about time

Newspaper gets with times, hires woman to be its top editor for first time in 194 years

Katharine Viner, who’d been heading up The Guardian’s US operation, tapped to lead paper

Katharine Viner, the new editor-in-chief of The Guardian.
Photo courtesy of The Guardian

The Guardian announced on Friday that it’s promoting Katharine Viner to the top editorial post at the paper. Viner will be the first woman to hold the position of editor-in-chief in the Guardian’s nearly two-century history. She’ll replace Alan Rusbridger, who’s been running the show there for 20 years. Viner, who’s been with the paper since 1997, won a vote among staff to choose Rusbridger’s successor, but the final decision came down to Scott Trust, the paper’s owner, who gave her the nod.

Viner’s promotion is the latest in a recent flurry of old publications that have finally hired a woman to fill the editor-in-chief position.

In January, The San Francisco Chronicle named Audrey Cooper the first female editor-in-chief in the paper’s 150-year history. Shortly after taking over the job, Cooper expressed shock that it took so long for a woman to rise to editor-in-chief at the Chronicle, telling Media Matters, “I think 150 years is a really long time not to have a woman in this position.” She also praised her supervisors for giving her the opportunity. Cooper, 37, is said to be the youngest editor-in-chief of a top newspaper in America.

And a little more than a week later in January, The Economist selected Zanny Minton Beddoes as the first woman editor-in-chief in the magazine’s 171-year history. She was the only woman among the crop of 13 people who had applied for the job.

A spokesperson for The Guardian described Viner as “an inspiring and courageous leader,” the Associated Press reported. “She has embraced the huge changes in the industry with creativity and relish.”

If you’re keeping score, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Telegraph, and the Times of London have yet to hire a woman as editor-in-chief, according to Quartz. Should be interesting to see which paper is the next to follow suit.

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