UK Media Tussle: Guardian Editor Fires Back At Rivals

Facing their toughest challenge in generations, British news publishers are sniping at each other like schoolgirls in the playground…

The final straw for Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger was what he has interpreted as potshots taken by rival titles this week…

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.

Here is the memo:

One of the unique things about our business is that the people who write about our company (in print, at least) are also our competitors. It shouldn