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The Lead hires Zoë Grünewald, Diyora Shadijanova, Lillian Race

Our magazine's newsroom team has expanded yet again with a Westminster Editor, a new Senior Editor and an Audience Engagement Editor, respectively. Grünewald moves over from The Independent's lobby team, Shadijanova held senior roles in gal-dem. Race has overseen spike in followers and interactions since joining in March. 

May 09 2024, 15.34pm

The Lead is thrilled to be entering election season with three new amazing team members, based out of our London newsroom. Zoë Grünewald, until a Lobby correspondent for The Independent, joins in the newly created role of Westminster Editor. Diyora Shadijanova, who has served as Opinion editor and Climate editor at gal-dem, joins as Senior Editor, covering for Natalie Morris - who will be imminently going on maternity leave. And Lillian Race, formerly of Arts Professional, is confirmed in her role as Engagement Editor, after joining in March. 

“We couldn’t be happier to announce these fantastic new colleagues at The Lead”, said Dimi Reider, National Editor. “I’ve long enjoyed Zoë’s work for the New Statesman. I am thrilled to be able to offer her a new, senior position at The Lead, allowing us to both deepen and expand the Westminster dimension in our coverage. 

“Diyora did a fantastic job at gal-dem, a publication all of us at The Lead admire, and we very much look forward to making the utmost of her extensive contributor network, her newsroom experience and her climate specialism to use. 

“It’ll be strange to not have Natalie with us, even if temporarily - The Lead simply would not be the publication it is today without her, whether as editor, writer or colleague. She’s the best. But we look forward to Diyora retaining the momentum of the stories Natalie has championed, and bringing her own specialisms to the fore. 

“And Lillian has become a vital part of our team since joining only two months ago. The steep quantitative and qualitative improvement in our social media presence and other engagement over the last quarter is very much thanks to her, and much more ambitious projects are in the works.

The Lead’s overall engagement rate went up many times over since Race’s hire, Reider added. The franchise, launched in September 2022 with seed funding from 89up’s Michael Harris, now boasts 50,000 subscribers across its newsletters. It has launched six local editions, online and print, in the North of England - run by an autonomous Lancashire-based newsroom headed by Ed Walker and Luke Beardsworth, working in close collaboration with the London team - and plans to launch at least four more throughout the summer.  Ed Walker also welcomed the new hires, saying: “As we seek to report on communities across the North of England having the experience and skills of Diyora, Zoë and Lillian means we can continue to ensure our journalism with The Lead reflects all those we want - and who should have - a voice through our stories. And knowing we have a strong voice in Westminster - through Zoë - means we can make sure MPs, of all geographies, know what needs focusing on for those with a Northern agenda.”

Race said: “Done well, journalism can drive change, but important voices and stories are still continually overlooked, especially in the North. I’m proud to be part of The Lead, a publication rethinking the future of journalism, calling for active change and confronting societal issues head-on.”

Grünewald said: “​​I’m delighted to be joining The Lead as Westminster Editor at such an important time in the political calendar - just as the nation prepares for what could be a truly seismic general election. 

Far too often, the concerns of voters outside London are sidelined in political conversations. I look forward to shaping our Westminster coverage to ensure that the voices of Northern voters receive the attention they deserve."

Shadijanova said: “I’m thrilled to be back in the newsroom, especially one that’s so exciting. Independent media outlets like The Lead will be doing crucial work ahead of the General Election. Natalie Morris, who I am covering for, has played a pivotal role in The Lead’s establishment and its many achievements. As Senior Editor, I hope to continue her work while bringing in my own experience as an editor and writer. 

Morris said: “We are delighted to be expanding our team and I have already been blown away by Lillian’s expertise in audience engagement, helping us to reach new audiences with our journalism. I’m excited about Zoë’s appointment, and with her in-depth knowledge and contacts in the Westminster bubble I know her impact will be felt immediately. 

“I feel that my role as Senior Editor will be in very safe hands with the appointment of Diyora to cover my maternity leave. We have spoken at length about the importance of continuing to strengthen our coverage on race and inequality, and I am particularly enthused about Diyora’s passion and experience in climate and environment.”

Leah Borromeo, Partnerships Editor, noted the Lead will be redoubling its focus on climate and environment, with a number of national and local investigative series in the works. 

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