Who was the first woman editor of a national newspaper?
The first WOMAN EDITOR of a National Newspaper was Rachel Beer, aunt of World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon, who had unusual distinction of editing two papers at once when she was little over 30. VV.W. Hadley, editor of the Sunday Times in the 1930s, recalled: ‘She became first an occasional contributor to the Observer, and then its assistant editor and then—so Fleet Street believed—its editor. Her ambition still unsatisfied, she bought the Sunday Times 1893 and edited it herself—this without relinquishing her position on the staff of the Observer. Journalists were amused by this wealthy, slapdash newcomer who edited two rival journals simultaneously and wrote articles for both with equal assurance.’
Rachel Beer gave up the Sunday Times in 1897 but the following year achieved her greatest triumph on the Observer with what has been described an ‘one of the great scoops of journalistic history’. She continued to edit the Observer until 1905 and died in 1927.
The first FORMALLY APPOINTED EDITOR of a national newspaper was Wendy Henry the 33-year-old daughter of a Manchester market trader, who worked on the Daily Mail and Sun before elevation to the editorial chair of the News of the World by Rupert Murdoch on 1 July 1987.