The NME has long thrived off its reputation as a hot-bed for cigarette-smoking, grease-stained male journalists living off the gnarly end of rock music. But now and again, everything could do with an overhaul. At long last, one of the most historically important titles in music is set to benefit from a woman’s touch.
Earlier today the magazine’s outgoing editor Conor McNicholas and its publisher, IPC Media, made simultaneous announcements that Krissi Murison will be the NME’s first female editor from 1 September. McNicholas is leaving the magazine to take over the editorship of BBC Worldwide's Top Gear title later this year.
"I don't think there’s any great conspiracy," says Murison. "It's changing - there are many more women in the music press and music industry as a whole. There is this perception of NME as a boys’ own club and yes there are more guys than girls, but it’s not exclusive in any way."
While the NME has made the careers of several prominent female journalists - from Julie Burchill and Barbara Ellen to Lucy O'Brien, who focuses her work specifically on female musicians - women writers have always been in the minority at the publication. Murison’s appointment might reflect the current swathe of female singer-songwriters on the up, a stark contrast to the armies of leather-jacket-sporting, skinny-jean-wearing indie boys who previously provided the magazine's week-to-week staple diet.
"It’s definitely a good thing and is ridiculously overdue," says Andrew Collins, a former NME staffer and broadcaster. "It helps erase the strange notion that this is just a boys’ game. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, really. If you have a woman near the top it is more likely to inspire younger, female writers. If they aren’t there, they can't."
Murison joined the NME in 2003 as a junior staff writer, moving on to roles including, new bands editor, features editor and eventually McNicholas' deputy editor, before taking up her current post as music director of Nylon magazine in New York.
Other female scribes to have made their names at the NME include journalists Cath Carroll, Jane Solanas, Sarah Champion and Helen Mead.Reuse content