D'Ancona recruits fresh talent for The Spectator

By Colin Crummy

Matthew d’Ancona has appointed three contributing editors in his first week as editor of The Spectator.

D’Ancona, who took over on 2 March, has brought in Anne Applebaum, Matthew Norman and David Rennie in a bid to widen the publication’s "journalistic family".

He told Press Gazette: "It’s a very good way of bringing talent into the orbit of the magazine, associating the magazine with the absolute cream of journalism. It’s a practice very common in the American magazine world and it’s something that some British titles already do.

"I’m delighted that all three said yes when I asked them; they all have different and glittering skills, which is very important because one wants to signal the talent and variety The Spectator has to offer."

Applebaum will be an occasional contributor with a series of pieces on geopolitical issues. She is a columnist on the Washington Post, a member of its editorial board and a former deputy editor of The Spectator. Her book Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps won the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction in 2004.

Norman writes for the Sunday Telegraph, The Independent, the Evening Standard and The Guardian. He was food and drink writer of the year in the British Press Awards 2003.

Rennie, who will broadly focus on international affairs, is Europe correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, where he has worked since 1996. He has reported from 31 countries, including Australia, China and the USA.

He said: "The idea is broadly to draw on all of this experience. Obviously the European story is very interesting to Spectator readers."

On his appointment, he said: "It’s a great honour. I don’t know Matthew d’Ancona at all; I’d never met him, so when he called it was a real surprise and a very happy one. I was already looking forward to seeing what he does with The Spectator and to be asked to take a small role in that is very exciting."

D’Ancona said there would be further announcements about future appointments in the next few months, in an effort to bring more ideas to the table.

Asked about his first week in the editor’s chair, he said: "I don’t feel pressure; I feel excitement and exhilaration and a sense of privilege at being the new editor, and can’t wait to get the first issue out.

"I hope The Spectator continues to be a source of controversy for the journalism it produces, the ideas that it floats and the wit that it has in its pages."

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