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The Women Who Transformed Journalism

By Liz Hodgkinson

It is now more than 100 years since the first woman became editor of a national newspaper.

She lasted in the job only a few weeks… before being replaced by a man.

Since then, scores of determined and ambitious women journalists have stormed the offices of Britain’s newspapers, beating down all the barriers that tried to keep them firmly out.
But who were the extraordinary pioneering women of British journalism? 

Their stories are all here, from the superstars such as Marje Proops, Claire Rayner, Jean Rook, Anne Robinson, Katharine Whitehorn, Jilly Cooper, Felicity Green, Nancy Banks Smith, Doreen Spooner, Sheila Black and Mary Stott, to the supporting cast who largely toiled without any recognition.

Many of these women fought their way into jobs previously reserved exclusively for men — and they dared to write about things that had never been written about before. 

Along the way, they built up millions of devoted readers.

Here is the story of Fleet Street in its bold, brash, powerful, influential – and often alcohol-soaked – heyday, and of the women who, by their courage, persistence and sheer talent, feminised and humanised national newspaper journalism.

‘Ladies of the Street’ is a brilliant history of the women who transformed the media. It is essential reading for media studies students, as well as anyone interested in British journalism. 

‘An entertaining historical overview, charting the gradual rise of women into positions of power and influence. Among her pen portraits, several stand out: the pioneering Sheila Black of the Financial Times, the wonderful Nancy Spain, the unstoppable Ann Leslie, the crusading Mary Stott, and three Daily Mirror staffers I came to know well, Marje Proops, Anne Robinson and Felicity Green.’ – Roy Greenslade, The Guardian 

Liz Hodgkinson is a well-known medical journalist and author of several books, including ‘Happy To Be Single’ and ‘The Alexander Technique’.

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