Mary Ann Sieghart
Mary Ann Sieghart
Mary Ann Corinna Howard Sieghart (born 6 August 1961) 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 been a presenter of Start the Week and has also presented Analysis, Profile, One to One and Beyond Westminster, as well as one-off documentaries. She chairs the Social Market Foundation, an independent think tank. She has been a non-executive director of the Ofcom Content Board, a member of the Tate Modern Council, and is currently a non-executive director of a large FTSE investment trust. In 2018, she was named as one of the Female FTSE 100 Women to Watch.
Early life and education
Sieghart was born in Hammersmith, London 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 Cobham Hall and Bedales School. She won a scholarship to Wadham College, Oxford when she was 16, and graduated with a first-class degree.
Sieghart's abilities were admired by W. F. Deedes, who also knew her father. Deedes allowed her to work at The Daily Telegraph during the 1980 university summer vacation, where she spent time sub-editing, working on the "Peterborough" column and on features. She returned for subsequent vacations and again took on various roles, including writing some leaders. Deedes notes that "Let loose on the leader page, Mary Ann wove a sometimes startling liberal thread through the Daily Telegraph's blue tapestry." He offered her a job on graduation but simultaneously advised her to apply elsewhere.
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 Mondays. In 1995, she chaired the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2.
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.
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 was an occasional presenter of Start the Week on Radio 4 and presented Newshour on the BBC World Service from 2008 to 2010: until recently she presented Profile, 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.
Sieghart is chair of the Social Market Foundation and a non-executive director of The Merchants Trust. Until recently, she also sat on the boards of the Henderson Smaller Companies Investment Trust, DLN Digital Ltd, the Council of Tate Modern and the Content Board of Ofcom. She is a trustee of the Kennedy Memorial Trust and has previously served as a trustee of the Radcliffe Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, 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.
- "Mary Ann Corinna Howard SIEGHART". Debrett's People of Today. Archived from the original on 6 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- "Mary Ann Sieghart". Ofcom. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- The Independent, 28 April 1997, Media Families: 11. The Siegharts, Mary Ann Sieghart and her daughter, Evie Prichard; William Sieghart and his wife, Molly Dineen
- Kelly Strange "Everyone looks the same to me", Mirror.co.uk website, 9 November 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
- Deedes, W. F. (2006). Dear Bill: A Memoir. Pan Books. pp. 287–289. ISBN 978-0-330-35410-3.
- Bill Hagerty "Uphill fight for rolling news", Archived 12 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine Press Gazette website, 11 April 2003. Retrieved on 9 August 2008.