Speakers and Chairs

Matthew Barraclough, Editor, BBC Journalism Working Group

A broadcast journalist since 1995, Matthew spent ten years as a radio programme maker in the North East of England and a further seven years as a BBC station editor. Since 2013 he has worked across the BBC’s local radio network in various capacities including increasing the number of female presenters on air and running GNS, the bit of BBC News which supplies all domestic radio services with its news content.

Currently he’s involved in drawing up the partnerships between the BBC and other local news organisations which will form part of the next Charter.


Chris Blackhurst, Executive Director, CTF Partners

Born and raised in Cumbria, Chris Blackhurst was a Fleet Street journalists for 33 years, working on The Sunday Times, Independent and Observer in news, politics, City and investigations. He was Editor of The Independent from 2011 to 2013. Previously he’d been Deputy Editor of the Independent and Express titles. For 10 years he was City Editor of the London Evening Standard. He’s also written for magazines and appeared regularly on television and radio. Chris has won numerous industry awards.

In March this year, he left journalism to become Executive Director of Sir Lynton Crosby’s communications and campaigning advisory firm, CTF Partners.


Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman

dcc-simon-chesterman-thumbNational Lead for Armed Policing Simon has been a police officer for 32 years. For 23 years he served with Thames Valley Police and was promoted through the ranks and, as a Chief Superintendent he commanded a police area covering the county of Buckinghamshire. In January 2014 he was appointed as Deputy Chief Constable with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, a national armed police force with over 1200 officers.

Simon has been the national lead on Armed Policing, on behalf of National Police Chiefs Council, for eight years.  For five years he was also the national lead on Less Lethal Weapons.


Jeremy Clifford, Editor-in-Chief, Johnston Press

Jeremy was appointed Johnston Press’ first Editor-in-Chief in 2015 and was formerly Editorial Director of the Yorkshire Post. Jeremy started his career at the Derby Evening Telegraph before moving to the South Wales Echo.

His previous roles include Deputy Editor of the Leicester Mercury, Editor of the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph and Editor of The Star in Sheffield.


Peter Clifton, Editor-in-Chief, Press Association

Peter has been Editor-in-Chief of the Press Association since January 2015. He was the Editor of Ceefax, and both the BBC News and Sport websites during a 15 year career at the corporation, and was also Executive Producer of the MSN UK website for three years.

Clifton began his career as a news and sports reporter at the Chronicle and Echo newspaper in his home town of Northampton, and also had a stint as chief sub on the Press Association sports desk in Fleet Street in the early 1990s.


Malcolm Coles, Director of Digital Media, Telegraph Media Group

Malcolm is the Director of Digital Media at the Telegraph Media Group, responsible for digital publishing and audience growth. As well as securing Google DNI funding for the Telegraph’s roboblogger, he was behind the launch of award winning UsVsTh3m in his previous role. He’s worked in publishing for 20 years.


Matt Cooke, Manager, News Labs, Google

UK, Ireland and Nordics lead for the News Lab at Google, a team dedicated to working with publishers to provide training, discuss innovative partnerships and share ideas.

Matt has been at Google for three years, and recently led Google’s UK election project, before that he was a television reporter and producer at BBC News for eight years.


Denise Eaton, Editor, Kent Messenger

Denise is Editor of the Kent Messenger, winner of the Weekly Newspaper of the Year at the Society of Editors’ Regional Press awards for 2015. Denise joined the KM Group in the late 1990s.

As Editor of the Gravesend and Dartford Messengers she won a host of regional and national awards, and in 2011 she became the first female editor of the flagship Kent Messenger.


Richard Fletcher, Video Innovations Editor, Trinity Mirror Regionals

richard-fletcher-thumbRichard Fletcher is the Video Innovations Editor for Trinity Mirror’s regional titles. Starting out as a reporter, he was the first journalist to join the Newcastle Chronicle’s digital team before taking on a group role across Trinity Mirror’s regional network, helping titles with video innovation such as 360 pictures and video.

In his current role he travels around the country providing video training and support to Trinity Mirror’s regional titles, helping reporters and newsdesks with shooting, editing and sourcing video.


Alison Gow, Digital Innovation Editor, Trinity Mirror Regionals

Alison-Gow-thumbAs Editor, Digital Innovation for Trinity Mirror Regionals, Alison is responsible for developing new ways of digital storytelling, exploring tools and platforms to source, curate and present information, and engage audiences. A former daily newspaper editor, she has worked in regional journalism for more than 20 years, and specialised in digital journalism since 2008.


