Speakers

Our Speakers

Kamal Ahmed
Editorial Director, BBC News

In discussion with executive director Ian Murray on Thursday 12 November at 12 noon. Rewatch here

Kamal Ahmed is Editorial Director of BBC News, working across news strategy, daily news and planning, analysis, visual journalism and new forms of digital content. He is a member of the Newsgroup Board and the Sounds board. Between 2016 and 2018 Kamal was Economics Editor for the BBC, leading economics coverage for the corporation. He joined the BBC in April 2014 as Business Editor from the Telegraph Media Group where he was Executive Business Editor with responsibility for The Sunday Telegraph’s business and economics coverage.

Between 2007 and 2009 Kamal was Group Director, Communications, at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the regulator charged with upholding and enforcing equality and human rights legislation in Britain.

Before joining the Commission in 2007, Kamal was Executive Editor, News, at The Observer. He was a member of the team that developed and re-launched The Observer as a mid-size full colour Sunday, a development that won Newspaper of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2005, the highest award for any newspaper. Between 2000 and 2004, Kamal was Political Editor of The Observer, covering Tony Blair’s premiership.

He has also worked at The Guardian and Scotland on Sunday.

He graduated from Leeds University and lives in Hackney, east London. His first book, The Life and Times of a Very British Man, was published by Bloomsbury in 2018.


Rt Hon Lord Burnett of Maldon
Lord Chief Justice

In discussion with executive director Ian Murray on Thursday 19 November at 12 noon. Rewatch here. 

The Right Honourable The Lord Burnett of Maldon was born 28 February 1958. He studied law at Pembroke College, Oxford. Called to the Bar in 1980, he became a pupil and then a member of Temple Garden Chambers, where he practised until May 2008, for the last five years as head of Chambers.

Lord Burnett’s practice was in common law and public law. In the early years, he undertook a broad range of common law work including personal injury, professional negligence, landlord and tenant, crime and family law. He then focussed on public and administrative law, personal injury and health and safety law, including acting as junior counsel to the King’s Cross Fire inquiry and to the inquiry into the convictions of the Guildford Four and Maguire family. He was leading counsel to the inquiry into the Southall rail crash and into train protection systems following the Paddington train crash. His final case at the bar was as counsel to the inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi al Fayed. He was involved in many judicial review and public law cases and, in particular, in the years following 9/11 those concerning the government’s response to the risk of terrorist attack. He then joined the High Court Bench.

Lord Burnett was junior counsel for the Crown, Common Law from 1992 and was appointed as a Queens Counsel in 1998. Appointed as a Recorder in 1998, he sat as a part-time judge in the Crown Court trying criminal cases. On appointment to the High Court in 2008 Lord Burnett joined the Queen’s Bench Division hearing civil law, and public law cases in the Administrative Court, trying serious crime out of London and sitting in the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division. He was Presiding Judge of the Western Circuit from 2011 until 2014 when he was appointed to the Court of Appeal. He was also Deputy Chairman of the Security Vetting Appeals Panel. In the Court of Appeal Lord Burnett heard the full range of civil, family and criminal appeals and continued to sit in Divisional Courts of the High Court. Lord Burnett was the judge of the Court of Appeal with responsibility for extradition cases and was also supervising Lord Justice for immigration and public law appeals. He was Vice Chairman of the independent Judicial Appointments Commission from November 2015 until March 2017. He was appointed Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales on 1 October 2017.

He is President of all the Court of England and Wales, sits in both the Criminal and Civil divisions of the Court of Appeal, in the Divisional Court and also in the Supreme Court.


Rachel Corp
Editor of ITV News

In discussion with the SoE on Thursday 26 November at 12 noon. Rewatch here. 

Rachel Corp Is the Editor of ITV News, in charge of all editorial output of ITV national news, TV and digital as well as oversight on ITV News-produced programmes. Previously she was Editor of 5 News and ITV London. She leads a large team in the UK and abroad, as well as playing a senior role more widely in ITN’s management. ITV News’ daily bulletins Lunchtime News, Evening News and News at Ten are all currently enjoying increased ratings at an incredibly busy and important time for news. Rachel has a reputation for being a passionate, committed leader who delivers high quality, bold and distinctive content and also believes in driving change, not least in the areas of diversity and inclusion.


Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP
Minister of State for Media and Data

In discussion with the SoE on Tuesday 1 December at 12 noon. Register here. 

John Whittingdale was appointed Minister of State for Media and Data in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 14 February 2020. 

