Emily Bell

If you’re doing important journalism, you really need people to read it. If it’s just about making money, you’re better off in a different business.

Born : 1965 King’s Lynn, Norfolk, UK.

Education : Master’s in Jurisprudence, Christ Church, Oxford University.

Emily Bell is the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. (Established in 2010, the Tow Center has rapidly built an international reputation for research into the intersection of technology and journalism). She was previously the director of digital content for Guardian News and Media (2006-2010) and the editor-in-chief of Guardian Unlimited (2001-2006).

She began her career in 1987 as a trainee reporter on ‘Big Farm Weekly’ for which she says, “Law, shorthand, driving licence” were  “the three essential skills for a print journalist in 1987“.  She then joined Campaign in 1988

Bell started with the Observer newspaper, which became part of Guardian News and Media, in 1990 as a business reporter.The majority of her career was spent at the Guardian in London where she worked as a writer and editor both in print and online. As editor-in-chief (2001) across Guardian websites and director of digital content for Guardian News and Media (2006), Emily led the web team in implementing live blogging, multimedia formats, data and social media ahead, making the Guardian a recognized pioneer in the field.

She is a champion of open journalism where interaction and collaboration is the key. One lesson Bell does not think should be ported from traditional journalism is the idea that news organizations create news and consumers consume it. Because really, news isn’t for “consumers” – it’s for “citizens.”

Emily Bell became a non-executive director of the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian Media Group, in January 2013.

Guardian.co.uk, the Guardian and Observer’s network of websites, has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Webby for Best Newspaper on the worldwide web in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

“Oddly perhaps, I’m boundlessly optimistic about journalism; I really believe that this is the dawning of a new golden age,” Bell told Wired.com. “Of course the industry is currently under a great deal of structural pressure but the emerging new voices and techniques are producing really thrilling results already.”


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