Jackie Ashley’s journalism career has spanned television, radio and newspapers, and she now writes a weekly column and blog for one of the UK’s biggest national dailies.
Her journalistic ambition, however, was sparked indirectly by her father Jack Ashley, the Life Peer Baron Ashley of Stoke, former Labour MP for Stoke South and former Chancellor of Staffordshire University.
She said: “I decided early on that I wanted to be a journalist and because my dad was an MP I had a lot of interest in politics from a young age. I was on the phone a lot talking to journalists on my dad’s behalf because he was deaf and it was just through chatting with them that I got interested.”
Jackie, who was born and raised in Epsom, Surrey, frequently visited Stoke-on-Trent during her father’s 26 years as MP for the area – before he retired from the House of Commons in 1992.
At Oxford University, Jackie studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and then joined the BBC as a trainee in 1979, where she worked on radio programmes such as World at One. Two years later she joined Newsnight as a Producer and Newsreader. Jackie’s TV career carried on through to 1999, and included a stint at Channel 4 and then ITN as a Political Correspondent.
“I always thought I’d stay in broadcasting as long as I could but the hours are fairly antisocial and when I had a family it made it difficult to carry on,” said Jackie, who has three children.
She decided to enter print media and became Political Editor at the New Statesman and then Columnist and Political Interviewer at The Guardian in 2002.
She regularly writes about issues surrounding our ageing society and, in 2009 chaired a conference that marked the joining of charities Age Concern and Help The Aged.
Between 2015 and 2018, Ashley was President of Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge, where she saw the college celebrate its 50th anniversary and the best results on record in the 2017.
The award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Jackie for her contribution to the field of journalism and leadership in the cause of social justice, particularly in relation to the rights of older people.