Alton: merged editorial teams needed at Guardian and Observer

Some merging of the Guardian and Observer editorial teams is now essential, acccording to Roger Alton who stepped down as Observer editor on 1 January.

Alton told Press Gazette: “If I were doing the move to King’s Cross, I’d be wanting merged teams in a whole set of areas. It wouldn’t make sense to me at all to be separate.

‘If I was still there that’s what I’d be doing – if I was at any other paper I’d be doing that, I’d be bringing things together so you don’t get too much duplication. We have people doing the same thing.”

Asked whether there was a danger the Observer could lose its distinct identity he said: “That’s true, but I don’t think it will necessarily happen. The question is whether you are optimistic or pessimistic about the Sunday market – there are pressures on it from the twin bombs of freesheets and the migration in advertising to online.

‘I know people who think it will just be Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday and News of the World as the three market sector leaders, but I don’t think that will happen.”

Alton also spoke about his reasons for leaving the paper in the year that he picked up a British Press Award for newspaper year, the truth about allegations of a row between him and Alan Rusbridger and what he plans to do now.

To read the full interview, see this week’s Press Gazette magazine.

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