James Roberts

James Roberts

James Roberts, foreign editor

James Roberts has covered foreign church news for The Tablet since the end of 2004, during the papacies of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. Received into the Catholic Church in 2005, he has followed and reported on its continuing controversies and occasional crises dispassionately, while engaging fully in the passionate discussions that take place in the Tablet newsroom. He also writes leaders and reviews books. He arrived in Hammersmith via Canary Wharf and Zimbabwe. Before joining the Tablet he spent 12 years on the Foreign News desks of the Independent and Independent on Sunday, where he became Foreign Editor after joining as a sub-editor. Apart from his regular editing role, he reported from Africa on numerous occasions, covering stories in Somalia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana and Zimbabwe. His time on the Independent followed eight years living and working in Zimbabwe, as a teacher and as a journalist. In Harare he had the invaluable experience of introducing Zimbabwean A level students to English Literature, an unforgettable journey of discovery for teacher and students alike. As a sub-editor on the national paper published in Harare, he observed how news can be methodically managed and presented to favour a given political agenda, and as a columnist on the same paper he learned how subtly to undermine that agenda. In 1988, he took his family to see St John Paul II at Harare’s Borrowdale racecourse, and the encounter brought him back to the Christian faith after a quarter of a century of agnosticism. In the years between graduating in 1971, and leaving for Africa just after Zimbabwean independence in 1981, he worked in a wallpaper factory in the north of England, and as a books editor. He studied Philosophy at the University of Sussex from 1968 to 1971, gained a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education from the London University Institute of Education in 1974 and, after studying part-time at the London University School of Oriental and African Studies, he was awarded an MA (Area Studies) in 1981. He was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, was baptised in the Church of England, and attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn. He is married, has three daughters and four grandchildren, and lives in West London. 

(Photo by Ruth Gledhill)





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