Smile sweetly, dear, and if that doesn’t work, use the F-word – that’ll shock them into listening. The world has moved on since Marje Proops dispensed this advice to ambitious young women who wanted to make their mark in newspapers. And now that Rebekah Wade has become the first woman to edit a national daily tabloid, perhaps that is the last we’ll hear of the term “glass ceiling”.
What else might we have heard the last of?
Page three? Certainly not. Wade is far too shrewd to ditch this institution, regardless of her personal view of it. The Sun already has more women readers than any other newspaper. She’ll have to look for other ways of attracting more.
The bitter personal feud between editors of The Sun and the Daily Mirror? Let’s hope so. Wade says yes. Piers Morgan says yes – although we’ll see. Many remember his attack on her at a Women in Journalism party just after she took the News of the World chair. The answer is more likely to depend on how successful she is. Anyway, without a rival editor to make fun of, what else will Morgan talk about? His sales?
The Sun’s support of New Labour? Probably. Wade’s friendship with Cherie Blair – which ended during the Cheriegate affair – no longer seems an obstacle to a markedly more hostile stance on the Government’s performance. Worryingly for Blair and Alastair Campbell, that would only leave the Expresses four-square behind them.
David Yelland? Probably not. This decent man’s overriding emotion is likely to be relief as he heads to the US for a while. He may well be back at NI before too long. He says he doesn’t expect to get any plaudits for his four-and-a-half-year stewardship of The Sun – and it is true that it is more likely to go down as a “steady as she goes” period rather than one of flamboyant innovation.
But one Yelland scoop – that may not have got full credit at the time – deserves a mention when that history is written. Bringing Ronnie Biggs back from Rio was a tabloid classic.
If Wade can get a few like that under her belt, her own place in The Sun will be more than a footnote.