In the latest edition of the Gorkana meets feature the subject is London Press Club chairman Doug Wills. Managing editor of the Evening Standard and Independent titles, Wills has also recently taken over as president of the Society of Editors. He spoke to David Keevil about his first 18 months with the Press Club.
On his role as chairman: I was brought onto the board, and my remit was to give it a shot in the arm and some focus. So I brought in some new members onto the board, from newspapers, London Live TV, digital, a royal reporter and Metro.
On the newest Press Club award: Londoner of the Year was first won by Lord Coe, after the success of the Olympics, and the last award was to Baroness Lawrence, for the Stephen Lawrence campaign that her and her family has been so strong and committed to. It was a particularly important year for all the issues involving the police with the wider case of the appalling murder of Stephen Lawrence brought to a head. The presentation of the award was by Paul Dacre, of the Mail, who rarely goes to awards. He felt it was important enough to do this.
On journalism: There’s never been a more fascinating time for the industry. We’ve come out of a couple of bad years for the industry. There is still, in the public’s view, a bad taste, but we feel that in the last few years there’s been some brilliant journalism. It’s the right time to celebrate that. The public and politicians should remember that 98% of journalists have been brilliant, creative and the investigative journalism has uncovered some heinous crimes and some awful corruption. It’s important that everyone remembers this.