Society of Editors Virtual Conference for 2020 launches today

Posted on: November 10, 2020 by Claire Meadows

The Society of Editors (SoE) free Virtual Conference for 2020 launches today (Tuesday 10 November) with registration still open for this evening’s debate on mental health in the newsroom.

Taking place virtually over the course of November and early December, the conference will see four In Discussion with… keynote talks as well as eight panel debates in the nations and regions.

This week’s programme includes the launch debate tonight on mental health in the newsroom with lockdown lessons from Leicester and other UK newsrooms forming the focus of a dedicated panel discussion on the evening of Wednesday 11 November.  A keynote discussion with BBC Editorial Director Kamal Ahmed will also take place at Noon on Thursday 12 November.

Launching the conference, Ian Murray, Executive Director of the SoE said that the Society’s programme of events would enable it to engage with journalists and stakeholders about key issues that mattered across the industry.

He said: “In any other year we would be welcoming delegates in person to our annual conference, but for obvious reasons this autumn is different. That has not prevented us from ensuring that the heart of our conference, the bringing together of some of the finest minds in the news media industry to debate the hottest topics, should go ahead.

“This year has seen our industry rise to challenge after challenge, keeping the public informed on what must surely be the greatest story of our age. I hope as many of you as possible will join us to explore how the media has covered the pandemic and a host of other issues as well as tackling the most important challenges facing our industry today.”

Tonight’s debate on mental health in the newsroom will be chaired by SoE President Alison Gow, Audience and Content Editor for Reach North West. The panel will also hear from Hannah Storm, CEO of the Ethical Journalism Network, Shirish Kulkarni, Community Organiser for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Freelance editor and consultant John Crowley and Jon Birchall, Reach’s sports audience strategy director. The discussion aims to explore topics such as: What does mental wellbeing and self-care actually mean for those working in newsrooms? Can journalism be the cause of an illness? And what can editors do to make a difference? Those wishing to submit questions ahead of the debate can do so via this anonymous Google form:

Details of how to register for the full free programme of conference events can be found here with more information on the rest of this week’s programme of events appearing below.

Lockdown Lessons from Leicester and Beyond
Wednesday 11 November 2020, 6pm
Register here

With England now into a second national lockdown, the panel will hear from journalists in the Midlands about the experiences across the UK of 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, the panel will include Liz Hannam, Head of News at 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.

Kamal Ahmed: The Future of BBC News in a Changing Media Landscape
Thursday 12 November 2020, 12 Noon
Register here

The Society’s first In Discussion With… interview will hear from BBC Editorial Director Kamal Ahmed on The Future of BBC News in a Changing Media Landscape. With the BBC reporting significant success in capturing audiences during the current pandemic crisis, yet at the same time facing questions over alleged bias and its very future, the corporation’s Editorial Director will join SoE director Ian Murray to discuss what the future holds for reporting the news for the world’s most successful public broadcaster.