Before serving as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from May 2015 until 14 July 2016, he was the chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. He is a member of the OSCE and the Conservative Party where he was elected Conservative MP for Maldon in 1992. 


Christian Broughton
Managing Director, The Independent

In discussion with the SoE on Thursday 3 December at 12 noon. Register here. 


Alison Gow
Audience and Content Editor North West, Reach plc

Chairing Mental Health in the Newsroom on Tuesday 10 November, 6pm – Rewatch here

And chairing State of Training with the NCTJ on Wednesday 2 December, 6pm – Register here  

Elected President of the Society of Editors in November 2019, Alison Gow is Audience and Content Editor for the North West with Reach plc, and publisher of Laudable, a Google-funded collaboration between Reach and JPI Media to innovate and investigate opportunities for podcasts and audio for local news. Alison is a former newspaper editor and digital editor, with titles including WalesOnline, the Daily Post and the Liverpool Echo.


Jon Birchall
Sport Audience and Content Director, Reach plc

Jon is the Sport Audience and Content Director at Reach PLC, overseeing sports audience strategy across brands such as the Mirror, Manchester Evening News and Liverpool ECHO. He has previously worked at Manchester United and Goal. He is also an Associate Member of the News Media Coalition.


John Crowley
Freelance editor and consultant

John Crowley is a London-based editor and consultant who has more than two decades of experience working for local, national and international news titles. He has taken on news desk, digital and managerial roles for The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and The Irish Post among others. As a freelance journalist he writes and commissions content around business, tech, newsroom management, burnout and disinformation. As a consultant, he advises companies on how to navigate the ever-changing digital media landscape and works with newsrooms on how to act on audience insights. He is currently co-writing a book for PR comms professionals on how to pitch to journalists – without annoying them.


Shirish Kulkarni
Community Organiser, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Shirish is an award-winning investigative journalist, researcher and mental health consultant with 25 years’ experience working in all of the UK’s major broadcast newsrooms.

He now combines research on innovative forms of news storytelling with his work as a Community Organiser at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Alongside his journalism roles, he’s also been a ChildLine counsellor, holds a certificate in counselling and psychotherapy and is an accredited Mental Health First Aid trainer.


Hannah Storm
CEO, Ethical Journalism Network

Hannah Storm is the CEO of the Ethical Journalism Network, and the former director of the journalism safety charity, the International News Safety Institute. She is also a media consultant specialising in gender, mental health and newsroom leadership, and has co-authored publications on the kidnapping of journalists, the safety of women in the news media, and moral injury. Earlier this year, Hannah shared her own diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder in an attempt to tackle some of the taboos around mental health in the newsroom. She is also working across the industry to convene conversations between news organisations to discuss collective solutions to better support journalists’ mental well being. 


Marc Reeves
Marketplace publisher, Midlands & Wales, Reach plc

Chairing Lockdown lessons from Leicester and beyond on Wednesday 11 November, 6pm – Rewatch here

Marc is marketplace publisher in the Midlands and Wales for Reach plc and is responsible for some of the biggest regional newspapers and websites in the UK. He has been editor of the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail and Reading Chronicle and has spent more than thirty years in the regional press.


Liz Hannam
Head of News, ITV Central

Liz is the Head of News for ITV Central in the Midlands. Although originally from Dorset, Birmingham is her adopted home. She went to university in the city and her first TV job was as ITV Central’s trainee in its then Broad Street studios. Most of her TV career has been as a Head of News, previously leading teams in Bristol and Plymouth, before returning to the Midlands in 2011. Under her leadership her teams have won national RTS awards and top industry online awards. She regularly advises on ITV News projects involving Diversity and Inclusion.


Jane Haynes
BirminghamLive & Birmingham Mail People & Politics editor

Jane is politics and people editor at Birmingham Live. Her role is to show how political decisions made in Westminster and council chambers impact on communities and residents, giving voice particularly to those most adversely affected, from homeless families trapped in B&Bs, to a school on the receiving end of hateful protests, from refugees in crisis to families grieving lives lost to coronavirus. Jane learned her craft as a journalist in the 1990s, working as a reporter and then on newsdesks in Shropshire, Wolverhampton, Swansea and Nottingham. She quit journalism for 15 years before a crashing midlife realisation that no other job came close.


Dan Martin
Politics reporter, LeicestershireLive & Leicester Mercury

Dan has been a reporter at the Leicester Mercury and LeicestershireLive since 2001.

