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Amol Rajan becomes U.K.’s first non-white editor

Hasan Suroor
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Amol Rajan
Amol Rajan

A Kolkata-born journalist has written himself into Fleet Street history by becoming the first non-white editor of a British national newspaper, The Independent .

Amol Rajan, 30, has been appointed editor of the left-wing newspaper creating ripples in London’s all-white Oxbridge media elite.

“There are many senior figures in the British media who would take any sign of failure by Rajan to confirm their latent beliefs that non-whites simply aren't up to the job,’’ wrote The Guardian ’s Africa-origin journalist Joseph Harker while wishing him well.

Minutes after his appointment became official, Mr. Rajan tweeted: “Really don’t care how trite this sounds: best thing about my new job is leading the most fantastic team of journalists in Fleet St.”

The news of his elevation also came via a tweet from paper’s Russian owner, Evgeny Levede, though he followed it up with an official statement praising Mr. Rajan for his “energy and creativity.”

“Our businesses are at a critical stage and a bold approach is needed for our industry,’’ Mr. Lebedev said.

Mr. Rajan moved to Britain at the age of three and grew up in London where he attended a comprehensive secondary school. He went on to read English at Cambridge University and edited the prestigious student magazine Varsity. Before joining The Independent as a reporter, he worked briefly for the London Evening Standard and Channel 5.

Described as a “progressive,” “well-liked’’ and “energetic’’ figure, Mr. Rajan rose rapidly through the ranks to become Mr. Lebedev’s media adviser before bagging the top job this week.

Like all good Indians, Mr. Rajan is a keen cricket fan and has even written a well-regarded book, Twirlymen: Unlikely History of Cricket’s Greatest Spin Bowlers .


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