The fucking editors come and go, talking about that c— Michaelangelo. Roger Alton, the new editor, has the distinction of being even more foul mouthed than Simon Kelner, th old one, was as a deputy sports editor, when he had the largest collection of homophobic epithets I have ever heard from anyone — not just “sausage jockey” — but “the Lester Piggott of the chipolata circuit”.
Some people are worrying about how such a ferocious, balls-out supporter of the war in Iraq as Alton could take over Britain’s most anti-war paper; I may be wrong, but I don’t think he will change the paper’s line, because what gets him up is aggression, not politics. Being aggressively anti-war will be just as much fuin as being pro, and allow for just as many displays of testosterone.
More to the point, Kelner’s move upstairs is to a position where his job is to make the editorial and commercial sides of the paper work more closely together so that Tony O’Reilly is under less pressure to shut it down. The Independent was founded on the belief that only profitable papers were safe to do their journalistic work; I think this has been amply proven over the last fifteen years of loss-making there. Obviously we can expect more advertorial under the Kelner/Alton regime. Whether it will save the paper in an advertising slump I don’t know. The circulation figures quoted by Roy Greenslade look horrible:
For the record, the Indy’s circulation in February stood at just 252,435. But 41,492 of those were bulk sales and an eyebrow-raising 52,292 were “sold” in foreign parts. In Britain, the Indy sold just 153,635 at full rate.
Kelner must also get to grips with the Independent on Sunday, where a new editor, John Mullin, has been trying to make sense of the single-section paper since his appointment in January. Its headline sale in February stood at 228,012, but once the bulks and foreigns are removed, the full-rate British sale was a mere 118,126.
The other question, I suppose, is whether he will hire Nick Cohen.