Leicester lockdown debate to look at experiences of journalists covering Covid-19

Posted on: November 11, 2020 by Claire Meadows

With the Society’s Virtual Conference for 2020 now underway, registration is still open for tonight’s (Wednesday 11 November 2020) ‘Lockdown Lessons from Leicester’ debate which will explore the experiences of journalists covering the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Taking place at 6pm tonight, the debate will hear from leading print and broadcast journalists in the Midlands and free speech campaigners about their experiences over the past few months. Alongside hearing more about the flow of information from official bodies during the pandemic, the panel will discuss the experiences of on-the-ground reporters across the UK trying to get accurate, timely and trusted information to their readers, listeners and viewers. 

Chaired by Marc Reeves, former editor of the Birmingham Mail and Marketplace Publisher for Reach plc in the Midlands, the panel will include Liz Hannam, Head of News for ITV Central, Jane Haynes, BirminghamLive & Birmingham Mail People & Politics editor, Dan Martin, Politics reporter for LeicestershireLive and the Leicester Mercury and Ruth Smeeth, chief executive at Index on Censorship. 

Looking to the debate, Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society said that as England now finds itself in a second national lockdown, the panel will look more closely at the disruption of the past few months and also consider any long-term implications for media freedoms. 

He said: “Although the panel will hear from journalists in the Midlands, the experiences and lessons that have been learnt are applicable across the UK. We look forward to hearing more about the challenges of not only reporting on the pandemic from a journalistic perspective and meeting audiences’ expectations but also the experiences of journalists around public sector communications and their experiences accessing information at both a central and local level on behalf of readers, viewers and listeners.”

Registration for the free event is open and the debate will take place at 6pm via Crowdcast. The debate 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 held virtually over the course of November and early December.

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 all the debates and talks are available here.