The observer to rethink format

The Observer looks set for yet another relaunch when a new editor replaces Jonathan Fenby, who resigned last week.

The Sunday paper is looking to reverse its news-based strategy by raising the profile of its features, interviews and themed sections, which have failed to convince enough readers to buy the newspaper, say sources at the company.

“It’s not a natural choice for women. Too many of the sections – like business, sport and, to a certain extent, the main news – are targeted at men,” says a Guardian advertising source.

The Scott Trust, which owns both The Guardian and The Observer, has promoted long-standing Guardian editor Peter Preston to editor-in-chief of both newspapers, although his primary task will be to oversee a revival of The Observer’s fortunes.

Fenby’s departure became inevitable during the second half of last year, despite a number of high-profile scoops, including the “Bastardgate” revelations, says a source at The Observer.

“There was a feeling that news on its own, which was Fenby’s strong point, was not enough to build a Sunday paper,” adds the source.

Favourite for The Observer editorship is Independent on Sunday editor Ian Jack. Other possible candidates include BBC Radio managing director Liz Forgan and Evening Standard editor Stewart Steven.

Guardian deputy editor Alan Rusbridger is the hot favourite to take over the reins from Preston.

The Scott Trust effectively dismissed speculation that Preston would remain in overall charge of the papers at a meeting on Monday. The new appointees will be “strong, autonomous editors,” it said.

* The Guardian is producing a 15-minute radio programme based on its listings magazine The Guide, which will be broadcast on ILR stations in the South-east.

Torin Douglas, page 17

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here