Since 2011 he has been the politics correspondent and has covered some of the most significant stories affecting the city, from the discovery of the remains of Richard III under a council social services car park to the 2018 King Power Stadium helicopter crash – and now Leicester Lockdown. His coverage of the lockdown was recently recognised, along with that of local democracy reporter colleague Amy Orton, in the Behind Local News’ Public Interest Journalism list and his stories have regularly been featured in national and international media.


Ruth Smeeth
Chief executive, Index on Censorship

Currently the Chief Executive of Index on Censorship, Ruth was previously the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North & Kidsgrove from 2015-2019.  During that time she was the Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Parliamentary Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement.  Before her election Ruth ran HOPE not hate the anti-extremism campaign which defeated the BNP and EDL.  Ruth has also worked in the trade union, third sector and private sectors. 


Ceri Gould
Editorial Revenue Director, Reach plc

Chairing The size of Wales debate on Monday 16 November, 6pm – Rewatch here

Ceri is the Editorial Revenue Director for Reach Plc. She started her career on her local paper, the Glamorgan Gazette, discovering no better training ground than reporting on the community you’re a part of. Her career took her to the Western Mail, Wales On Sunday culminating in editing WalesOnline before moving to London to become Editor-in-Chief of the South East and Cambridge region. Her present role draws on all her journalistics know-how and ability to think like a reader in order to navigate new, creative ways of funding journalism in these most taxing of times.


Ashok Ahir
Deputy Director, Cabinet Office Communications

Ashok is a former BBC programme-maker and editor and now works at a senior level in government communications. For more than a decade he was Executive Editor, Politics at BBC Cymru Wales, leading a large team of reporters and programme-makers covering events in Cardiff Bay, Westminster and Brussels.

Until recently he was Director of Communications for the UK Government in Wales and is currently working on major communications projects for the Cabinet Office.

He is Chair of the National Eisteddfod’s Management Board, a board member at Sport Wales and sits on the British Council’s Wales Advisory Committee. 


Carolyn Hitt
Freelance Journalist and Co-Founder, Parasol Media

An award-winning journalist, Carolyn began her career on The Western Mail – where she became Features Editor – before switching to broadcasting. In 2012 she co-founded the all-woman production company Parasol Media. Carolyn has presented programmes for BBC1, BBC2, BBC Wales, ITV Wales, Radio 4 and Radio Wales and as a Bafta-nominated producer has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. She combines the broadcasting day job with a freelance writing career. She has written for The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and has been a weekly columnist for The Western Mail for more than 25 years. In June 2020 she won Columnist of the Year at the Society of Editors UK Regional Press Awards for the third year running. Carolyn has a particular passion for rugby and has written two books and made numerous programmes on the subject.


Helen Mary Jones MS
Chair, Media Committee, Welsh Parliament

Current chair of the Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, Helen Mary is also Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Economy, Tackling Poverty, and Transport. Re-elected to the National Assembly in August 2018, she is the Assembly Member for Mid and West having previously served in the National Assembly between 1999 and 2011. She most recently worked as the deputy director of the Morgan Academy at Swansea University. A former Senior Development Manager with the Equal Opportunities Commission in Wales, she has served as Shadow Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, and a member of the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee, the Equality of Opportunity Committee, the South West Wales Regional Committee and as a member of the Voluntary Sector Partnership.


Paul Rowland
Audience and Content Director, Media Wales

Paul is audience and content director for Media Wales, overseeing the company’s Welsh titles, including WalesOnline, the Western Mail, South Wales Echo and South Wales Evening Post, and is also responsible for a range of strategic projects across Reach’s UK-wide digital portfolio. Paul has worked for Media Wales since joining the Western Mail as a trainee news reporter in 2005, becoming editor of WalesOnline in March 2016. Paul was promoted to the role of editor-in-chief in May 2016 and has led the development of publishing operations across Media Wales’ Cardiff and Swansea newsrooms following the merger between Reach plc and Local World. He has been named by the NCTJ on a list of the UK’s most respected journalists. 


Polly Curtis
Managing Director, PA Media

Chairing Diversity in the News Media on Wednesday 18 November, 6pm – Rewatch here

Polly is Managing Director of PA Media, the UK’s news agency. She has a uniquely broad experience having worked as a reporter, news editor, and then digital editor at the Guardian before leading HuffPost UK as Editor-In-Chief and then helping devise new business models with the slow news start-up Tortoise. Polly served on the Cairncross Review for the future sustainability of high-quality news and is a member of the board of the Society of Editors.


