Katharine Viner awarded Honorary Doctorate

The Guardian’s first female editor-in-chief who launched the award-winning Guardian Australia, Katharine Viner, has been conferred with an Honorary Degree Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by La Trobe University.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO awarded the Honorary Degree to Katharine at an evening ceremony in London on 7 June (GMT).

Professor Dewar said the award recognised Katharine’s leadership and lasting contributions to journalism.

“Given La Trobe’s long and proud history of teaching and research in journalism communication, the awarding of an Honorary Degree to Katharine Viner is a fitting tribute to the life and work of a woman whose philosophy and achievements champion editorial freedom, liberal values and ‘playful intelligence’ in journalism,” Professor Dewar said.

Katharine thanked La Trobe for the receipt of the award and recognition of her career in journalism.

“I am honoured and delighted to be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from La Trobe University. For me, this award is a testament to the success the Guardian has achieved internationally, particularly in Australia where we have just celebrated 10 amazing years. As the launch editor of Guardian Australia, the country has a permanent place in my head and my heart. I hope I can help inspire more students to pursue careers in journalism, especially at a time when truthful reporting matters more than ever.”

About Katharine Viner

Katharine Viner is a British journalist, editor, playwright and media commentator whose thought-leadership and contributions at The Guardian newspaper have created a sustainable platform for The Guardian to continue its long tradition of high-quality journalism.

Born in 1971, in Yorkshire, Ms Viner was still a high school student when she wrote her first newspaper article, published in The Guardian, while she was attending Ripon Grammar School in 1987. After graduating from Ripon, she studied English at Pembroke College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford.

Ms Viner briefly worked for the U.K. edition of Cosmopolitan magazine before joining The Sunday Times newspaper as a feature writer in 1994. In 1997 she joined the Guardian as a feature and arts writer, before moving into editing on the women's pages and becoming editor of the Guardian's Weekend magazine in 1998. She became the Guardian's first female features editor in 2005.

After being appointed deputy editor of the Guardian in 2008, Ms Viner launched the award-winning Guardian Australia in 2013, which resulted in an important and timely expansion in the diversity of the Australian media landscape. Ms Viner was next editor of Guardian US, based in New York.

Her leadership and focus in balancing the public interest mission of the Scott Trust with the need to publish a profitable paper led to her promotion in 2015, when she was appointed as the first female editor-in-chief in 194 years responsible for the entire global output of the Guardian and the Observer across the world. Ms Viner was subsequently named in The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list published by Forbes in 2019.

While on the board of the Royal Court Theatre in London, she collaborated with the late Alan Rickman in 2005 to co-edit the one-woman play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, which was assembled from the writings of the American pro-Palestinian activist and student who died in 2003 while protesting in the Gaza Strip. The play has since been staged at theatres across the globe.

In 2013, Ms Viner gave the annual AN Smith Lecture in Journalism at the University of Melbourne, The Rise of the Reader, which discussed journalism in the age of the open web. She also gave an address in 2016 at her alma mater on Truth and Reality in a Hyper-Connected World as part of the Oxford University Women of Achievement Lecture Series, a series that aims to raise the profile of women of high achievement.

She was also the winner of the 2017 Diario Madrid prize for journalism for her long form essay How Technology Disrupted the Truth.

Media contact: Courtney Carthy-O’Neill - c.carthy-oneill@latrobe.edu.au +61 487 448 734