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Slavery At The Guardian

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Slavery at The Guardian

Trouble looms for The Guardian, a PR problem that I can’t see how it avoids.

Two years ago the Scott Trust, which owns the paper, commissioned a report to look into any historical connections it had to the slave trade.

The paper had been calling others out for this and said it would “want to be open” about anything similar in its past.

Since founder Edward Taylor was a Manchester cotton merchant it seems highly likely that he at least did business with plantations that used slaves. As probably did other early financial backers of the paper.

I gather this report has taken longer than first thought, with the authors going into considerable detail. It will be out soon, this autumn perhaps.

The question will be how much the paper gives in restitution and to whom. Tricky one, no?

Last week Guardian Media Group revealed that the Scott Trust endowment fund is now worth £1.28 billion.

So whatever it pays — £10 million, £20 million, £30 million are the sorts of amounts I heard kicked around – someone is going to insist it pay more.

This issue only arises because The Guardian – in its usual Guardian way – is trying to do the right thing and inevitably running into hypocrisy issues.

When the story emerges, the bit that will stick is that the UK’s most famous liberal newspaper was partly funded by slavery.

On top of the work by the University of Nottingham, the paper has put some of its own staff on the case, to prepare stories to run alongside the report.

I am told they have done an extremely thorough job, turning up evidence that editor Kath Viner might rather not have to share with readers.

Typically, there is a sort of truce between newspapers when it comes to reporting on each other’s internal affairs.

I fear this one may be too delicious for the Daily Mail and the rest to resist.

Press release of the day

Five per cent of the world’s top CEOs are British says this from Lensa. It’s hard to say if this is us punching above or below our weight, however, the release doesn’t say.

America is the nation with most top CEOs, with China second. And 96% are male, so the lack of women at the top of business is not just a UK issue.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Does it look like easyJet will return to profit this year?

2) Are more job cuts looming at Reach?

3) Is Heathrow taking any responsibility for the travel strife or is it all someone else’s fault?

4) Will the Fed kill the stock market bounce?


Westminster sources

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