Kim Fletcher

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Kim Fletcher is a "former editor of the Independent on Sunday and editorial director of the Telegraph… [he] writes on the media for the Guardian and is author of The Journalist's Handbook (Macmillan)".[1] He is an adviser to Editorial Intelligence and a member of the British Journalism Review editorial board. In 2007 he joined The Brunswick Group as director.[2]


  • 2007 Guardian columnist.
  • has contributed during his career on Fleet Street to most national newspapers.
  • Circa 2005/6 Market Evolution[3]
  • October 2003 editorial director Daily Telegraph
  • March 2000-September 2003 consultant editor of The Daily Telegraph and editorial director of Hollinger Telegraph New Media.
  • 1998 appointed to edit The Independent on Sunday.
  • 1988–1998 joined The Sunday Telegraph as a reporter in 1988, becoming news editor and then deputy editor
  • 1986-7 news reporter for The Daily Telegraph from 1986 to 1987
  • 1981 joined The Sunday Times as a news reporter, later becoming labour correspondent and home affairs correspondent.
  • 1978 Fletcher began his career at The Star, Sheffield.
  • 1978 graduated from Oxford University with a degree in law.[4]

Something lovely

Fletcher is married to Sarah Sands, at one point the editor of The Sunday Telegraph (after being deputy editor for 10 years). She relaunched the Sunday Telegraph as "something lovely"[5] aimed more directly at women. But as David Rowan commented in the Evening Standard,

"circulation is playing a distinctly depressing tune. Last month, after a launch buoyed by marketing and a free DVD, sales fell back by more than 10 per cent to 642,000 copies, of which just 249,000 were bought domestically at full price."[6]

Rowan quotes Sands as saying,

"What I have now is a very attractive package for advertisers."

Fletcher blames the crisis on the "dwindling circulation of Sunday papers on the plethora of extra sections now appearing in their Saturday rivals." "Fletcher, as he admitted in his piece for the MediaGuardian," reported the Press Gazette, "is married to Sunday Telegraph editor Sarah Sands, who has recently presided over a slump in sales. Must be nice to have the old man doing the PR for you."[7]

Hatchet man

The departure of Sands and Fletcher from the Telegraph came after they were beneficiaries of "hatchet man"[8] Murdoch MacLennan's work on behalf of the Barclay brothers.

"The Scots-born former Associated Newspapers hatchet man started with the Telegraph board, replacing all but two members in six months. Then 90 daily and Sunday editorial staff were made redundant in this year's infamous spring cull to pay for extra pages and state of-the-art colour presses."[9]

The Management

Fletcher was reportedly quite close to management at the Telegraph. In February 2003 it was reported that:

"Rumours of redundancies in the paper's production department had led Father of the Chapel John Carey to seek a meeting with Fletcher, who until this week had led management negotiations with the NUJ. Carey said he was told by Fletcher that editorial redundancies were a possibility "at some stage" but there was no plan in place and the NUJ chapel would be informed before any plan was put out more widely. Two days later chief executive Murdoch MacLennan sent letters to the homes of staff informing them of the proposal to cut about 90 editorial jobs. Carey said: 'It is beyond our belief that that plan was not in place two days before.'"[10]

MacLennan and Fletcher became a double act, arguing that "the cuts were necessary to help finance a £150m investment". Cuts mean investment. Fletcher used the time-honoured method of "categorically den[ying] impending cuts days before the news was announced." [11]

The Telegraph's revelations about the lives of public figures have met with mixed success. They brought down David Blunkett but did not succeed with George Galloway who won a significant libel action against the paper for printing falsehoods about the anti-Iraq war MP's alleged links with Saddam Hussein.[12] When interviewed as editorial director of the Telegraph group Fletcher confessed: “I don't think journalists have got much dignity. Insofar as they've got any, it's slightly below dignity, I guess.”[13]

Creating the news

According to Fletcher, it is now a journalist's job to ‘create’ the news:

"Well, I think it is a journalist's job now, because newspapers are having to look for all sorts of ways in which they can sell newspapers, and it's not enough anymore, certainly in this country, in Britain, [for] the newspapers just to report the news."

