Eve Pollard, one of the UK’s first female national newspaper editors, has called on journalists to help cure what she described as the “poison” of anti-Semitism which she said had grown under the Labour Party.
Pollard was speaking at the London Press Club Ball on Friday night where she was awarded the Journalist Laureate prize, only the second journalist to receive the award first given to ex-Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre last year.
She said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party – one I do not recognise as the once great party it was – has made anti-Semitism acceptable and enables it to grow.
“You are journalists, you hold truth to power. As one of you and as a direct child of the Holocaust and a proud first generation Brit, I ask you to wield your pens and do everything you can to cure us of this poison.
“In this week, marking the 75th anniversary of the D-day landings, we are reminded that freedom and peace are never to be taken for granted. They have to be fought for and cherished.”
The former Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express editor went on to warn that newspapers “cannot possibly reflect the changing face of Britain” if they are “seen as being in the hands of white elite”.
Pollard split her prize, a £5,000 cash pot, between the Journalists’ Charity and campaign group Women in Journalism, which she founded.
Ray Massey and Robert Jobson, joint chairmen of the London Press Club Ball, said Pollard, who was launch editor of Elle magazine in the US in 1985, had been a “true trailblazer who has led by example and inspired generations of young journalists – both male and female”.
They added: “But she has been a particular force during her illustrious career in working tirelessly to promote women in our trade. We would like to congratulate her on her well-deserved induction into the journalism ‘hall of fame’.”
Pollard covered Royal Ascot as fashion commentator for the BBC for 23 years and still appears as a royal commentator for ITV News, having reported on a rash of royal weddings. In 2008, she was awarded an OBE for services to journalism.
Eleanor Mills, chairman of Women in Journalism and editorial director at the Sunday Times, said Pollard was a “Fleet Street legend”, adding: “She has not only propelled herself to greatness but made sure she brought other women along on the journey with her…
“Her career has been a beacon to many women within the industry, proof that you can be successful but remain a real person – the true meaning of having it all.”
This year’s London Press Club Ball marks the first time the event, in its current form, has been held in the summer. It took place at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
Picture: London Press Club