Frances Gibb

Wednesday 06th March 2019 07:15 EST

Frances Gibb's career has been in newspaper journalism. She recently retired as legal editor of The Times, where she has covered legal affairs since 1982. Frances joined The Times nearly 40 years ago as a general reporter, arriving from The Daily Telegraph where she had been art sales correspondent for two years. Before that she did her journalistic training for four years on The Times Higher Education Supplement.  On The Times  - during which time she had served under nine editors - She have seen law coverage expand to include a law supplement and a student law supplement, both now inside the main paper as weekly law pages; and our daily legal bulletin, 'The Brief'. 

1 Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?

I am most at home in Suffolk, which is part of East Anglia in the UK - where I spend much of my time and which I have known for more than 40 years after my parents fell in love with it. I went to university in Norwich, which is also East Anglia. 

2 What are your proudest achievements? 

My three sons - and maintaining my career covering a high-profile specialism on the best newspaper in the world, which involved  juggling home and work life while seeking to do justice to both. 

3 What inspires you? 

My late parents inspired me in giving me and my two siblings a wonderful family-orientated childhood and in encouraging us to pursue the careers we wanted to follow. Professionally I am inspired by people who manage to keep a sane work-life balance.

4 What has been biggest obstacle in your career?

There is always the ongoing difficulty for any working parent of juggling home and work life and trying to do justice to both. That remains the case today.

5 Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? 

No one individual: successive editors who gave me my breaks, whether my first job in journalism, my first job on a national newspaper and my appointment to cover legal affairs - even though I was a non-lawyer. 

6 What is the best aspect about your current role?

The best aspect of being legal editor on The Times was having a ringside seat at some of the biggest legal challenges of our time - from Brexit and whether the triggering of article 50 needed Parliamentary approval to so-called ‘right to die’ or ‘right to medical treatment’ cases. 

7 And the worst?

The hardest part of any journalistic job is to satisfy the demands of the newsdesk  not least when they come in late, contacts are difficult to get hold of and deadlines are looming.

8 What are your long term goals? 

To enjoy a quieter pace of life now that I am not full-time on Times, writing the occasional article; and to give my sons and families some support in their busy lives, whether through baby-sitting or dog-sitting. 

9 If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change? 

I think in recent months it has been clear  that the Prime Minister has very little power to change anything. Perhaps legislate to ensure internet providers are legally liable for their content  as publishers - creating a level playing field between traditional newspaper outlets and social media platforms. 

10 If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why. 

William Shakespeare  - for intellectual stimulation, humour and philosophical reflection - although I am not sure about his survival skills.

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