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Tributes to top journalist

Ex-Guardian editor Preston dies aged 79

Guardian first Berliner issue
Preston introduced the Berliner format

Peter Preston, editor of The Guardian from 1975 to 1995, has died aged 79. He had been suffering from melanoma.

He joined the paper in 1963 and was responsible for ushering in some of the big changes to its format.

Mr Preston introduced innovative design and fought a successful campaign to fend off competition from The Independent which launched in 1986.

He is also credited with launching a daily features supplement and G2 became a template for other papers to copy.

After stepping down from the editor’s chair he continued to write for the paper, notably on media and broadcasting. His final column appeared on New Year’s Eve.

Katharine Viner, the editor-in-chief of The Guardian and The Observer, described Mr Preston as a “brilliant editor”, adding: “His tenure was full of innovation, from launching the groundbreaking and much-imitated G2 to instigating the fabulous Hillman redesign to publishing on the web unusually early, in 1994.

“Since I became editor-in-chief of the Guardian and the Observer in 2015, Peter has been a kind and unobtrusively supportive friend, providing advice and insights and the kind of ballast that could only come from someone who’d been there and done it.

“His last email to me was to praise the Guardian’s membership figures and ended with the comment ‘hope you’re in good heart’. He will be missed by everyone at the Guardian.”

John Mulholland, editor of The Observer, said Mr Preston had been a “loyal friend” to the newspaper as well as its media columnist for more than 20 years.

“He was a frequent visitor to our offices and invariably offered wise counsel, often laced with a mischievous sense of humour,” he said.

“He was a delight to spend time with. We greatly valued his writing, his enormous warmth, and his unmatched journalistic judgement.”

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