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Alan Rusbridger to Chair Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

25 Apr 2016

Alan Rusbridger, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall and former Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian, has been appointed Chair of the Institute Steering Committee at The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford (RISJ).Rusbridger succeeds Tim Gardam, Principal of St Anne’s College, who chaired the Institute Steering Committee during its first decade, building on the strength of the renowned Reuters Journalist Fellowship Programme to transform the organisation into the world’s leading research centre on the media industry. Gardam will formally step down in September, when he leaves Oxford to become Chief Executive of the Nuffield Foundation.

As former Editor-in-Chief at the Guardian, Rusbridger brings the Reuters Institute a wealth of experience. Under his two-decade long leadership, the publication underwent a digital transformation to become one of the world’s most read English-language newspapers. During Rusbridger’s tenure, the Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Snowden revelations, which went on dominating the news agenda globally in 2013. Rusbridger left the Guardian in 2015 to become Principal of Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford University.  “Under the guidance of Tim Gardam, the Reuters Institute has undoubtedly become one of the most successful public policy research centres at the University of Oxford, and one of the most authoritative voices in the study of journalism and its fast changing trends”, says Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the RISJ ‘s core funder. “We are all very proud of what Tim has accomplished, and I am sure that Alan’s expertise will allow the Institute to continue to build an even bigger profile, helping to shape many of the key questions dominating the media industry”.

"The Reuters Institute has, in a relatively short time, established a considerable global reputation for research into all aspects of journalism”, says Alan Rusbridger. "In the face of a digital revolution that offers huge opportunities and challenges, it is essential that there is a space for calm reflection, research, discussion and collaboration. I am honoured to follow Tim Gardam in this role and very much look forward to working with the team." The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism was founded in 2006 with the mission to create a research centre building on the strengths of the Reuters Journalist Fellowship programme. 

In the past 33 years, the Fellowship has brought to Oxford more than 573 journalists from 93 countries to conduct world-class research on the key trends shaping the global media industry.  Since its inception, the RISJ has increased its funding fourfold, produced over 100 publications, and created the annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report. First launched in 2012, the publication is the ultimate analysis of news consumption online surveying more than 50,000 people across 26 countries. “The Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford is enormously grateful to Tim Gardam for all he has done for the RISJ over the past ten years, both in helping to launch the Institute and then helping it grow to become the largest Research Centre within the Department”, says Dr Elizabeth Frazer, Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations. “We are very pleased that Alan Rusbridger will become the new Chair and look forward to working with him and the Institute Director and staff to build on this impressive record of success”. “The Institute has accomplished a huge amount in the past ten years”, says Tim Gardam, Outgoing Chair of the RISJ Steering committee, “through its research and tremendous convening power it has helped shape many of the key questions that dominate journalism, from business models, to digital developments, to relations with governments and society. I’m delighted that Alan has agreed to help steer it into the next phase of development.”

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Notes for editors: The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) is based in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. The Thomson Reuters Foundation is its core funder. The Institute was launched in November 2006 and developed from the Reuters Fellowship Programme, established at Oxford 33 years ago. An international research centre in the comparative study of journalism, the Institute aims to be global in its perspective and provides a leading forum for scholars from a wide range of disciplines to engage with journalists from around the world. The RISJ Steering Committee has general oversight of the Institute, its programme of activities and its strategic intentions. The Thomson Reuters Foundation acts to promote socio-economic progress and the rule of law worldwide. The organisation runs initiatives that inform, connect and ultimately empower people around the world: access to free legal assistance, media development and training, editorial coverage of the world’s under-reported stories, and the Trust Women conference.

Photo credit: Ben Robinson