Leon Mann
Broadcaster and Founder, Black Collective of Media in Sport

Leon is a sports consultant, film-maker and broadcaster. His career in the sports media has seen him take on numerous roles including presenting for BBC Sport and ITV Sport. He is the founder of the Black Collective of Media in Sport, a networking group for black sports journalists, and is also the co-founder of the Football Black List, an initiative – supported by the Premier League – that highlights the achievements of the black community in the sport.  Leon is the current vice chair of the Sports Journalists Association and is a former spokesperson for Kick It Out, football’s equality campaign, and also the FARE network. He was recognised in 2018 by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, for his work striving to increase diversity in the media.


Shingi Mararike
News Reporter, The Sunday Times

Shingi helped to launch News UK’s diversity initiative, the News Academy, while he was still a student and was hired as The Sunday Times’s first apprentice in 2017. A reporter since 2018, his story about children using corrosive fluid as a weapon kickstarted the paper’s “Acid Attack Britain” campaign. He is also interested in reporting on social mobility, race and some of the causes behind serious youth violence. Shingi has written for ten different sections of The Sunday Times in two years and regularly appears on Times Radio.


Eleanor Mills
Founder and CEO, InHerSpace.co.uk and Chair, Women in Journalism

Eleanor is Founder and CEO of InHerSpace.co.uk a new online magazine for women in the prime of their lives, which offers thought-leadership, media consultancy, media training (specialising in a by women for women approach) and expert-led therapeutic advice and online groups to help with life-pinch points and transitions.  She is currently writing her first novel – The Trip, about female mid-life crisis and reinvention. She is Chair of Women in Journalism and an award-winning Editor, writer and columnist. Until summer 2020 she was Editorial Director of The Sunday Times and the award-winning Editor of The Sunday Times Magazine. Eleanor is a trustee of the Society of Editors, and a board member of Reporters Sans Frontiers UK.


Vic Motune
Head of News, The Voice

Vic is Head of News at The Voice, the UK’s largest publication aimed at a black British audience. His role involves developing content for the print edition, as well as video and audio content for The Voice’s website and social media platforms.

A journalist whose experience includes print, radio, and television news he has won two Race in the Media Awards for his work and a MIND award for reporting on mental health.

Before joining The Voice, Vic was a producer with 5 Live, creating and producing the weekly magazine show Word Up! He has also written for publications such as the New Statesman, the Big Issue North, and Mental Health Practice to name a few.


Joy Yates
Editorial Director, JPIMedia Scotland

Chairing Tackling the increase in online abuse against our journalists on Monday 23 November, 6pm – Rewatch here

Joy Yates is the interim Editorial Director for JPIMedia Scotland titles The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, Edinburgh Evening News, Falkirk Herald and Fife Free Press.

Prior to her secondment, Joy was Editorial Director for the North East daily titles the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and the weekly title, the Northumberland Gazette.

She is on the Society of Editors board of directors and is a former chair of the Society of Editors Northern Region. 

An award-winning journalist, Joy is an industry adviser for Sunderland University on behalf of the National Council for the Training of Journalists.


Louise Bradford
Managing Director of Creo Comms

Louise Bradford founded Creo Communications, a North East based strategic communications consultancy, in 2014.  During the course of her 15-year career in comms, Louise has worked with a range of public and private sector clients, including supporting brands like NHS England, Berghaus, Invest North East England and a number of local authorities.  Having lectured in social media at the University of Sunderland, and as the leader of a business that supports clients with social media strategy and delivery, as well as traditional communications, Louise has seen first-hand how social media can be a force for good, but has also witnessed its damaging impact when used to push hatred and abuse. 


Helen Dalby
Audience and content director for Reach plc North East, Yorkshire and Humber

Helen Dalby is audience and content director for Reach plc in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, and edits Reach’s North East portfolio. She was born and raised in Newcastle, where she lives with her husband and ten-year-old son. Helen joined Reach in 2007 to work on the launch of ChronicleLive and since then has overseen its evolution into the region’s biggest news website. She’s also a board director for the NewcastleGateshead Initiative public-private partnership and chair of the board of trustees of the Chronicle’s Sunshine Fund charity, which funds life-changing equipment for children with disabilities in the North East.


Lee Hall
Head of School of Media and Communications, University of Sunderland

Lee Hall is Head of School of Media and Communications at the University of Sunderland, formerly Head of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, overseeing NCTJ-accredited undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

He is contributing editor of the Professional Footballers’ Association magazine and edited national magazines at Future Publishing. He has also worked for regional newspaper titles and was digital editor of the Sunderland Echo.


