MEDIA: PROFILE; Change on an evolutionary scale: Ian Hargreaves, Editor, New Statesman

Nearly three months after taking over as editor of the troubled New Statesman and Society, former Independent editor Ian Hargreaves has made progress on the magazine’s rehabilitation.

Nearly three months after taking over as editor of the troubled New

Statesman and Society, former Independent editor Ian Hargreaves has made

progress on the magazine’s rehabilitation.



The redesign has helped boost sales and subscriptions of the magazine by

20 per cent above the rather meagre 20,000 sales figure that Hargreaves

inherited. With the new look - and shortened name New Statesman - in

place, Hargreaves, 44, is now concentrating on the evolutionary process

of changing the content. His aim is to create a strong political core

which will make the magazine a ‘must read’ for people who want to know

about politics, particularly left of centre politics.



‘Our readers are interested in politics but they also appreciate good

writing and a weekend package,’ says Hargreaves.



While the New Statesman is likely to attract upmarket readers,

Hargreaves is also hoping to pick up younger readers who are swelling

the ranks of Tony Blair’s Labour Party. To make the political content

more palatable he is surrounding the heavy duty articles with

‘interesting material to make a more enjoyable read’.



Already the arts and books sections have been expanded and Hargreaves

says that he is aiming eventually for a 50:50 split between hard core

politics and lighter material.



Hargreaves dismisses suggestions that he may find editing a weekly

publication with a small team a come down after such high profile jobs

as the director of news and current affairs at the BBC and editor of the

Independent.



‘It is enormously different but there are many advantages with a small

team. You can make many more changes and are far more hands on with

making changes to headlines and copy which you don’t get to do as much

when you are editor of a large newspaper,’ says Hargreaves.



A grammar school boy, he went on to Queen’s College, Cambridge where he

studied English and French. He began his career in 1973 working for

Bradford and District Newspapers and joined the Financial Times in 1976

for what was to become an 11 year stint culminating in promotion to

assistant editor, features. He moved to the BBC in 1987 as managing

editor of BBC News and Current Affairs. During his three years there he

was promoted to controller, and later director, of News and Current

Affairs.



Hargreaves returned to the FT in 1990 for another four years as deputy

editor to Richard Lambert and moved to the Independent in 1994 to

replace its founder Andreas Whittam Smith as editor. His stay was

shortlived and he left in November 1995 in the wake of increased control

of the paper by its biggest shareholder Mirror Group and amid reports

that he refused to further slash staff and budgets.



Married to Baptist minister Adele Blakebrough, Hargreaves’ outside

interests include the think tank Demos and East London community project

Bromley by Bow Centre.



Hargreaves is well aware that he faces an uphill battle to achieve his

objective of doubling the magazine’s circulation in the next two

years.However he has two factors working in his favour - growing support

for Tony Blair and the promise of a very interesting year in politics.



HIGHLIGHTS



1976 Journalist, Financial Times

1987 Managing editor BBC news and current affairs

1990 Deputy editor, FT

1994 Editor, The Independent



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in