Times' Simon Jenkins switches to Guardian

By Dominic Ponsford

Times
columnist and former editor Simon Jenkins has defected to The Guardian
just weeks after a leading media commentator suggested the liberal
broadsheet could take over as the “establishment paper”.

Jenkins had been at The Times for 15 years – two of which as editor.

Writing
in his Financial Times column earlier this month, John Lloyd ventured
that following the conversion of The Times to a tabloid format The
Guardian could become the paper which provides “a reasonably straight
first draft of history”.

In a letter to his Times colleagues
Jenkins said: “I had meant to go after ten years of columns. This was
postponed by a new editor and the format change. Both are now
well-established and I feel the time really has come.

“My sole
reason is a desire to refresh my work, complete a book and then test my
vocal chords on a new stage before a very different audience. Hence my
choice of The Guardian in its new format later this year. This is
entirely a personal decision. I simply want a change.”

Jenkins
described The Times as: “the happiest paper I have ever known, the most
stimulating and the most rewarding in its comradeship.”

He added:
“We have seen upheavals and hair-raising moments, not least the double
hit of financial crisis and the Independent in the early Nineties. The
Thames between Wapping and the Isle of Dogs is now a little more calm,
if no less competitive.”

He said that editor Robert Thomson “has brought real success, which I have no doubt will continue”.

He added: “We all owe him a debt of gratitude.”

Jenkins,
who received a knighthood in the 2004 new year honours for services to
journalism, will join The Guardian in the summer to write a
twice-weekly column after taking a break to write a book about
Thatcher’s legacy.

Thomson said: “While not wishing The Guardian
well professionally, I wish Simon all the best personally when he does
leave. Simon will continue to write for The Times over the coming
months.”

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said: “Simon is one of
the outstanding journalists of his generation, and joins The Guardian
at the peak of his craft.”

TIMELINE

1965 Jenkins begins his career on Country Life

1966-1968 News editor , Times Educational Supplement

1968-1971 Leader writer, Evening Standard

1974-1975 Insight editor, The Sunday Times

1975-1978 Deputy editor, then editor, Evening Standard

1978-1986 Political editor, The Economist 1986-1990 Columnist, The Sunday Times

1990- 2005 Editor, then columnist, The Times

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