The Guardian’s Gay Alcorn joins The Age as editor

The Age has appointed its first female editor in its 165-year history in Gay Alcorn.

Alcorn is currently the Melbourne editor of The Guardian and formerly spent 20-years working in the newsroom at The Age.

She replaces acting editor Michelle Griffin who will return to her role of world editor following the transition.

James Chessell, group executive editor of Australian Metro Publishing, said Alcorn’s editorial leadership, drive and independence of thought will help strengthen the masthead.

“Gay is an insightful journalist with a strong sense of what is important for all Victorians,” he said.

“She is steeped in The Age’s proud history of agenda-setting, independent journalism and will be a strong leader of the newsroom in Melbourne.

“Gay is an editor of substance who will inspire and lead a team of the most talented journalists in the country who have performed so admirably this year under immense pressure. I’m so delighted Gay has agreed to come home.”

Alcorn was the Washington correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald from 1999 to 2002, covering both the 200 presidential election and the September 11 terrorist attacks. She is a three-time Walkley Award winner and was deputy editor of the title from 2006 to 2008.

Alcorn was also editor of The Sunday Age for more than four years until late 2012. She won a Quill award for commentary in 2018.

“Returning to lead The Age is a privilege, particularly in these times of extraordinary change and challenge,” Alcorn said.

“There is pain and worry in Victoria now, and big challenges ahead. My aim is that The Age continues to be the Victorian masthead of choice for trusted, fair and brave journalism. In a polarised media era, these values are as crucial as ever.

“The Age, as it has been throughout its more than 165-year history, is part of our community. I want our readers to feel they have a stake in The Age, whether they always agree with what’s published or not.

“The Age consistently produces excellent journalism, whether investigative stories with consequence, coverage of a city that revels in ideas and debate like no other, independent sports, business and cultural coverage and vital reporting about national and international issues. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make a contribution.”

Alcorn will take up her new position on September 28. She replaces Alex Lavelle who stepped down after four years in the role earlier this year. Lavelle’s exit followed a petition signed by close to 70 staff calling for improved racial diversity at the paper and demanding editorial choices for the paper be moved back to Melbourne, not Sydney.

The trigger for the petition was a story “Activists ‘planning trouble’ at protest”, published in The Age on Friday 5 June which claimed activists had threatened police with physical abuse ahead of the match. That allegation was not backed up in the story and was later corrected and apologised for.


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