Former Independent editor Roger Alton joins The Times

Roger Alton, who stepped down as editor of the Independent last month, has been named as an executive editor of The Times the day it unveils its new website.

The news broke late last night when the paper’s other executive editor Daniel Finkelstein, who is responsible for digital content, broke the news via a tweet.

Alton replaces Alex O’Connell as The Times embarks on a four week period when its new website will be free to access before its paywall arrives. The new site has been unveiled today — although its old Times Online site is also still up and running

The former Observer editor, Alton, was replaced at the Independent by Simon Kelner on April 9 following the takeover of the paper by the paper’s new Russian owner Alexander Lebedev who acquired the Independent and the Independent on Sunday for a nominal £1 in March.

Alton will be reunited with former Observer and Guardian columnist David Aaronovitch. Both Alton and Aaronovitch backed the war in Iraq as did The Observer against its sister title The Guardian, which did not support the war. He left the Observer in 2007 and was replaced by John Mullholland.

Alton is a great liberal journalist and it will be interesting to see his impact at his new Wapping home. He joins The Times following its shift from backing Labour to backing the Conservatives. Rupert Murdoch’s UK paper’s all changed their political spots during the election like some military manoeuvre organised one guesses by phone from the US like most large scale military movements that take place in the world are.


  • Stephen Newton

    I don’t understand why Roger Alton is held in such esteem. When he was at the Observer, he had a tendency to put Daily Mail style headlines on the front page (most notoriously on MMR, a story the paper was forced to remove from its website) which left the paper without direction. I was delighted when he left and I’m sure he’ll be very happy pushing Murdoch’s line.

  • Gordon Macmillan

    I understand what you mean about the MMR story, but i think elsewhere he edited a great paper.

    His stance on Iraq was a brave one to take on the liberal left, but it opened a debate that was advanced by great writers like Nick Cohen among others.