Society’s Virtual Conference for 2020 launches tomorrow

Posted on: November 9, 2020 by Claire Meadows

The countdown is on to the launch of tomorrow’s Society of Editors free Virtual Conference for 2020.

Taking place from Tuesday 10 November 2020, the conference will see 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.

This week’s programme includes the launch of the conference on Tuesday 10 November with a debate on mental health in the newsroom and lockdown lessons from Leicester and other UK newsrooms forming the focus of discussions 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.

Ahead of tomorrow’s debate on mental health in the newsroom, the Society is also asking journalists around the country to submit their questions. 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? You can submit your own questions via this anonymous Google form:

Details of how to register for the full free programme of conference events can be found here with details of how to book for this week’s events below.

Mental Health in the Newsroom
Tuesday 10 November 2020, 6pm
Register here
Top journalists and industry network leaders will debate what steps newsrooms could take to make a real difference to employees’ mental health and wellbeing. From investigating what mental wellbeing and self-care actually mean for those working in newsrooms the panel will also discuss what editors can do to make a a difference.   Chaired by SoE President Alison Gow, who is Audience and Content Editor for Reach North West, the discussion 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.
Send in your questions anonymously ahead of the debate here.

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.


Details of all the panel discussions in the weeks ahead alongside how to book for keynote talks with the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon and Rachel Corp, newly-appointed editor of ITV News can be found here.