News & Opinion

George Osborne: "It isn't enough just to inform, you have to entertain"

On stage at a London Press Club event for a Q&A with Andrew Marr, Osborne discussed what it means to be editor of the Evening Standard.

Having joined the title in March this year, Osborne likens his job as editor to that of "a conductor with an experienced orchestra. You are trying to make sure that the whole thing has a direction and an approach". To him putting the paper together is a "genuine team effort".

As a former Conservative MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Osborne believes his time in government has offered "something distinctive to the paper" as he uses his skills to "look at some of the things politicians say and say 'Hold on, I know exactly what's going on there and that isn't the case' and go for the pressure point. I can see where either the government or opposition is saying something because they have clearly got some internal problem they are trying to manage and so are fudging it".

When questioned on whether his political bias effects his editorial voice, he said: "The paper should speak to its readers and to the interests of London. I work hard at that. It isn't necessarily that the opinions of the paper are identical to my opinion."

In fact, Osborne said one of the main tasks is keeping content entertaining as well as informative as in order to compete with social media the paper "has to have some edge". He said: "That pressure on the journalists and the sub-editor doing the headline and the pressure on the news editor and deputy editor to make it entertaining, to make it look good and draw the reader in – I don't think as a consumer of the product I had appreciated the work that goes into it… it's something I've come to appreciate."

He added: "It doesn't mean it has to have an aggressive bias or be unpleasant, but I think I have to tell a bit more than just the news and therefore we have to give the paper character… I have to every day persuade people to hesitate for a moment, pick the paper up and not be on Facebook."

Source: Press Gazette

by Lydia O'Neill 06/09/17

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