Dear Mr Lebedev
If you are looking for someone a bit left field, then I am your man: both because I am well connected in the Labour party and because I would be an unexpected but compelling choice. Your paper needs to better reflect London and for that you need a Labour-supporting editor, though a highly critical and well-informed one, ready to criticise and expose where necessary.
I am a journalist with 40 years experience, including nearly ten years on The Independent in various roles including helping run the news desk. I have worked for The Observer, the London Daily News, the New Statesman and numerous others. I have written a dozen or so books, the latest on Indian Railways but I also helped expose the scandal of child abuse in my book Forgotten Children. There’s everything I have done and written on my website www.christianwolmar.co.uk.
I am involved in Labour politics, having stood for Labour in the recent Richmond by-election, helping to defeat Zak Goldsmith, and consequently I have excellent contacts in City Hall.
I will keep this short. Here’s three things you need to do with the Standard. The key aim is to make more people pick it up and therefore it has to be a vital source of information. I have watched crows at stations shun the free offer of a paper. That has to change. The Standard is currently far too full of the celeb rubbish that people can now get anywhere, especially online. Therefore you have to make it special
- Give it a much harder news edge. Run exclusives, have an investigations team, break news, expose scandals. Run campaigns that are winnable, not on vague concepts like ‘helping poor children’.
- Be the London paper. Give much more coverage to London issues, especially misdeeds and scandals among politicians – of all sides. The recent Millwall land story was, for example, left to The Guardian. It should been the Standard taking the lead.
- Beef up the city and industrial coverage. Again, have real stories, not just PR flim-flam. Make it a must read for those City people who currently don’t even pick it up.
I have lots of ideas. Happy to meet.