Karl Holbrook
Group Editor for Newsquest North East and editor of the Northern Echo

Karl Holbrook is Group Editor for Newsquest’s North East titles, including the flagship Northern Echo. He was previously the company’s Group Editor for Lancashire and Greater Manchester, including daily titles The Bolton News and Lancashire Telegraph. He spent more than 10 years working at JPI Media (then Johnston Press) where he was Head of News for daily titles the Lancashire Post and Blackpool Gazette, as well as stints at The Scotsman and he helped launch the company’s Big Cities Content Group leading campaigns across JPI Media’s largest brands. Karl has helped lead teams across the country to multiple industry awards for campaigns and investigations. 


Donald Martin
Editor-in-Chief of Newsquest Scotland

Chairing Information in lockdown: The importance of a free press and the difficulties of reporting in a pandemic on Tuesday 24 November, 6pm – Rewatch here

Donald is an award-winning Editor, with more than 30 years’ experience editing National, Regional, Sunday, Daily and Weekly titles across the UK. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Newsquest’s Scottish titles and Editor of The Herald &  Herald on Sunday.

Previously Head of Publishing for DC Thomson’s magazines including The People’s Friend, My Weekly, Scots Mag, Scottish Wedding Directory and No1 Magazine and Editor-in-Chief of DC Thomson Newspapers and Editor of The Sunday Post and Weekly News.

Former Editor of the Evening Times in Glasgow, Evening Express in Aberdeen and the North West Evening Mail in Cumbria; deputy editor of the Cambridge Evening News and Group Editor at Thames Valley Free Newspapers.

He won his first editorship at the age of 24, launching the Edinburgh and Lothians Post.

Donald is the Scottish media representative on the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee of the Independent Press Standards Organisation. He previously served for many years on the National Council for Training of Journalists.


David Clegg
Editor, The Courier

David Clegg was appointed the editor of The Courier in October 2019. It was a return to the paper he had started out on as a reporter in 2007 before serving as political editor between 2010 and 2012. Immediately prior to his appointment David was assistant editor and political editor of the Daily Record in Glasgow. He is a former convener of the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association, a four-time winner of political journalist of the year at the Scottish Press Awards and was Scotland’s journalist of the year for 2018. 


Lorraine Herbision
Head of News & Sport, Bauer Media Scotland

Lorraine heads up all news and sport output for Bauer Media’s eight radio stations in Scotland.

 She is also the Bauer Radio News UK voice coach. 

Before that Lorraine was responsible for the news and sport department at Radio Clyde and read news bulletins, jokingly known as ‘Big Lorraine’ on the Clyde 1 breakfast show with George Bowie. 

Originally from Northern Ireland, she started her career in newspapers at the Lennox Herald before moving to the Evening Times in Glasgow. 

Lorraine sits on the Board of Radio Clyde’s Cash for Kids, the Editorial Board for IRN (Independent Radio News) and the BJTC (Broadcast Journalism Training Council).


John McLellan
Director of Scottish Newspaper Society

John McLellan is director of the Scottish Newspaper Society and honorary professor of journalism at Stirling University where he lectures in media law. He is also a member of the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee and the Advertising Standards Authority (CAP committee). 

He was formerly editor-in-chief of Scotsman Publications Ltd, and over a 15-year period edited the Edinburgh Evening News, Scotland on Sunday and The Scotsman, also serving as a Press Complaints Commissioner. After leaving The Scotsman he worked as director of communications for the Scottish Conservative Party with Ruth Davidson and is now a City of Edinburgh Scottish Conservative councillor.


Martin Breen
Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Independent News and Media in Northern Ireland

Chairing Northern Ireland: A place apart? on Tuesday 1 December, 6pm Register here

Martin Breen is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Independent News and Media in Northern Ireland which publishes the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life. In this role he retains the Editorship of Sunday Life. Martin first joined the Belfast Telegraph as a graduate trainee in 1998, later becoming a reporter at Sunday Life. He left in October 2001 to join News UK, rejoining Sunday Life as Executive Editor in January 2008 and becoming Editor in May 2009.


Noel Doran
Editor of the Irish News

Noel Doran is the longest serving editor of a daily newspaper in Ireland, north or south, having been appointed to his post at The Irish News in April, 1999. He was previously the paper’s deputy editor and also worked for Downtown Radio/Cool FM, The Belfast Telegraph, The Ballymena Observer and The Antrim Guardian. He was named Northern Ireland’s feature writer of the year at the 1998 Institute of Public Relations awards. In a poll among readers of the Hold The Front Page website in February 2020, he was voted the UK’s best regional daily editor of the 21st century.


