Alan Rusbridger Keynote Speaker
- Editor, Prospect Magazine (2021-) - Member of Facebook's Oversight Board (2017-)
- Author of 'News and How to Use It: What to Believe in a Fake News World' and "Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now"
- Editor-in-Chief , The Guardian (1995-2015)
Alan Rusbridger's Biography
Alan Rusbridger is a prime mover in the fast-changing digital revolution from both the news and news management perspectives. He is the Editor of Prospect Magazine, Chair of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and a member of the Facebook Oversight Board. From 2015-2021, he was the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University where he established a groundbreaking Foundation Year for students from under-represented backgrounds, a version of which is soon to be rolled out across both Cambridge and Oxford Universities.
As the Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian for two decades, Alan oversaw seminal investigative reporting into the era’s most important government and private sector surveillance leaks and hacks as well as facilitated the newspaper’s dramatic growth from a modest UK daily to a key international player in online media with offices in the US and Australia. Beyond the computer screen, Rusbridger followed his personal passions to make meaningful contributions to the cause of environmental activism, and modeled for broad audiences the value and benefits of making time for creative expression.
Alan’s latest book is News: And How to Use it, published in November 2020. His other recent book is on how technology transformed journalism, Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now (2018)
The Guardian,owned by the Scott Trust, works under a unique proprietorship structure; it ensures that the paper serves the public with independence from corporate and government interests. As its standard-bearer, Rusbridger seized such journalistic lightning rods as WikiLeaks; Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World phone-hacking scandal; and Edward Snowden’s NSA surveillance revelations, which garnered a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service (and landed Rusbridger a cameo in the Oliver Stone film). During this time, The Guardian was awarded the prestigious ‘Newspaper of the Year’ five times and Alan was voted as ‘Editor of the Year’ on three occasions.
In the midst of constantly breaking news, during his 20 years at the helm, Rusbridger transformed The Guardian from black-and-white print read predominantly by U.K. citizens to a multimedia, online, round-the-clock powerhouse that attracted more than 8 million unique visitors a day. Under his direction, the paper eschewed the paywall, actively engaged its readership in open conversation — and, in 2015, overtook the New York Times as the world’s predominant English language source for hard news and considered opinion. Digitally generated revenues for The Guardian amounted to USD100m in 2015 this is an extraordinary achievement and it is a credit to his vision and leadership in the past few years.
Perhaps as difficult as putting out a provocative, exponentially expanding world-class newspaper is managing your own time while doing so. So it is remarkable that during one of his most professionally trying times, the amateur pianist Rusbridger re-committed himself to music and to learning Chopin’s incredibly challenging Ballade No. 1. The story of his disciplined, year-long effort is not only a celebration of the enriching qualities of music but an inspiration to those who struggle to carve time for creative expression during days dictated by distractions and deadlines. He published an account of this period — which also included directing the phone-hacking and Wikileaks investigations — in a book called Play it Again. Alan is also the author of three books for children.
In his last few months, as editor-in-chief, Rusbridger self-imposed another deadline to actively address what he felt was a critical global concern —climate change. By launching a groundbreaking informational campaign endorsed by the UN General Secretary, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Prince Charles, and several Nobel prize winners, he engaged more than 400 institutions and 2000 individuals to commit .6 billion to more environmentally responsible investing.
Rusbridger has spoken extensively on digital security and citizens rights; on participatory — “open” — journalism and its ramifications; on climate change and effective engagement of stakeholders; and on the value of music and a personal, creative practice. He’s been invited to address many organisations including the Vatican, the European Union, the Oxford Union, judges, media corporations and intelligence agencies, among many others.
Born in Zambia and educated at Cambridge, Rusbridger cut his teeth as a general reporter, then did time as a feature writer, a TV critic and Washington correspondent before he was charged with launching the Guardian “Weekend Magazine.” Not long afterwards, he took over the paper’s top position.
In addition to leading The Guardian to an Emmy and a Pulitzer Prize, he has been the recipient of the Liberty Human Rights Award, the European Press Prize, the Ortega y Gasset Journalism Award and was the first non-American citizen to win Harvard University’s Goldsmith Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has served as chair of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the Photographers’ Gallery in London and has written drama for BBC One. His academic awards include recognition by universities such as Harvard, CUNY, Oslo, Lincoln, Coventry, Kingston and the Open University. In 2014 he was a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award in Stockholm – the so-called “alternative Nobel Prize.
He is visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, and is Visiting Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London.
Speaking Topics include:
* Trust in media and society – how to lose it, how to win it back
* Digital transformation: leading change in the middle of a revolution
* News and fake news: why good societies need access to reliable news
* News as public service: the economic model of news has (probably) changed forever
* Social media: Good or evil? How to tame the beast while preserving the best
* Staying sane at the top. I did it playing the piano. How do you do it ?
* Inclusion and diversity: watchwords or reality? How one Oxford college broke the mould by launching a pioneering scheme to include under-represented minorities.