes, and he wrote an article on the same subject for An Phoblacht.

He has had a house in County Donegal for many years, and a close personal friend is Pat Doherty, who from 1988 until 2009 was vice president of Sinn Féin, and who has been publicly named as a former member of the IRA Army Council.[12] He also stood surety for IRA member John Downey, one of the suspects in the 1982 bombing of Hyde Park which killed four soldiers.[13]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Noreen Taylor, the former Daily Mirror journalist and mother of actress Natascha McElhone.[14]


  1. ^ "Event celebrates career of Professor Roy Greenslade". City University London. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Academic Experts". City University London. Archived from the original on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  3. ^ "British journalist Roy Greenslade stands surety for IRA man". The Irish Post. 7 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Greenslade, Roy (6 April 2016). "Roy Greenslade: Decade of change but journalism must survive". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Axegrinder at Leveson: Phil Hall 'Does a Lebedev' on Roy Greenslade". Press Gazette. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  6. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (7 April 2016). "Evening Standard drops Roy Greenslade media column as press retreats from scrutinising itself". Press Gazette. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Sian murder says a lot about media's values". London Evening Standard. March 30, 2011.
  8. ^ Owen Jones (2013-04-21). "Owen Jones: Our shameful hierarchy - some deaths matter more than others - Comment - Voices". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
  9. ^ National Life Stories, 'Greenslade, Roy (1 of 9) National Life Stories Collection: 'Oral History of the British Press', The British Library Board, 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  10. ^ Greenslade, Roy (3 November 2014). "Demonisation of Gerry Adams a consequence of Ireland's 'media bubble'". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Glover, Stephen (12 March 2012). "Glover: The Troubles are still raging for The Guardian's media pundit". The Independent. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Ruth Dudley Edwards: The strange case of the two Roy Greenslades". Irish Independent. 18 March 2012.
  13. ^ Murphy, Cormac (28 February 2014). "'Guardian' journalist stood surety for suspect". Irish Independent.
  14. ^ "Comedy role for X-Files star Duchovny". The Guardian. 17 March 2007.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Richard Stott
Editor of the Daily Mirror
Succeeded by
Richard Stott