Persistence pays off as Davies takes over at IoS

Davies: "a natural step for me"

Tristan Davies threw his hat into the ring the moment he knew Janet Street-Porter was leaving the chair of The Independent on Sunday. Last Friday, the executive editor of The Independent got the job and looks on his appointment as "fantastic – a natural step for me".

The 39-year-old, particularly well-known for his designing skills, is nothing if not a trier. When he worked on free magazines in London and his editor Jim White (now with The Guardian) went to The Independent in 1987, Davies rang him every day for three months until he gave him a job.

His current editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner, is unlikely to have come under such intense pressure. He was already an admirer of Davies’s work, having taken him from The Independent to The Mail on Sunday, where he made Davies an assistant editor on Night and Day, and having re-recruited him to The Independent when Kelner returned to the paper three years ago.

One of the surprises of Street-Porter’s tenure was that she was not as radical an editor as people expected. Davies said he has clear ideas about what he wants to do with the IoS, which he cannot yet divulge (he does not become editor until 11 June).

He has yet to discuss them with his new colleagues.

"Janet presided over an extremely successful newspaper and I intend to build on its strengths. My paper will be different – every editor has their own way of doing things," he said.

He made his mark reshaping The Independent after former editor Andrew Marr’s unconventional redesign. He believes it was a brave attempt to do something new but explained: "Simon and I share a philosophy. We believe in doing things simply. You don’t get too many prizes for reinventing journalism. Good content, an easy-to-navigate newspaper, attractive layout – all of those things are simple and direct.

I absolutely love the design and production of newspapers as well as the ideas and words."

While he is thinking of some staff recruitment, Davies said he was looking forward to working with IoS deputy editor Michael Williams.

His first job with The Independent was on the listings pages. He became deputy listings editor and then listings editor, deputy arts editor and arts and Weekend editor and, when Kelner became features editor, was made his deputy.

He returned from Night and Day as executive editor (features) with a brief to put together the second section of the newspaper, keep a watching brief on magazines and, as he said, "right from the start I was thrown into news as well". He was also on the editing rota.

by Jean Morgan

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