Alan Rusbridger steps down as The Guardian editor after 20 years at the helm of world’s most credible left wing newspaper. Deputy editor Katharine Viner is now in charge, Press Gazette reported.
Veteran investigative journalist Nick Davies said Mr Rusbridger occupies a position next Harold Evans in the pantheon of British media
“I think Alan ranks alongside Harry Evans right at the top of the league table of editors,” Davies said. “Like Harry, he has backed his reporters in the teeth of aggression, not just with Snowden and the phone-hacking but going right back to Neil Hamilton and Jonathan Aitken. Like Harry, he led the whole paper – features, news, sport, pictures have all improved under him. But his biggest single achievement was to see the significance of the internet so quickly and to devise a strategy which has transformed us from one of the smallest newspapers in the UK to one of the biggest in the world. That’s a helluva thing.”
Under Rusbridger, The Guardian won newspaper of the year four times at the British Press Awards and last year it became the first UK newspaper to win the Pulitzer Prize for the Edward Snowden revelations about US state surveillance.
Rusbridger took over from Peter Preston at a time when the paper’s print circulation was solidly above 400,000 and it did not yet have a website.
He leaves with less than half the daily print sales (176,157, according ABC) but with a digital footprint of more than 7m daily browsers. Some 63 per cent of The Guardian’s web readership now comes from outside the UK.
According to the National Readership Survey, The Guardian is the fourth most-read national newspaper brand in the UK (in print and online) with 16.3m readers a month. This puts it ahead of The Sun and a whisker behind The Daily Telegraph.
As editor-in-chief of Guardian News and Media, which includes The Observer, Rusbridger has led an “open journalism” approach, committing to free online access while raising the daily print cover price to £1.80. He took GNM “digital-first” in 2011, ruling that from that point on digital rather than print was The Guardian’s main priority.
Rusbridger is the UK’s second longest serving national newspaper editor, after Paul Dacre who has edited the Daily Mail since 1992.