New Scientist's first female editor says for now ‘it’s about women and minorities’ but soon it will be the ‘first robot editor'

New Scientist editor Emily Wilson has predicted that while she is the first ever woman editor of the magazine since it launched in 1956, “soon it will be the first robot editor”.

Wilson was made editor in January this year, having previously worked for the Daily Mail and the Guardian newspapers, including a spell as Guardian Australia editor-in-chief.

She told the Media Masters podcast: “For my 20s, I was a very loyal foot soldier in every job I did. I wasn’t very politicised. I didn’t know anything about feminism or anything like that.”

Wilson said she arrived at the Guardian in a very “Guardian-steeped culture as a total Daily Mail ingénue/idiot, who had no idea of the things I would say that would go down like a bucket of cold sick at the Guardian”.

Adding: “There was a time when about, I can’t remember, six to nine people left the Mail, a little refugee boat full of people, and all went to the Guardian, and made a good home there for many years, and many are still there.

“And someone did once stand up in conference and give a little speech [saying] ‘I think it’s disgusting that Daily Mail employees will come and work here.’”

However, Wilson said she eventually became “very at home, and then, obviously, I spent a hundred years there. So, by the end I was part of the furniture”.

During her time at the Guardian she said she wanted to work on general news, but “science came and found me again”..

Alan Rusbridger, then editor of the newspaper, asked Wilson to set up a science section of newspaper, which they called Life, which is “very sadly dead now”.

Wilson hopes to take New Scientist out to more readers in the world.

She said: “I think that anyone anywhere in the world who cares about science, the environment and technology, and speaks English, is a potential New Scientist reader.”

She also believes that people from the age of ten to 70 get “loads out this magazine”, as it focuses on ideas, innovations and discoveries. “So I want to get it to more people”, she said.

Her aim is to focus on “more digital” and engage with more people online.

On her appointment as editor, she said: “Soon it will be the first robot editor and the first robot CEO, but for now, it’s about women and other kinds of minorities”.

Wilson replaced Sumit Paul-Choudhury as editor, who stayed on the New Scientist’s strategy director.

Picture: David Levene/Guardian




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