Friday, February 13, 2009

Ben Brogan Rejoins the Telegraph

I'm tempted to use a phrase which Boris used yesterday. As I read this press release my jaw dropped...

Telegraph Media Group announces the appointment of Benedict Brogan as Assistant Editor and Chief Political Commentator for The Daily Telegraph. Benedict will be writing a weekly column as well as blogging on the workings of Westminster. Benedict joins from the Daily Mail where he has been Political Editor since May 2005. Prior to this he worked at The Daily Telegraph from 2000 – 2004. William Lewis, Editor, The Daily Telegraph, said: “I am delighted Benedict is joining the Telegraph. I am a big fan of his blog, which is a must read.”

Benedict Brogan, said: "It has been a privilege to work for Paul Dacre and his remarkable team at the Daily Mail. I am grateful to William Lewis for this exciting new challenge and look forward enormously to returning to The Daily Telegraph as a columnist."


Wow. Well, that will certainly put the cat among the proverbials. This is a real coup for the Telegraph and a big blow to the Mail. Brogan has proved himself to be one of the best political reporters in the business but in the last year or two he has also developed into a fine commentator. I'd say his blog played a big part in him getting this gig and it's a sign that the Telegraph wants to up its game in the blogosphere. Brogan is by no means a cheerleader for Cameron but he will certainly balance up the Telegraph's commentary team, which is dominated by Cameron-sceptics - especially since my column ended (!).

Brogan's departure leaves a big hole in the Mail's political team. James Chapman may well step up to be political editor, but Dacre may well feel he needs to appoint a journalist from a rival paper to the role. Off the top of my head, I'd say that Jonathan Oliver, Sam Coates and Francis Elliott would be three of the main runners and riders. In addition, Dacre is known to rate the Mail's Home Affairs editor, James Slack, who was once on the politics team there. Joe Murphy at the Standard would be a heavyweight appointment. The Sun's George Pascoe-Watson is another name being bandied about, but I can't really see him wanting to move.

One other name who might be worth an outside bet is that of the Standard's Paul Waugh. he's a consistent story getter and writes an excellent blog. If the Mail want to continue their political web presence, someone like Waugh would certainly achieve that. His Tory contacts are legendary, too.

UPDATE: Further consultations suggest that James Chapman and Joe Murphy are the two favourites among lobby journalists.

UPDATE: I feel like I am now tipping the whole lobby, but two other possibilities are Jane Merrick, who was at the Mail for some time before she left for the calmer waters of the Indy on Sunday as Pol Ed. Also, I should not have forgotten Tim Shipman, who was also at the Mail before he became the Sunday Telegraph's Washington Correspondent. Now that the Presidential election is over, he may fancy a return to Blighty. He was very well thought of by Paul Dacre, and the thought of getting one over on the Telegraph might be too much for Dacre to resist.

12 comments:

Nigel Barlow said...

wow.

Not expecting that and as you say will put the feline amongst the pigeons

trevorsden said...

Please can this mean that the bumptious Heffer goes in the opposite direction where he and Dacre can openly plot for a return of a Brown led labour government in 2010.

It might mean I can look at the Telegraph with a clear conscience again.

In case there is any doubt about my views - piss off Heffer - and take that effing chip on your shoulder with you.

curly15 said...

Bit of a surprise, but I doubt that Heffer, Randall or Martin or anyone else at the Telegraph are about to change views, or move on.

Alex said...

Good. He was wasted at the Mail.

Lawrence said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Doug said...

I've never rated Brogan. I've always felt that he was too much in the pocket of New Labour because of Dacre's love affair with Brown.

Obviously he's more moderate than Heffer but at least Heffer is truly independent and contemptuous of everyone. Brogan is a weather vane, as Benn would say, depending on which way his Editor's wishes blow.

Jonny said...

The Mail can have Mary Riddell in return.

Please.

strapworld said...

Paul Dacre will only want someone who will write nice things about his best buddy, Brown!

Perhaps that is the reason for the move!

Arf said...

Good. He's well worth reading, but having to go to the Mail website made me feel dirty.

Magic2010 said...

To be honest, lately I've given up on the moderates. New Labour keep on sinking in my estimation, which is no mean feat, and are now quite appalling.
They need to be brought to task a hell of a lot more. Hence Brogan has gone from my browser favourites.

Sixxstring90 said...

Why are people criticising Simon Heffer. He is a very independent journalist, and despite the aggressive tone of his articles, he has a wonderful way with the English language, and he is incredibly persuasive. You know where you stand with Heffer, and you know he will never compromise his views for anyone. The editorial line of the newspaper is broadly in favour of the Conservative Party, whereas Heffer is completely independent from the Tories, and has expressed support for UKIP. He is his own man, and he is the journalist whose views practically mirror mine, with a few minor exceptions

Grim Reaper said...

Perhaps we can get Derek Draper to write a column for the Mail where he spends endless amounts of time chasing down bloggers who've been around for far longer than he ever will be.

It won't be very productive, but at least it will be funny to watch him make a prat of himself each week. Mail readers could do with more laughter in their lives.