We work with you

Fletcher was forced to leave his job as editorial director of Telegraph Group following his wife’s appointment because it was seen as a possible conflict of interest. He then turned up at Market Evolution which works with the Telegraph and just two other clients. Its website tells us:

1. We dig out the key consumer data
2. We build target-specific consumer insight and commercial value
3. We give on-going measurement, analysis and refinement
4. We work with you[14]

The website also says, "To ensure we deliver real and demonstrable value to our clients Market Evolution works closely with some of the best and most experienced brains in international media."[15] That is the magic of a consultancy — just because Fletcher is working with the Telegraph doesn’t mean he is working for the Telegraph.


Fletcher is Chairman of the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). He said: "I hope that I can play my part in developing its vital role in promoting the highest standards of journalism among new generations coming into the industry."[16]

The "highest standards" of journalism are not, however, universally recognised to be associated with those in the NCTJ "hall of fame", which boasted a list of "Just some of the celebrities who undertook NCTJ training":

Kate Adie, Michael Buerk, Jeremy Clarkson, the late Jill Dando, Anne Diamond, Frederick Forsyth, Roy Greenslade, Anthony Holden, David Icke, Sue Lawley, Richard Littlejohn, Piers Marchant, Kelvin McKenzie, David Montgomery, Andrew Morton, John Motson, John Piennar...[17]

Kosovo War

Fletcher has one notable distinction:

“Only one paper opposed the war on principle: The Independent on Sunday. In the aftermath of Kosovo, its editor has just been fired. He is an accomplished journalist and honorable man named Kim Fletcher. His successor is, suitably, the former presenter of downmarket television talk shows." [18] He was replaced by Janet Street Porter.[19]

Sarah Sands has reviewed Julia Hobsbawm's book, Where the Truth Lies: Trust and morality in PR and journalism, and found journalists to be quasi-honest if somewhat trusting victims, easily seduced but quick to make amends. She does not mention in the review that her husband is an advisor to Editorial Intelligence:

"Julia Hobsbawm is, by instinct and professional self-interest, a peacemaker. She sits comfortably in a world of forums and summits and international conferences. Recently, she set up an organisation called Editorial Intelligence, which promised to bring together the best minds in journalism and PR. It was a grown-up but false proposition, and naturally it ended in a great big punch-up. Cristina Odone, writing in the ‘’’Guardian’’’, accused the journalists who signed up to Editorial Intelligence of being appeasers. How could the two tribes ever be friends when they were founded on opposing principles? Journalists uncovered the truth and PRs repressed it. There was a hurried series of resignations. Some journalists claimed that the commercial nature of the venture - disguised lobbying - had not been made clear. Is Editorial Intelligence a microcosm of the doomed relationship between PR and journalism?" [20]


  1. Comment is Free Kim Fletcher, accessed 10 October 2007
  2. Kim Fletcher Brunswick group staff profile Accessed 9/9/14
  3. Source needed and date checked
  4. Kim Fletcher
  5. David Rowan, "Interview: Sarah Sands, Sunday Telegraph", Evening Standard, 18 January 2006
  6. David Rowan, Interview: Sarah Sands, Sunday Telegraph, Evening Standard, 18 January 2006
  7. [1]
  8. Stephen Vass, "Hard man Lawson's exit clears way for Sands's softer side", Sunday Herald, 19 June 2005, accessed October 2008
  9. Stephen Vass, "Hard man Lawson's exit clears way for Sands's softer side", Sunday Herald, 19 June 2005, accessed October 2008
  10. [2]
  11. Telegraph could lose up to 300 of its staff Date?
  12. Ref needed
  13. Transcript, accessed 12 September 2008
  14. Market Evolution Our Approach, accessed 10 October 2007
  15. Market Evolution About Us, accessed 10 October 2007
  16. "Influential journalists take key training posts",, 21 June 2004, accessed October 2008
  17. NCTJ Hall of Fame
  18. [3]
  19. [4]
  20. Sarah Sands The special relationship Where the Truth Lies: trust and morality in PR and journalism Edited by Julia Hobsbawm Atlantic Books, 224pp, £12.99 ISBN 1843541351, ‘’’New Statesman’’’, Published 15 May 2006