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Society's next president prepares for office

Jonathan Grun, editor of the Press Association, is set to succeed Liz Page as the Society of Editors president for 2002-3.

Currently vice president, Jonathan will address the Society’s annual meeting in York next month, where members are due to approve the change.

Neil Benson, editorial director of Trinity Mirror regional newspapers has also been unanimously proposed as vice president and is set to become president next year.

In her report to the society to mark the end of her year as president, York Evening Press editor Liz Page explained how the Society and the profession was moving forward.

She said: “With ever-increasing pressures on the media – and with the restrictive legislators and their shackles hovering in the background – we need more than ever to have a strong, united voice, one that will be heard where it really matters.

“The society has gone some way to developing that voice over the last 12 months. Executive director Bob Satchwell has represented the society and been at the heart of forming policies on subjects as diverse as the Government’s media emergencies procedures to media plans for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

“Opportunities for lobbying have been seized, whether at a reception with Home Secretary David Blunkett or at Newspaper Society lunches with key figures such as Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell or Labour Party Chairman Charles Clarke.

“Membership continues to grow, thanks to the broad, media-wide appeal of the society’s work and the efforts made by many to enlist new recruits. We are making efforts to encourage ethnic diversity following comments at last year’s conference about the overwhelming number of white male faces which made up the vast majority of the delegates.”

She also spoke about the pressure faced by journalists over gaining and sharing of information.

She said: “The media is assailed with threats of contempt action over the difficult reporting issues surrounding the deaths of 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

“Journalists are under pressure as never before over the protection of sources and the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act will bring its own challenges.

“And public interest in the media and the way it operates has never been greater. How we, as editors and media leaders, respond to these challenges is more crucial than ever.”

Executive director Bob Satchwell said in his report: “Liz Page’s determination has helped us make the most of our improved financial stability.

“Ed Curran’s presidency will long be remembered for his leadership as well as his record-breaking conference. Liz will hand over to Jonathan Grun who as editor at the Press Association has a finger in every media pie.

“His customer list mirrors the society’s membership.”

The Society of Editors was formed by a merger of the Guild of Editors and the Association of British Editors in April 1999.

It has nearly 500 members made up of editors, managing editors, editorial directors, training editors, editors-in-chief and deputy editors in national, regional and local newspapers, magazines, radio, television and new media, media lawyers and academics in journalism education.

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