One of my personal heroes, Alan Rusbridger - journalist, editor, author, academic, musician, and soft-spoken yet absolutely tenacious, unflappable activist - has recently stepped down as editor-in-chief of The Guardian, after 20 years at the helm. I have enormous respect and admiration for Rusbridger, and this is very sad news for the world of journalism (though I admit I am excited by the fact that he’s coming to the University of Oxford to be the Principal of one the colleges, viz. Lady Margaret Hall!).
Under Rusbridger’s stewardship, The Guardian has flourished, and has been transformed from a British newspaper into a global voice of note. Its online edition has become the third most widely-read online newspaper in the world, just behind the New York Times, and in many years the Guardian has been declared the world’s best newspaper website, in the online equivalent of the Oscars.
Rusbridger himself played absolutely pivotal roles in stories that shook and indeed even changed the world - including, recently, the News of the World, Wikileaks, and Ed Snowden scandals; for its work involving the latter scandal, The Guardian received (amongst many other honours) the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service reporting.
The linked article contains Rusbridger's farewell remarks to readers of The Guardian: self-effacing (as usual), but powerful. It's the end of an era, alas, but I am in awe of all that Rusbridger has achieved these past twenty years!
The Guardian has had the strength to withstand all the attacks launched in response to our journalism during the past 20 years – and there have been many. But we drew our resilience from the power of the institution, not of any individual.