A former head girl of Ripon Grammar School has been appointed the first female editor-in-chief of The Guardian newspaper in its 194-year history.
Katharine Viner, who attended Ripon Grammar School in the 1980s and began her journalism career doing work experience at the Ripon Gazette (part of the Harrogate Advertiser Series) will take up her new position at Guardian News & Media in the summer, having been deputy editor since 2008.
Katharine, who is also editor-in-chief of Guardian US, said: “Being editor-in-chief of The Guardian and Observer is an enormous privilege and responsibility, leading a first class team of journalists revered around the world for outstanding reporting, independent thinking, incisive analysis and digital innovation.
“I am honoured to succeed Alan Rusbridger, whose remarkable tenure will be remembered for prize-winning journalism and pioneering advances in The Guardian’s global reach.
“I intend to lead a media organisation that is bold, challenging, open and engaging.”
Her connection with The Guardian began in 1987 when, as a student reflecting on how the O-level would be remembered, she had an article published in which she wrote: “Cramming five years of knowledge into two and a half hours does not seem to be a fair system.”
As a student at Ripon Grammar, Katharine, along with Simon Stockill, won the national final of the prestigious Observer Mace Schools’ Debating competition in 1988.
After leaving Ripon Grammar School, Katharine went to Oxford University to study English at Pembroke College.
She worked for Cosmopolitan magazine and spent three years at The Sunday Times before joining The Guardian.
She returned to Ripon Grammar School in 2005 for the annual speech day when she gave a motivational speech reflecting on her school days.
Headmaster Martin Pearman said: “As the new headmaster that year it was an absolute pleasure to meet Katharine for the first time. She was engaging and put everyone she met at ease.
“Her address was inspirational and our students were utterly enthralled by what she had to say.
“I would like to congratulate Katharine on her appointment and I am confident she will excel in her new role. She is a tremendous inspiration for all the students at Ripon Grammar School and her appointment is thoroughly deserved.”