Alison Phillips has been appointed as the chair of Women in Journalism (WIJ), vowing that the campaigning organisation will be a “noisy advocate for trusted journalism” in an epidemic of fake news and with journalists burdened by the lockdown.
The Mirror editor takes over from Eleanor Mills under whose leadership WIJ increased membership, ran more events and launched influential research.
Mills, former editorial director of The Sunday Times and board member of the Society of Editors, will continue to support WIJ as she launches her new business https://www.inherspace.co.uk and launches a new platform called Noon to empower women in midlife.
Assuming the role, Alison Phillips said: “I am hugely excited about taking on the role of chair at such a crucial time. Coronavirus has brought new challenges for our industry. We know across society women have been heavily impacted by the virus and its economic impact. Supporting women through these difficult times is an immediate priority.
“WIJ was there to support and champion women during the many changes journalism has faced and will continue to represent women working in every part of the industry, at every stage of their career, and in every part of our country.”
Eve Pollard, founder of Women in Journalism, said: “WIJ is very lucky to have Alison Phillips as its new Chair. As Editor of both the Daily and Sunday Mirror she brings experience and knowledge of producing successful newspapers both in good times and during the pandemic. She understands very well the problems that face all newspapers, working with smaller staffs with virtually no journalists in the office. I know she will be a strong campaigner for women in the industry.”
The WIJ mentoring scheme, launched under the chairmanship of Mills, has helped shape hundreds of careers, and WIJ’s constantly growing schedule of events is both practical and inspirational, Phillips said.
“We owe a massive debt to Eleanor for everything she has done,” she added.
WIJ now has 900 members and will continue to grow its digital and broadcast representation alongside two new deputy co-chairs – Kate Mansey, deputy features editor of The Mail on Sunday and Busola Evans, associate editor of Livingetc and Homes & Gardens.
The organisation’s next event will take place on February 17 with Katya Adler, Europe Editor at BBC News, talking to Alison Phillips about her career, life at the BBC and covering Brexit.