Mary Ann Sieghart

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Mary Ann Sieghart
Born (1961-08-06) 6 August 1961 (age 52)
Hammersmith, London, England
Occupation Journalist, Broadcaster
Notable credit(s) The Times
Newshour
The Independent

Mary Ann Sieghart (born 6 August 1961 in Hammersmith, London[1]) is an English journalist, radio presenter and former assistant editor of The Times, where she wrote columns about politics, social affairs and life in general. She has also written a weekly political column in The Independent.

On BBC Radio 4, she has presented programmes such as Profile, One to One and Beyond Westminster. She chairs the Social Market Foundation, an independent think tank, is a non-executive director of Henderson Smaller Companies Investment Trust, DLN Digital Ltd and the Content Board of Ofcom, and sits on the Council of Tate Modern.

Early life and education[edit]

Sieghart was born in 1961, the daughter of Paul Sieghart, a human rights lawyer, campaigner, broadcaster and author, and Felicity Ann Sieghart, chairman of the National Association for Gifted Children, magistrate and later managing director of the Aldeburgh Cinema. Her older brother is William Sieghart. She attended both state and private schools (Bedales School) and graduated with a first-class degree in PPE from Wadham College, Oxford. While she was there, she worked for The Daily Telegraph in her vacations.[2]

Health[edit]

Suffering from the medical condition prosopagnosia (face blindness), she and several members of her family struggle to recognise faces.[3]

Career[edit]

After Oxford, Sieghart joined The Financial Times, where she became Eurobond Correspondent and then a Lex columnist. She spent a summer in 1984 working for The Washington Post, as the Laurence Stern Fellow. From the FT, she was recruited to be City Editor of Today newspaper at its launch in 1986. When it was taken over by Tiny Rowland, she moved to The Economist to be Political Correspondent. She also presented The World This Week on Channel 4.

In 1988, she joined The Times, as editor of the comment pages. During her time there, she was also Arts Editor, Chief Political leader-writer and acting editor of the paper on Sundays. In 1995, she chaired the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2.

In 2007, she left The Times to pursue a portfolio career. From 2010 to 2012, she wrote the main opinion column in The Independent on Mondays.

Sieghart is a regular broadcaster. She currently presents Profile on Radio 4 and presented Newshour on the BBC World Service from 2008 to 2010: until recently she presented One to One and Beyond Westminster on Radio 4. She has often appeared on programmes such as Question Time, Any Questions, Newsnight, Today, The World Tonight and Woman's Hour. She was a regular co-presenter of Start the Week during the time Melvyn Bragg was the programme's main presenter and has been a guest presenter of The Week in Westminster and Dispatch Box.

Criticism[edit]

In 2003, Bill Hagerty, editor of the British Journalism Review, described Sieghart as "very talented" but criticised her assumption that broadsheet journalism in newspapers like The Times was intrinsically better or more effective than tabloid journalism.[4]


Other activities[edit]

Sieghart is chair of the Social Market Foundation, a non-executive director of Henderson Smaller Companies Investment Trust, DLN Digital Ltd and the Content Board of Ofcom, a Member of the Council of Tate Modern and a trustee of the Radcliffe Trust. She has served as a trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund, vice-chair of the North Fulham New Deal for Communities, steering committee member of the No Campaign and New Europe, member of the Advisory Board of the Social Studies Faculty at Oxford University and various other voluntary posts.

References[edit]

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