Sam McBride
Political Editor of News Letter

Sam McBride is the News Letter’s Political Editor, having begun his career at the Belfast Telegraph after studying English literature and then a postgraduate course in newspaper journalism at Ulster University. His first book, Burned: The Inside Story of the ‘Cash-for-Ash’ Scandal and Northern Ireland’s Secretive New Elite, was published by Merrion Press in October 2019 and became a Sunday Times, Irish Times and Amazon bestseller. Sam is also a frequent broadcaster, providing analysis of political developments to audiences in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, and beyond. 


Fergal McGoldrick
Specialist media litigation solicitor, Carson McDowell

Fergal McGoldrick is a specialist media litigation solicitor with Carson McDowell in Belfast. He acts on behalf of numerous publishers including Sunday Life, The Irish Independent, The Sun, Belfast Telegraph and The Daily Telegraph defending libel, privacy and data protection cases in Northern Ireland.

A Chamber and Partners ranked defamation and reputation management specialist for seven consecutive years, he also delivers guest lectures on media law at Ulster University’s MA in Journalism (NCTJ accredited), was consulted on the Northern Ireland chapter of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, (24 th Ed.,) and provides commentary to the media on media law matters.


Allison Morris
Crime and Security Correspondent and Columnist at the Irish News

Allison Morris is a crime and security correspondent and columnist with the Irish News in Belfast. A journalist for over 21 years she has won a number awards, including NUJ journalist of the year, CIPR columnist of the year and Society of Editors, journalist of the year and columnist of the year.


Mike Nesbitt MLA,
Former Ulster Unionist Party leader

Mike Nesbitt is a Member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Strangford since 2011 and a former broadcaster.

Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 2012-17, Nesbitt has held positions including Chair for the Committee of the Executive Office and Chief Negotiator for the UUP at the Stormont House Talks in 2014.

He was one of Northern Ireland’s Victims Commissioners from 2007-10 where he was appointed to promote the interests of victims and survivors of the Northern Ireland conflict.

Prior to his political career, Nesbitt spent 13 years as an anchor and broadcast journalist for Ulster Television covering events from the Omagh bombing to the talks leading to the Good Friday Agreement.

Nesbitt was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge.


Sian Cox-Brooker
Strategic Partner Manager, Facebook

Appearing on the State of Training with NCTJ on Wednesday 2 December, 6pm – Register here

Sian is a Strategic Partner Manager at Facebook working on partnerships and collaboration between Facebook and the news industry. Sian joined Facebook from Google where she worked on innovative partnerships with newspapers across Europe, focussing on VR and video. She started her career as a journalist, working at Sky News and at News UK, reporting on a range of stories including home affairs,  the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and the royal wedding.


Will Gore
Head of Partnerships and Projects, NCTJ

Will joined the NCTJ in June 2019, with particular responsibility for the oversight of partnerships and projects. He worked for ESI Media between 2011 and 2019, first as deputy managing editor across the group’s Independent and Evening Standard titles, then as executive editor for The Independent. Before that he worked at the Press Complaints Commission, joining as a complaints officer in 2000, and subsequently becoming assistant director, then director of external & public affairs.


Bridgid Nzekwu
Director of Media Training, PA Media

PA Media’s award-winning Director of Media Training.  ‘Outstanding Woman in Professional Services’ at the 2018 Precious Awards.  Bridgid oversees the provision of media training, PR/Comms training courses and media/comms strategy services for PA’s clients.  She joined PA in 2014 and is a specialist in preparing high-profile speakers and spokespeople for media interviews, crisis/hostile interviews, Select Committee appearances, major speeches, panels.  Over 20 years in the top-flight of broadcast journalism (including 10 years as a presenter and reporter at Channel 4 News) and 10 years in the field of specialist communications training (including 7 years at PA Media).


Sam Cooper
Journalism Course Leader, The Sheffield College

Sam Cooper is the journalism course leader at The Sheffield College. He teaches the NCTJ Multimedia Diploma as part of the college’s fast-track course, which is delivered across 28 weeks as well as the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production, regulated by the University of the Arts London. Sam made the switch to teaching in September 2019 after previously working on newsdesks at Sheffield Star, Rotherham Advertiser and Pontefract and Castleford Express. He is passionate about ensuring students are equipped with the skills needed in a modern-day newsroom.