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Jane Reed CBE was the latest guest at the Head Girl Speakers Programme this week, delivering a talk to students, staff and parents on ’The Importance of Journalism in a Democracy’.
During the course of the evening, Miss Reed gave a fascinating and extraordinary account of her journalistic career. Her first job was as fashion assistant at Modern Woman, which included the unenviable task of single-handedly sweeping a very autumnal and leaf-covered Sloane Square for a spring fashion shoot.
Later career highlights included interviewing the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and her appointment as editor of Woman’s Weekly managing a staff of 200 at the age of 29.
She then moved into publishing, managing six titles for IPC, before launching the Today newspaper in the 1980s and establishing the Corporate Affairs department of News International with Rupert Murdoch.
Miss Reed then discussed the role of democratic journalism in politics; how publications find and use trusted sources for breaking news stories; and the implications of the shift in modern readership from newspapers to online news.
In the Q&A session, the girls asked a number of intelligent and insightful questions, such as ‘How important is the role of the media in emerging democracies such as Egypt?’, and ‘Do you think it is right for some journalists to restrict some news content from the public?’.
Head Girl Liz Mbu said, ’I particularly found inspiration when Miss Reed said, about her time in publishing "I moved from being a big fish in a little pond, to a little fish in a vast ocean." She showed a lot of perseverance, to began ascending a new career path at that point.’
We would like to thank Miss Reed for her fascinating insight into the world of journalism and publishing and for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining evening.