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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April, 2003, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
The man gunning for Galloway
Charles Moore
Charles Moore has backed his man

The George Galloway scoop came at just the right time for Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, who faced growing speculation about his future.

With average sales of 926,000 last month, the Telegraph was down 7.6% on March 2002 and rumours began to circulate in Fleet Street that the paper's Canadian proprietor Conrad Black might consider a change at the top.

Now he has put his career on the line by backing the judgement of reporter David Blair, who returned from Baghdad with what appeared to be a major scoop.

In an editorial on Tuesday Mr Moore wrote: "We stand fully behind our story.

"David Blair has proved himself, in a number of dangerous situations around the world, to be an honourable and courageous journalist and we have absolute confidence in his integrity."

Mr Moore has been ensconced in his 12th floor office at Canary Wharf for eight years now.

Slipping below the crucial one million sales barrier was a blow for Mr Moore and all of his team, who were widely perceived as having done a great job of repackaging the Telegraph.

Charles Moore personifies what the Telegraph stands for - right wing, pro-military and pro-countryside - and has done a very good job of standing up for those causes.
Torin Douglas
BBC media correspondent

The paper was known as recently as the mid-1980s as a fusty old broadsheet much beloved of retired colonels in the shires but rapidly becoming outdated and obsolete.

Mr Moore's predecessor, Max Hastings, began to ring the changes during his tenure.

He beefed up the paper's sports coverage, brightened up its use of photographs and columnists and ditched some of the more antiquated features.

Mr Moore continued the gradual culture change and introduced a growing element of showbiz and celebrity to draw in female readers.

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas said: "Charles Moore personifies what the Telegraph stands for - right wing, pro-military and pro-countryside - and has done a very good job of standing up for those causes.

"But at the same time he has tried to modernise the paper and get away from some of the traditional values."

Mr Douglas said Mr Moore's deputy, Sarah Sands, was a key appointment and had been given the task of making the paper more attractive to younger readers and women.

Price war

In the late 1990s the Telegraph, and its parent company Hollinger, were drawn into a damaging price war with Rupert Murdoch's Times.

When the ceasefire was declared the Telegraph was still head and shoulders above the Times in terms of sales but the price war, and the advertising downturn which followed it, bit deeply into Hollinger's profits.

Charles Hilary Moore was born in 1956 and educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read history.

Charles Moore's career
1979: Joins Daily Telegraph
1984-90: Editor of The Spectator
1990-92: Deputy editor of Daily Telegraph
1992-95: Editor of Sunday Telegraph
1995-present: Editor of Daily Telegraph

He joined the Telegraph in 1979 - the same year Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister - and two years later married Caroline Baxter.

He rose quickly through the Telegraph, or the Torygraph as it was known by left-wing opponents during the Thatcher years.

Onwards and upwards

Mr Moore was a leader writer and then an assistant editor and political columnist.

In 1983 he began working for the right-wing magazine The Spectator and the following year became its editor, a post he retained until 1990.

In 1987 he became a weekly columnist for the Daily Express but he gave that up when he became deputy editor of the Telegraph in 1990.

Two years later he was promoted again, to editor of the Sunday Telegraph, a position he held until 1995 when he finally got the top job.

Set-piece interviews

Since then he has had to contend with the Tories being thrown out of office in 1997, the introduction of devolution - which was anathema to Telegraph loyalists - September 11 and then the second Iraq war.

He has remained loyal to the Tories and has been at the forefront of criticism of New Labour during the Peter Mandelson affair and the Cherie Blair "scandal".

But Mr Moore's Telegraph has supported Mr Blair on the Iraq war with Mr Moore himself claiming earlier this year that his own sources confirmed that Saddam Hussein did indeed have weapons of mass destruction.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams
The Archbishop of Canterbury gave Mr Moore an interview in February

Editing the Daily Telegraph is obviously a full-time job but Mr Moore likes to keep his hand in with writing and is not averse to conducting the occasional set-piece interview.

In February the paper devoted a full page to an interview he did with the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

A devout Christian, Mr Moore is trustee of the Prayer Book Society, and has written a book, The Church in Crisis, and edited another, A Tory Seer, which was a collection of writings by one of his journalistic heroes, T E Utley.




SEE ALSO:
Galloway faces new Iraq claims
23 Apr 03  |  Politics


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