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Guardian editors-in-waiting make their cases: ‘Wolfgang Blau is not a woman’

23 February 2015

12:24 PM

23 February 2015

12:24 PM

The statements are in. The four Guardian employees to make it to the staff ballot in their bid to become the publication’s next editor have released their manifestos, and there are some startling declarations.

First Mr S sees that the only male horse in the race, Wolfgang Blau, has taken the bold step of acknowledging that he is not, in fact, a woman.

‘I want to acknowledge the obvious: I am not a woman and I have not grown up in the United Kingdom. I can only promise to you that as the Editor-in-Chief – should you vote for me and should the Scott Trust choose to appoint me – I will do everything I possibly can to make sure women succeed in their careers at the Guardian, that they are at the core of senior management, that we continue to attract and make a great working environment for women and journalists from many diverse backgrounds around the world.’

Meanwhile, Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of the Guardian website, has vowed to focus on long form journalism online as opposed to Buzzfeed-eqsue lists.

‘Develop new ways to understanding people’s lives where we are already strong — food, entertainment, travel, sport, families and relationships. Entertaining digital journalism goes beyond lists and quizzes and attracts new audiences. We can be more confident about our sense of humour and surprise and delight. Longform work and beautiful writing are as powerful — and reach further — in this world. We need to show how to make the different voices and subjects in our paper look different online.’

Gibson also doesn’t plan to be requiring many trees in the future, adding that ‘we shouldn’t print papers at the expense of journalists or journalism’.

The publication’s deputy editor Katharine Viner has her mind on making money while retaining ‘integrity’.

‘The Guardian is bucking the trend in digital revenues. Our journalism will never be for sale and editorial independence must be fiercely protected. But mobile, where making money is difficult, is advancing fast: we must tackle the coming challenges with both integrity and determination.’

However, it’s the fourth candidate Emily Bell, the former director of digital content for Guardian News and Media, who appears to have the most radical plans for ‘structural reform’. She wants to cut down on bonuses and make salary plans public.

‘Salaries at the higher end (including that of editor) need to be constrained, bonuses need to be re-evaluated, and we need to be transparent with our pay structures. We also need to advertise and recruit all positions openly and fairly.These are steps that will ensure our conduct reflects our values. They are particularly important as we move to a model in which we are asking readers and foundations for direct support, including through our membership scheme.’

Mr S wonders how popular the capping of wagers will be with the paper’s employees when they come to vote. She will at least impress Michael Gove. After the Chief Whip claimed that the dominance of the public schoolboy on society will only be mended when the editor of the Guardian is not privately educated, Bell makes the point that she attended ‘local state schools’.

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