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Katharine Viner is new Guardian editor

The Guardian, which is well-respected for its news output, is different from many of the world’s newspapers. For starters, it is not owned by a proprietor or share holders. The newspaper is overseen by a trust — The Scott Trust — which is constituted to safeguard the title’s editorial future and independence.

The Scott Trust was set-up in 1936 by John Scott, the owner of two titles: Manchester Guardian (a daily paper) and the Manchester Evening News. The Trust helped launched The Guardian as a truly national (and later international) title. The Trust’s remit states that it must “continue the paper’s editorial policy on “the same lines and in the same spirit as heretofore.”

A second difference is that The Guardian’s remit is to safeguard liberal values. In the U.K., the majority of newspapers are right-of-center or out-and-out right-wing; in contrast, The Guardian generally adopts a left-of-center standpoint. This leads to greater coverage of social movements and environmental issues. Opinion polls suggest that the paper’s readership is generally on the mainstream left of British political opinion.

The Guardian, unlike many other newspapers, has a tradition of appointing editors with a long-tenure. The current incumbent, Alan Rusbridger, was appointed in 1995. The Guardian was founded as a national newspaper in 1821 although as its former title — The Manchester Guardian suggests — it was not truly national until later years. The name “The Guardian” was adopted in 1959.

The paper is now to have a new editor, according to the BBC. This is Katharine Viner, the first woman to occupy the position. Viner joined The Guardian in 1997 and is currently in charge of the broadsheet’s New York-based U.S. website. With a nod to the longevity of the editors,Viner will be only the 11th Guardian editor in 194 years.

Katherine Viner was educated at Ripon Grammar School and the University of Oxford. Her first job was with Cosmopolitan magazine; she then moved to the Sunday Times before joining The Guardian. Viner’s other claim to fame is Viner for co-writing the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie. The play is about the life of Rachel Corrie, a U.S. activist, killed by the Israel Defense Forces, in Rafah, Gaza in 2003.

Commenting on her appointment on The Guardian website, Viner states: “Being editor-in-chief of the Guardian and Observer is an enormous privilege and responsibility, leading a first class team of journalists revered around the world for outstanding reporting, independent thinking, incisive analysis and digital innovation.”

The Guardian stable includes The Guardian newspaper, which is published Monday to Saturday and The Observer, which is a Sunday title. There is also The Guardian website, which is one of the most popular news outlets in the world and second in the U.K. to the BBC.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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