Information in lockdown to form focus of Scotland panel debate

Posted on: October 30, 2020 by Claire Meadows

The difficulties of reporters in Scotland accessing information during the coronavirus pandemic is to form the basis of a media discussion at the upcoming Society of Editors’ Virtual Conference for 2020.

Titled ‘Information in Lockdown: The importance of a free press and the difficulties of reporting in a pandemic’, the free discussion on the evening of Tuesday 24 November 2020 will hear from frontline journalists and press freedom bodies in Scotland about the difficulties around accessing and conveying accurate information during the pandemic when devolved governments continue to operate separately and whether UK and Scottish pandemic briefings have been effective from a Scottish media perspective.

Chaired by Donald Martin, Editor-in-Chief of Newsquest Scotland, the debate will also hear from David Clegg, Editor of The Courier, Lorraine Herbison, Head of News and Sport Scotland for Hits Radio Network & Greatest Hits Radio, John McLellan, Director of the Scottish Newspaper Society and Joy Yates, Interim Editorial Director of JPI Media Scotland.

Looking ahead to the debate, Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society of Editors said that with devolved governments leading on different approaches to the pandemic, the discussion was an opportunity to hear from journalists in Scotland about the unique challenges and experiences they have faced in reporting on behalf of Scottish audiences.

He said: “From the start of the pandemic the Scottish government has led on its own strategic approach to suppressing the virus and, as such, journalists in Scotland have faced their own unique challenges and experiences of accessing and conveying information to the Scottish public.

“We look forward to hearing firsthand the reality of these challenges and, in particular, the difficulties around accessing and conveying accurate information when devolved governments continue to operate differently and implement their own restrictions.”

The ‘Information in Lockdown’ is free to register and comes as part of the Society’s Virtual Conference for 2020 which will include four In Discussion with… keynote talks as well as eight panel debates in the nations and regions held virtually over the course of November and early December. Panel discussions will also focus on diversity in the news media, experiences from the Leicester lockdown, the online abuse of journalists, mental health in the newsroom, Wales’ contribution to spheres including politics, sport and creative thinking, threats to journalists in Northern Ireland and training and continuous personal development. Details of all the panels and how to register is available on the Society of Editors website.

The In Discussion with…series will hear from Kamal Ahmed, Editorial Director of BBC News, Rachel Corp, newly appointed editor of ITV News and the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett of Maldon. Details of how to register for the keynote talks can be found here.

Speaker biographies appear below.

Donald Martin, editor-in-chief, Newsquest Scotland 

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.

Joy Yates, Interim Editorial Director, JPI Media Scotland

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.