Coffee House

Changes to The Spectator’s editorial team

5 August 2014

It’s a busy summer for The Spectator. Sales of the magazine are rising and our website is now visited by well over a million people each month. Spectator TV has now joined our regular podcasts, so we’re now watched (and listened to) as well as read. One of the great strengths of The Spectator is that we have a small team and a fluid structure – we all do a bit of everything. But there’s more than ever to do and I’m delighted to announce some new arrivals to that team, together with some other changes.

· Freddy Gray, our managing editor, has been appointed deputy editor with oversight of all parts of The Spectator.

· Igor Toronyi-Lalic, who has done a brilliant job running our new Culture House blog, becomes the new arts editor. He’ll now oversee all of the Spectator’s arts coverage. He’s also co-director of the London Contemporary Music Festival and a biographer of Benjamin Britten.


· Lara Prendergast has been made deputy online editor. It’s a permanent job, but she’s currently standing in for…

· Sebastian Payne, our online editor, who is in Washington for four months (having won the Washington Post’s Laurence Stern Fellowship). He returns here from DC in November.

· Lucy Vickery becomes life editor, overseeing the magazine’s inimitable final section, in addition to her role as deputy arts editor.

· Damian Thompson, former blogs editor at the Daily Telegraph, joins as an associate editor.

Liz Anderson has retired as arts editor after 23 brilliant years at the magazine. David Blackburn, our blogs editor, is off to the City and leaves next week (his successor will be named in the autumn). They’ve both been incredible colleagues, who I could not hope to thank properly here. A few other changes have already taken place: Isabel Hardman was promoted to assistant editor a few months ago, and Mary Wakefield has (at her suggestion) become commissioning editor to focus on procuring the most original, entertaining and thought-provoking features that you’ll read anywhere.

Much is written about the changing ways in which journalism is read (or listened to), and our industry is certainly going through a revolution. But our approach is pretty much the same as it has been for 186 years: hire the best writers and give them the freedom to say what they want – always mindful that we’re serving the best-read, best-humoured cohort of people on the planet. To join our subscribers, from £1 a week, click here.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • cambridgeelephant

    Lucy – leave Taki alone. And vice versa !

  • Archibald Heatherington

    Fraser, does this mean that if I’ve got an article or few for you then I should get in touch with Mary Wakefield?

  • The Masked Marvel

    Visited by over a million people each month? Don’t get too excited. Those numbers will drop by a mile once Israel is out of the news cycle again. Although, the blogs editor’s tactic of teasing the same article more than once seems to be working as planned.

    As for the rest of this news, one could be forgiven for not being too thrilled with an arts editor with a distaste for opera.

  • Baron

    Russel Taylor’s the man for Baron, gifted in the craft of wordsmithing with the right take on issues that worry. He would would fit well. Months ago, he used to do a column on the Bogpaper site, then disappeared together with his historic columns. Look him up, Fraser, you won’t regret it.

  • Barakzai

    Is anyone not an editor?

    ‘Editor’, like ‘Professor’ and ‘university’ (and their degrees), seem much devalued terms these days . . .

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …well, if you’re not going to pay ’em, you have to give ’em a useless title.

      Blackburn is somewhat a muppet, but it’s obvious he can surpass the meager wages he’s earning, and that’s why he’s gone. Hoskins did likewise a few years ago. The rest of the Speccie kids are stuck where they’re at, no doubt.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Gray, Prendergast, Payne and Hardman. Now there are names to excite an insomniac in desperate need of sleep……………

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …there should be a yearly award for the lad’s biggest whopper.

  • Seldom Seen

    And if we manage to find a journalist who’s been properly trained, done his/her time on local/regional/national newspapers because they had talent or ability (or possibly both) rather than because Daddy knew someone who knew someone, we’ll be sure to let you know right away. Meantime, it’s jobs for the Oxbridge boys and girls all the way …

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …they have to work cheap though. There are lefties lined up like spiny lobsters to take these jobs.

  • Lussac

    When’s the Motoring column coming back? Used to look forward to the sometimes interesting and different slant on motoring topics.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    You may well come to regret having Thompson on board

    • mahatmacoatmabag

      Hear , Hear , he was like a poisoned chalice on the DT, working with a tag team of blog disrupting trolls who moderated the blog & got hundreds of readers banned, trolls like Fabian Solutions & Phil Evens and his 200+ sockpuppets

  • Earlshill

    I like Damian but why stop there? How about Benedict replacing Fraser…….

  • HookesLaw

    Promoting Mr Gray is not going to improve The Spectator any time soon.

    • telemachus

      “…..always mindful that we’re serving the best-read, best-humoured cohort of people on the planet.”
      That does not apply to you Hooky

      • Des Demona

        I must have missed the good humour in amongst the xenophobic bile that seems to clog most BTL comments.

  • Marmalade Sandwich

    The Spectator is a great read, but Fraser should have culled more writers including: Melisa Kite, Jeremy Clarke, Toby Young and Matthew Parris. Also, please never commission wankers like Peter Mandelson. Finally, Ed West to be promoted to the magazine.

    • KestrelSprite

      If Marmalade Sandwich were to have his way, I would terminate my subscription immediately.

      • LadyDingDong

        Anyone who wants to deprive us of the inimitable Jeremy Clarke and the excellent, Goveist, Toby Young is a sh*t Sandwich at a cr*p picnic (as my daughter would say) – Kite and Parris are stocking fillers and I am ambivalent about them. What interests me is the million visitors a month claimed by young Fraser; which would be more impressive if half of them weren’t the same person – telemakesitup and his sock-puppet alter egos.

        • dalai guevara

          I would probably (sic) agree with all of that, with one or two minor caveats. The supposed Labour HQ message is more often than not a rather dull one. I would also venture to declare without arrogance that for some time now, ‘paying attention’ rather equates to ‘keeping one on one’s toes’.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …does your goat have toes, lad?

    • post_x_it

      Am I alone in finding James Forsyth’s weekly ramblings rather dull? They seem to be pitched at a narrow audience of Westminster insiders.

    • Machina22

      Jeremy Clarke’s Low Life column is one of The Speccy’s few saving graces nowadays. Agreed on the rest though.

    • MaxSceptic

      Jeremy Clarke is brilliant. Toby and Matthew are replaceable (They write more or less the same stuff elsewhere). Kite and Gold should go to the Guardian full time.

    • Frank

      I would keep Jeremy Clarke, but agree that Toby Young, Matthew Parris, Taki and Boris Johnson should be sacked immediately. As for the guests columnists, Peter Mandelson, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey, Jonathan Aitkin, Diane Abbott and Ken Livingstone should all be banned for all eternity.
      Does anyone watch the podcasts?

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