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Nicky Cox MBE (born March 1966) is a British journalist. She is editor-in-chief of First News, a British national newspaper for children and of the paper's online news channel, First News Live!. She is also the CEO of indie production company, Fresh Start Media, specialising in documentary films for, or about, children.
Nicky Cox MBE, née Smith, began her career in regional newspapers, as a trainee reporter with the Croydon Advertiser Group, part of Portsmouth and Sunderland Newspapers. Eighteen months later she won the Jesse Ward Young Journalist of the Year Award. She went on to work as a sub-editor on The Sunday Mirror and The Sunday Times. She took up the post of launch editor of Early Times, a newspaper for children, which had limited private financial backing. Cox took four child reporters to 10 Downing Street to interview Margaret Thatcher. She is a regular visitor with, and without, children there now.
Shortly afterwards she joined BBC Worldwide (then called BBC Enterprises) with a brief to launch a junior version of the Radio Times. The first magazine she launched for the BBC in 1989 was Fast Forward. She went on to work for 13 years as editorial director of the children's division at the BBC launching some 50 children's magazines in total, ranging in age from Teletubbies through to Top of the Pops. She was also editorial director of BBC children's books, DVD and audio in the UK. She sat on the BBC brand development board, working on programmes such as Tweenies. While at the BBC she became executive producer of two charity concerts at Wembley Stadium in aid of ChildLine, which featured Boyzone, Dannii Minogue and Take That. While at the BBC, she sat on the brand development board for new programmes, and was part of the commissioning team.
While working at the BBC, Cox first met Piers Morgan who was editing The Sun newspaper's Bizarre page at the time. Before the launch of First News, Cox worked as editorial director at Tree Top Media for four years launching magazines including Tinkerbell and Ant & Dec's pre-school animation, Engie Benjy, as well as ITV's Pop Idol. During this period she became a BAFTA judge for children's television programmes.
The newspaper was launched by Cox and Morgan and Cox's cousins, Steve and Sarah Thomson, in May 2006. The official launch was held at a party hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street. He said: "Children should be spoken to and listened to more." It is now the widest-read publication for children in the UK (Source: ABC) with more than 2.2 million readers a week (Source: Opinion Matters). The newspaper won an award from Save The Children for "Outstanding Contribution To Children". Nicky collected the award from HRH Princess Anne.
In 2017, alongside First News, Nicky started an indie production company, Fresh Start Media, with former BBC colleagues – Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Marshall Corwin and Chris Rogers. The company specialises in making news and documentaries for, or about, children. Fresh Start Media's first documentary for the BBC was called Too Many Guns, focusing on America's youngest gun control campaigner. https://freshstartmedia.tv
Cox's Conflict Children campaign, supported by Save The Children and the Government's Department for International Development was signed-up to by 230,000 children across the country. The campaign was to raise awareness of the issues facing children caught up in wars around the world, particularly child soldiers. Nicky brought a choir of orphans from Uganda to perform at 10 Downing Street for Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife. Shortly after their return to Uganda, one of the children died from AIDS. Cox has frequently toured UK schools on the First News Reading Tour with dyslexic author and former actor Henry Winkler, who writes the Hank Zipzer children's novels.
In June 2009 she was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to children. Testimonials for the MBE came from Esther Rantzen, Managing Director at BBC Magazines Peter Phippen, and Save The Children's Chief Executive, Jasmine Whitbread Nicky has also received a Patron's award from the NSPCC for dedication to children. She is passionate about giving kids a voice and a fair deal. First News has been awarded Weekly National Newspaper of the Year in the UK and Save The Children gave the newspaper its award for outstanding contribution to children. In 2014 Nicky was a Woman of Achievement in the Women of the Year Awards. Nicky is Patron of the British Youth Citizen Awards and the Global Teacher Prize. She is also a trustee of the British Plaque Trust, patron of the British Citizen Youth Awards, and a special advisor to UNICEF. She says children are 27% of the world's people but 100% of the future. Her passion is to give children a voice, to include them in the global conversation and to help them become active and engaged world citizens. She says that the world will only become a better place if the next generation is better informed than the last. In her capacity as an expert on children and the news, Nicky appears regularly on television and radio and is often commissioned to write pieces for the national broadsheet newspapers.
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- National Literacy Trust
- First News website
- Nicky Cox team member profile on the First News website
- My Way! campaign website[permanent dead link]
- YouTube – Nicky launches campaigns at Downing Street
- PR Week Editor's Desk
- Media UK
- Annual First News Reading Tour