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10 September 2010

Standard’s Paul Waugh quits for

Is it a sign of the times?

By James Macintyre

Health warning: this is a Westminster village story!

The website Politics Home has now confirmed that Paul Waugh, the highly respected deputy political editor of the Evening Standard, is to join the website as editor.

Though Waugh regularly writes for the capital’s paper, he is perhaps better known for his razor-sharp ‘Tweets’ and well-informed blog, which has just come second in a poll of list of best journalists’ blogs by the influential Total Politics.

The news has come as quite a shock to the system here in the House of Commons press gallery, where Waugh can be seen pacing round on his burning mobile phone. Here, though, is what he had to say about the move:

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I’ve long been a fan of PoliticsHome and it has become indispensable reading both inside and outside Westminster. Just as YouGov revolutionised political polling, I believe PoliticsHome can do the same for political reporting and wire services. I’m looking forward to helping the site expand its reach even further among politicians, businesses and the wider public.

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Online reporting and blogging are transforming the way readers learn about the very latest in Government and Parliament. I’m delighted to have the chance to bring my newspaper experience and contacts to such a groundbreaking website at a time when British politics is the most interesting it has been for years.

Perhaps, then, Waugh’s move can be seen as a sign of the times. However, I still maintain that if newspapers were invented after the internet they would be a storming hit (no logging on, news all ordered and portable, division between stories and comment). Nontheless, in medialand this will be seen as a considerable gain from the internet over the press.

When Waugh worked for the Independent, he controversially revealed that a Downing Street spin doctor had called the late weapons scientist Dr. David Kelly a “Walter Mitty figure”.

UPDATE: Iain Dale has just produced a list of top “non-aligned” blogs. Waugh has come top.

UPDATE 11/9/10: I’ve spoken to Waugh, who said “I love the Standard and I love newspapers but this was a great opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up. PoliticsHome and my blogging and story-gettting are a totally natural fit.”