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March 5, 2015

Kath Viner guaranteed place on Guardian editor shortlist after winning staff hustings vote

By William Turvill

Kath Viner has won the staff ballot for her application to be editor-in-chief of The Guardian, guaranteeing her a place on the shortlist for the position.

Viner, editor-in-chief of Guardian US, was among four candidates who chose to take part in a hustings process for the job, which is being vacated by Alan Rusbridger this summer after 20 years.

According to The Guardian, she recieved 438 first-choice votes – 53 per cent of the total cast.

In second place was Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University in the US and a non-executive director of Guardian-owner the Scott Trust, who recieved 188 votes.

Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of The Guardian website, recieved 175 votes, and Wolfgang Blau, Guardian News and Media's director of digital strategy, recieved 29 votes.

A report on The Guardian's website said that 964 "core editorial staff" – full-time staff and freelances who earn most of their income from the newspaper group – were given the opportunity to vote, with a turn-out of 87 per cent.

Having won the hustings vote, Viner is guaranteed a place on the shortlist of three that will go forward to the next round of interviews for the position, conducted by the Scott Trust.

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The Guardian said the appointment will be announced this month.

Brian Williams, father of the chapel of the National Union of Journalists, said: “The journalists have had their say, now the ball is in the Scott Trust’s court.

"However, we are confident they will recognise the importance of the editorial staff’s opinion and give full weight to our choice.”

In her hustings statement, Viner said: "We have a reputation for playful intelligence, from G2 to the Fiver; a witty voice and distinctive tone. But we can do more, with a focus on warmth and fun.

"While the Guardian has a large international readership, and rapidly-expanding editions in the US and Australia, it is not yet truly global. We need to reframe everything we do to speak to a worldwide audience. We need more reporters abroad, particularly where there is little media diversity or free reporting, with bureaus in crucial countries such as India and Nigeria. Most of the defining issues of our time are transnational: economics, climate, surveillance, inequality, technology, war — even sex scandals. Themed roles would help us tell a coherent international story: correspondents for water, fossil fuels, women's rights, a 1% correspondent.

"News is a stressful business which needs to be balanced with an energising sense of inclusiveness, purpose and fun."

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