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Last Updated: Monday, 13 January 2003, 15:37 GMT
Rebekah Wade: Profile
Rebekah Wade
Rebekah Wade was News of the World editor at 31
Sun editor Rebekah Wade has been making headlines of her own after her arrest for allegedly assaulting her EastEnders actor husband Ross Kemp.

Ms Wade, 37, has attracted attention and controversy throughout a Fleet Street career in which she became the first female editor of the Sun in January 2003.

In a previous stint as deputy editor, she battled against the newspaper's institution of page three.

She steered clear of moral judgments and argued topless women were bad for business, maintaining that page three was working against efforts to draw more young women readers in.

Since becoming editor, though, Ms Wade has dropped the issue, although topless women often get shunted off page three.

'Last chance'

A significant feature of her reign as editor at the Sun has been that the paper has become more critical of the Labour government.

Despite this, the paper still came out in support of the party two weeks before the General Election in May, although that support came under the headline "One Last Chance".

Before her current role at the Sun, Ms Wade became one of Fleet Street's youngest ever editors at the age of 31 when she took the top job at the News of the World in May 2000.

She had an often colourful reign at the News of the World.

After the murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne she was blamed by critics for driving paedophiles underground and inspiring mobs to run riot in Portsmouth.

Ms Wade was vilified for publishing the names and photographs of known sex-offenders to protect children.

Some police officers claimed Ms Wade's tactics were wrecking investigations.

Tony Butler, the then chief constable of Gloucestershire police, denounced her for "grossly irresponsible" journalism.

Some media pundits accused her of trying to cash in on eight-year-old Sarah's death.

Populist touch

But Ms Wade struck a chord with many parents and the News of the World sold an extra 95,000 copies a week after a period of decline.

Rebekah Wade and Ross Kemp
Rebekah Wade is married to EastEnders actor Ross Kemp

She had been appointed for her populist touch and News International bosses were unlikely to have been disappointed by the progress of a journalist known for her "terrifying" ambition and ability to attract female readers.

In response to her new appointment, News International executive chairman Les Hinton said: "Rebekah has grown up in the News International stable of publications and become one of the brightest young talents in Fleet Street".

Even before the anti-paedophile campaign, Ms Wade had made her name by succeeding in the traditionally male-dominated tabloid newspaper world.

Taking over from Phil Hall at the News of the World, she had proved her worth after two years as David Yelland's deputy editor at The Sun.

Cheshire roots

Ms Wade decided to be a journalist when she was 14 and began her career a long way from the tabloids, on Architecture Aujourd'hui in Paris, where she made use of her fluent French.

She returned to her Cheshire roots to work for Eddie Shah's Messenger Group and, later, his Post newspaper.

When she turned 20, Ms Wade got her first taste of life at the News of the World, joining its Sunday magazine.

She rose to the position of deputy editor on the magazine before being sent to The Sun in 1998.

As chairwoman of Women in Journalism, she was behind research into the portrayal of women in the press.

She said: "Our research shows that women are significantly under-represented in newspapers, even though they make up almost half the readers.

"In a highly competitive newspaper market, every editor needs to appeal to female readers to boost their circulation."

Ms Wade is extremely well connected and has been invited to Tony Blair's offices on a number of occasions.

She was also invited to the Prince of Wales' 50th birthday party.

Often described as a "consummate networker", she is said to count tabloid favourites such as Sheryl Gascoigne among her friends.

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