James Harding, the editor of Rupert Murdoch’s well-respected British newspaper The Times for the last five years, has resigned.Harding told staff that he offered his resignation after he became aware News Corp would like a new editor for the British newspaper. In effect it appears Harding was ousted.
These numbers cited by British blog Guido Fawkes may be a good indication of why — circulation is down from 670,054 when he started to 397,549 when he finished. The paper managed to lose 40% of its circulation during Harding’s editorship, compared with the Financial Times losing 28% and the Telegraph 36%.
Despite this, Harding was a popular editor. According to multiple reports on Twitter, Harding — the paper’s youngest ever editor — told the newsroom this afternoon and received a standing ovation. It is believed he will stay at New Corp, possibly at book publishing division HarperCollins, though there had been speculation (before his resignation was announced) that he would head to the Wall Street Journal.
Harding had a long career as a journalist, working with the Times (and earlier the Financial Times), working in Shanghai and Washington DC. John Witherow, editor of the Times’ Sunday paper, the Sunday Times, will take the Times.
The Times of London is one of the UK’s most prominent broadsheet newspapers, first published in 1785 and was once considered it’s paper of record. Murdoch bought the newspaper in 1981 and implemented a controversial paywall in 2010.