News

North East media leaders to debate how to tackle online abuse

Posted on: October 26, 2020 by Mariella Brown

Editors and leading media thinkers are to tackle the question of journalists facing online abuse in a panel for the Society of Editors’ Virtual Conference.

With 84% of journalists recently reporting that more needs to be done to combat abuse and the launch of a UK National Committee for the Safety of Journalists amid reports that the government is set to introduce new laws to provide more protections, this leading panel will discuss what more can – and should – be done to address this issue. 

Chaired by JPIMedia interim Editorial Director Joy Yates, panellists will debate the topic ‘Tackling the increase in online abuse against our journalists’ to take place on Monday 23 November at 6pm.

Yates, formerly of the Sunderland Echo, will hear from figures from the North East as part of the SoE’s Virtual Conference sessions in the nations and regions of the UK.

Joining the debate will be Louise Bradford, Managing Director of Creo Comms, who through her strategic consultancy and university lecturing 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. 

Reach’s Audience & Content Director for the North East, Helen Dalby, who edits the region’s portfolio of newspapers and websites will offer her perspective on the matter since seeing through the launch of ChronicleLive into the North East’s biggest news website.  

Also on the panel is Lee Hall, Head of School of Media and Communications at the University of Sunderland. Hall is a former digital editor of the Sunderland Echo and now leads undergraduate and postgraduate NCTJ training.

Karl Holbrook is Group Editor for Newsquest North East and holds editorship of The Northern Echo in his portfolio. Formerly of the Bolton News and Lancashire Telegraph, over his career Holbrook has helped lead teams across the country to multiple industry awards for campaigns and investigations. 

While the panel’s speakers are regionally-focused, the SoE welcomes contributions from journalists nationwide. Registration for the debate is now open here.

This debate is part of the Society of Editors’ Virtual Conference 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.

Meet the speakers of the debate:

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. 

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

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.