Roger Alton

Roger Alton (born 20 December 1947 in Oxford) is an English journalist. He was formerly editor of The Independent and The Observer, and executive editor of The Times.[1]

Roger Alton
Born (1947-12-20) 20 December 1947
Oxford, England
EmployerThe Independent, The Observer, The Times

Early life and education

He was educated at Clifton College and Exeter College, Oxford.[2][3]


He joined the Liverpool Post on graduation, moving to The Guardian five years later as a sub-editor.[4]

The Observer

He was the editor of the British national Sunday newspaper The Observer from 1998 to 2007. Under his editorship, The Observer's editorial view supported the invasion of Iraq, a stance that Alton, speaking to Stephen Sackur on the BBC's HARDtalk[5] (22 August 2008) has since admitted may have been incorrect.

He resigned on 24 October 2007 after "a bitter falling-out with senior figures at the title's sister paper, The Guardian", and left The Observer at the end of 2007.[6] Previously he was arts editor and G2 editor of The Guardian. He oversaw a rise in circulation during his editorship and introduced the award-winning Observer Sports, Food, and Music Monthlies.[7]

The Independent

In April 2008, Alton was confirmed as the new editor of The Independent, beginning work on 1 July 2008.[8] Joining at the start of the recession, The Independent's circulation and advertising revenues fell sharply.[9] He also wrote a fortnightly sport column in the Spectator.[10] Alton resigned from The Independent in April 2010 when the paper reverted to its former editor, Simon Kelner.[9]

The Times

On 24 May 2010, Alton was appointed executive editor of The Times, succeeding Alex O’Connell, who was appointed arts editor. Alton began at his new paper on 28 June 2010. Alton left The Times in 2015.[11]


In July 2011, Roger Alton gave an interview with Channel 4 News in which he lambasted members of the website Mumsnet for campaigning against the News of the World.[12] Some members of the website had campaigned against the newspaper after it was revealed that the News of the World employees had hacked mobile phone voicemail messages, including those of murdered teenager Milly Dowler and, allegedly, victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings. Alton turned his anger on members of the public who campaigned against these practices, labelling the Mumsnet members "fair trade tea"-drinking, "organic shortbread"-eating "yummy mummies." The interview quickly became a hit on YouTube.[13]


  1. Dowell, Ben (2008-09-21). "Interview with Roger Alton: 'I should be on a beach'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  2. Dowell, Ben (2008-09-21). "Interview with Roger Alton: 'I should be on a beach'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  3. "My Life In Media: Roger Alton". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  4. "My greatest mistake: Roger Alton, editor of 'The Observer". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  5. "Roger Alton, HARDtalk - BBC News Channel". BBC. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  6. "Power struggle claims 'Observer' editor". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  7. Preston, Peter (2015-06-07). "Roger Alton: there goes another outstanding editor". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  8. Stephen Brook "Alton aims to make Indy 'indispensable'", The Guardian, 10 April 2008. Retrieved on 11 April 2008.
  9. Robinson, James (9 April 2010). "Profile: Roger Alton, editor with elan". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  10. "Author: Roger Alton | Coffee House". Coffee House. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  11. Jasper Jackson and Jane Martinson "Times executive editor Roger Alton leaves paper", The Guardian, 2 June 2015.
  12. Muir, Hugh (2011-07-11). "Hugh Muir's diary". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  13. Muir, Hugh (2011-07-11). "Hugh Muir's diary". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
Media offices
Preceded by
Adrian Hamilton
Deputy Editor of The Observer
with Jocelyn Targett
Succeeded by
John Mulholland and Paul Webster
Preceded by
Will Hutton
Editor of The Observer
1998 - 2007
Succeeded by
John Mulholland
Preceded by
Simon Kelner
Editor of The Independent
Succeeded by
Simon Kelner
Preceded by
Alex O’Connell
Executive Editor of The Times
Succeeded by
Jeremy Griffin
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