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Roger Alton

Roger Alton was appointed editor of The Independent in July 2008. Prior to that, he edited The Observer, between 1998 and Christmas 2007. Prior to this Roger held a number of positions at The Guardian. Roger was awarded Editor of the Year at the What the Papers Say Awards 2000 and Editor of the Year at the GQ Awards 2005. Roger is also a member of the Press Complaints Commission.

Virginia Ironside on sex - and are you good enough for Sam West?

Posted by Roger Alton
  • Tuesday, 8 September 2009 at 07:48 pm
 Oh joy! The great Virginia Ironside, the Independent's legendary agony aunt, made a guest appearance at the paper's morning editorial conference today and was, as you'd expect, as wise, funny, smart and fabulously dirty-minded as ever. She's just back from Edinburgh where she's been playing her one-woman show, The Virginia Monologues, to packed houses and rave reviews and is about to tour it. Do catch it if you get a chance. Virginia's show is about the joys of getting old, though I can't see it myself. She came up with a great idea for the comment section of the paper tonight though -- apparently there's a book out about why women have sex, and Virginia was happy to weigh in. She's written an absolutely brilliant piece, worth the price of the paper on its own in my view. But if you want to know why Virginia has sex you will have to hand over some of your -hard earned tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.


Talking of getting old, we drove down to Chichester the other day to see Enron, the highly praised musical drama about, well, Enron and the amazing greed, stupidity, and cupidity around that amazing period of American financial life. And of course weren't the lessons of Enron well-learned! Ahem ...

Anyway, it's a terriffic show and the audience loved it. Now I have a bus pass -- one of the perks of old age as Virginia agrees -- but I reckon I still brought the average age of the audience down by a good 10 years at least. (After all, Chichester's not the youngest place in the country). Anyway, we were all hollering and cheering, and gave the talented cast massive and well-deserved applause. So , having made the long journey (just a bare 10 hours it felt like) to the Festival Theatre to see the show in the last week of its run before before transferring to London, it was particularly thrilling to read the star, Sam West, in one of those 'My Week' columns, slag us, the audience, off as being '
stodgy'. Well, thanks a lot Sam. Mr West is a talented guy, though he has never struck me as being crippled by a lack of self-belief. But not being a good enough audience is a new one on me. Perhaps in future anyone considering whether to visit one of Mr West's shows might spend a bit of time asking themselves whether they are worthy of being in the audience. And they might decide they are not, and will have to give it a miss. Anyway, what's the verb for being a good audience? 'To audience' or possibly 'to audient'. Anyway I'm sure Mr West will tell us, and make damn clear we are just not up to the task.

Fag packet sums and a certain stoicism

Posted by Roger Alton
  • Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 02:26 pm

The Olympics just won't go away - right now there's the permanently rising costs, the media probably having to hang out in Nissen huts or  some such, and of course Carphone Boy having to stand down from the London 2012 advisory group. It has all remnded me of a tiny episode in the early days of the bid.

I was working for another newspaper at the time and the head of British Olympic Committee then, an amiable chap called Simon Clegg, who by the time of the Beifing Games had transformed  himself into the rather grandly titled Chef de Mission, came to pay us a visit. It was late 2002 and he wanted to urge us to get behind a London bid for 2012. He made a very good case, and it was always something that we would have been keen on at  a newspaper where sport was very important.  Don't forget this was simply the process of bidding for the Games we decided to support;  not yet the Games itself.

There was clearly a cost to the bid - several millions and this was in the days when several millions actually meant something.  No bid could have gone ahead without the support of the Government and the Mayor of London. It vwas felt that Tony Blair, an eternal optimist, was possibly the only Cabinet member fully behind the bid. All the Treasury Ministers, including the Chancellor, were opposed, for understandable cost reasons.

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Newspapers, Swedish detectives and the small print

Posted by Roger Alton
  • Monday, 1 December 2008 at 01:50 pm

The Independent has been in the news a bit recently, and thats's why I would like to ask anybody out there for views. What we want to do is produce the sort of newspaper you really want.

So please let me know the type of news or features or pictures or investigations you would like.  Do you want  Strictly or the Large Hadron Collider or Britain on the Booze, or Damian Green or all of the above? I sometimes think we are not  women-friendly enough in our coverage. But I am a bloke and  probably useless at that, so I am asking you: what could we do to become more woman-friendly?

And  I think our print product and our multi-platform web operations -- online, video, downloads etc etc -- should be closely related. I  can't get enough of our brilliant political analyst Steve Richards  --  and I mean that in a good way --  so I would like to see him all over the internet as well as the paper. But of course he is only human!

Anyway, please let  me know below.


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