Guardian aims big guns at web

By Dominic Ponsford

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has put
together a crack team of executives to work on an internet project
described as a “massive extension of our comment and analysis”.

The
paper’s deputy editor of 11 years, Georgina Henry, has been made
assistant editor heading up the team, in a move that Rusbridger said
was “a real measure of our ambition for the site, and the increasing
convergence of our journalism”. Others seconded to the “Content Group”

are Ian Katz, Emily Bell and Sheila Fitzsimons.

Rusbridger
said: “The Berliner was last year’s big project and during the time we
were doing that, the internet has moved so fast that you can never sit
still. Although it’s generally acknowledged that we’ve got one of the
best, most advanced, forward thinking websites in the UK, we now have
to concentrate on that and make another step change.”

A “rolling
comment site” will be the biggest part of this, said Rusbridger,
“drawing on the strength of our existing comment and analysis writers,
but going more broadly than that”. He also spoke of allowing readers
“more of a say and more of a chance to generate content”.

Rusbridger cited US celebrity blogging site Huffington Post as an example of what can be achieved with comment on the net.

He
said: “It’s an example of how, in six months, people can do really
significant things with comment on the internet that a year ago no-one
would have anticipated.

Ricky Gervais is another example of something that took everyone by surprise.”

The Office star’s podcasts for Guardian Unlimited topped the iTunes chart in Britain and the US with two million downloads.

Henry
said of the new project: “It will be a really massive extension of our
comment and analysis in the paper. It will be a really big site.” She
added: “On the web you can do much more than you do in the paper, the
space is infinite.”

When asked about her change of jobs, she
said: “I have wanted to do something different and this is about as
different as you can make it, while at the same time being an important
part of what The Guardian is.”

The switch leaves deputy editor (news)

Paul Johnson as sole deputy editor.

Executive
editor Sheila Fitzsimons has been made head of editorial development
involved with the paper’s move to King’s Cross in 2008 and “the further
convergence of the website and the paper”.

Features editor Ian
Katz has been made executive editor in charge of the Saturday paper and
will also oversee editorial marketing.

Guardian Unlimited editor Emily Bell has also been made an executive editor.

In
other changes, home editor Ed Pilkington has been made New York
correspondent and Paul Murphy has left, after seven years as financial
editor, to become development editor of the Financial Times website
FT.com.

Katharine Viner has been promoted from editor of Guardian
Weekend to become features editor, Julian Glover has been made chief
leader writer, “freeing Martin Kettle to write more broadly across the
paper and the web”, and Julian Borger is returning from Washington to
be the London-based diplomatic editor. In a straight swap, Borger is
being replaced by Ewen MacAskill.

Ireland correspondent Angelique
Chrisafis is replacing Jon Henley in Paris, while Henley is returning
to head office to write the diary.

The shake-up leaves vacancies for a home editor, financial editor, Ireland correspondent and Guardian Weekend editor.

 

What is it?
THE HUFFINGTON POST

The
Huffington Post, launched last May by columnist, socialite, and former
candidate for governor of California Arianna Huffington, has quickly
grown into one of the largest left-leaning blogs in America, writes
Martin Stabe.

The site, which combines Matt Drudge-style links to
headlines with original commentary, owes its rapid success to
Huffington’s ability to exploit her voluminous contacts book to craft a
huge team of celebrity bloggers.

She has recruited a large number
of prominent journalists, politicians, business people and Hollywood
celebrities to write for the site – all unpaid. Contributors have
included Norman Mailer, Warren Beatty and John Cusack, as well as Curb
Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David.

The site claims 1.5 million visitors per month.

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