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No Swearing in the Lifeboats, Please



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The death rattle of the print press has taken another turn for the nasty with the publication (via PaidContent) of Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger’s memo to his staff venting on the way the media has reported on the Guardian. Which is, you know, like cursing your mirror. Robert Andrews reports:

Against a backdrop of newsroom cuts, his CEO’s exit and his forthright views on paid strategy, The Independent (bought by Alexander Lebedev for £1) reckoned his judgment is “flawed” and questioned its “extravagant expenditure.”

Meanwhile, News Corp.‘s The Times (due to start charging online in June) reckons the Guardian is “in turmoil”.

So Rusbridger (the same one whom Murdoch accused of talking “B.S.”) is firing back at both titles—but privately—in memo emailed to staff. In it, he variously accuses them of envy, of having divided staff, of not believing in the web and of sharing the same insecurity and rates of decline as everyone.

And the animosity isn’t over. The Guardian has taken out a series of ads suggesting a Lebedev-owned Independent’s freedom is restricted. That’s the same Lebedev who cares deeply enough about an independent free press that he’s formed a philanthropic fund to finance investigative reporting in both Russia and Britain.

The memo’s most understated line: “This is the age of editorial insecurity.” Especially if you’re an insecure editor.



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