He was installed as head of the 40,000-strong union at its annual delegate meeting in Liverpool.
The 44-year-old takes on the 12-month role at a critical time in the media industry with a wave of massive job cuts sweeping across all sectors, from newspapers and magazines to television, radio and books.
He is currently chair of the Trinity Mirror Group Chapel, and has served on the union’s National Executive Council for more than four years. He was father of chapel at the Birmingham Post & Mail for 14 years, successfully winning back recognition for the union at the company in 2001.
Chris has put the fight against low pay and job cuts at the heart of his campaigning and will now head the union’s campaign, Journalism Matters, aimed at stemming the tide of redundancies which threaten to destroy the quality of journalism across the UK and Ireland.
Chris said: “I want to involve our members in newsrooms up and down the country in our efforts to defend the quality and standards of journalism in their workplaces.
“This is a battle about defining the place that journalism holds in our society and democracy itself and it is not one we can afford to lose.”
Journalism Matters aims to unite readers, viewers and listeners in communities against what the union sees as the “damaging effects of swingeing editorial cutbacks by rich and powerful media companies”.
Dartford-born Chris went to school in Chester and Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, and gained a degree from Liverpool University. The father-of-two now lives in Halesowen, in the West Midlands, and is industrial correspondent for the Birmingham Mail.
He takes on the NUJ presidency as the union prepares to celebrate its centenary, having been founded with its first national meeting at the former Acorn Hotel in Temple Street, Birmingham in 1907.