Kamal Ahmed, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of The News Movement has been elected as the new President of the Society of Editors.
Ahmed, the former Editorial Director and Economics Editor of BBC News, was unanimously elected at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 7 December and takes over from Martin Breen, Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Northern Ireland’s Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life who was held the role since November 2021. Alison Phillips, Editor of the Daily Mirror was also unanimously elected as Vice-President of the Society.
Accepting the role, Ahmed said: “I am very honoured to be asked to be the President of the Society of Editors. The Society has a vital role in upholding the value of great journalism, freedom of expression, promoting diversity and supporting the brilliant and vital media industry we enjoy and are so fortunate to have in the UK.
“As a mixed-black person, I am also aware that, throughout my career, I have often been the “first person of colour” to have been afforded senior roles in the industry. That is not because I was better than anyone who went before, but because the media is changing – and I have been fortunate enough to have mentors and supporters who were willing to take a chance on a kid with big hair from a bog-ordinary background in west London.
“We know we have a lot more to do. But the destination is clear and the Society itself has had its own difficult moments. From that we have learned, and with Alison Phillips, Ian MacGregor, Dawn Alford, the highly skilled board and the SoE team, we will constantly support a more diverse, more engaging, more successful media industry.”
Accepting the role of Vice-President of the Society, Alison Phillips said: “There has not been a time in our recent history where threats to the press and wider media have been quite so concerning. We have a huge job on our hands to keep fighting for a free press which ensures we can live in a decently run democracy. In addition, there is a growing need for us to explain the importance of a free press to the wider public, some of whom take too much for granted. And while our industry has taken steps to do better around diversity there is still a huge amount of work to be done. This is something that will be at the forefront of our minds in the coming year.”
The Annual General Meeting also saw Will Hagerty, Associate Editor at The Sun, Lucy Rock, Deputy Editor at The Observer and Joseph Harker, Senior Editor (Diversity and Development) at The Guardian unanimously elected to the Society’s board.