Jonathan Grun, Emeritus Editor, Press Association

Jonathan Grun is chairman of the Society of Editors’ parliamentary and legal committee and a former president of the Society.

He is emeritus editor of the Press Association, secretary of the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee, professional chair in journalism at the University of Sheffield and vice chairman of the Defence and Security Media Advisory committee – the so-called ‘D-Notice committee’.


Jon Harris, Chairman, NAPA

Jon has been chairman of the National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA) for two years and has been Managing Director of Cavendish Press for 11 years. He started his career at the Halifax Evening Courier before joining the Press Agency in York.

He joined Cavendish Press in July 1993 as a reporter, before becoming Chief Reporter in 1996, News Editor in 1999 and then director of the company when it went limited in 2000.


Sarah Hartley, Applications Associate Manager, DNI Innovation Fund, Google

Sarah is a journalism innovator and trainer working in the UK, Europe and South Africa.

Before joining Google, she worked at The Guardian for over a decade, where she oversaw many digital innovations and product launches including ManchesterEveningNews.co.uk, the community news initiative, Guardian Local, and the crowdfunding platform Contributoria.com.


David Helliwell, Group Editorial Director, CN Group Ltd

David began his career with the Lancashire Evening Post where he was crime reporter and news editor before moving to the Yorkshire Evening Post.  He spent five years as news editor of the YEP and became assistant editor of the paper in 2001.  He was appointed editor of the Blackpool Gazette in 2003.He joined the CN Group as editor of the News & Star and weekly Cumberland News and deputy publisher of Cumbrian Newspapers Limited in 2012 and was appointed Group Editorial Director in 2015.


David Higgerson, Digital Publishing Director, Trinity Mirror Regionals

David is Digital Publishing Director at Trinity Mirror, responsible for the audience growth and content strategies across the company’s regional titles, including the Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News, Nottingham Post, WalesOnline, Bristol Post and Hull Daily Mail.

A former local government and politics reporter before moving on to newsdesks in the North West, David’s current focus is on driving greater engagement with readers.


Paul Horrocks, Partner, Essential Comms and former editor, Manchester Evening News

Paul is a partner in media engagement and strategy company Essential Comms and partner in PR and media training company the Gordon Burns Partnership.   He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Manchester Evening News, news reporter on the Daily Mail, past president of the Society of Editors and is current chairman of the Regional Press Awards.

He is a media commentator for TV and radio and a frequent BBC Breakfast newspaper reviewer.


Catherine Houlihan Managing Editor, ITV border

catherine-houlihan-thumbCatherine is Managing Editor and ITV Border and has spent almost 10 years in senior management in a range of regional ITV newsrooms.  Her career started as a reporter on the Derby Evening Telegraph, where she passed her NCTJ Proficiency Test.

She worked at the Oxford Mail and UK News before moving to ITN where she produced and programme edited across ITV Network News, Channel Five News and Westminster.


Donald Martin, Head of Publishing, DC Thomson

Donald is Head of Publishing, DC Thomson. He was previously Editor of the Sunday Post, Editor-in-Chief of the Herald and Evening Times, Editor of the Evening Times and Editor of the Evening Express in Aberdeen, a post he held for eight years. Before joining the Evening Express, Donald had been Editor of the North West Evening Mail and Deputy Editor of the Cambridge Evening News.


Ian MacGregor, Weekend Editor, Telegraph

Ian is the Weekend Editor of the Telegraph and has previously worked for the Southern Evening Echo, South West News Service, the Press Association, Daily Express and Daily Mail. He was launch editor of the Metro newspapers, editor of the Scottish Daily Mail, and deputy editor of the Evening Standard. He moved to the Telegraph group in 2007, and has been deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, and Weekend Editor.

He is Vice President of the Society of Editors.


 Sir Alan Moses, Chairman, Independent Press Standards Organisation

Sir Alan is a former Lord Justice of Appeal. In 1996, he became a high court judge, serving as Presiding Judge of the South Eastern Circuit. In 2005, he became Lord Justice Moses on joining the court of appeal. Sir Alan is passionate about music and was Chairman of Spitalfields Music and an external member of the Council of the Royal Academy of Arts.

In his capacity as Chairman of IPSO, Sir Alan chairs both the Board of Directors and the Complaints Committee.


Ian Murray, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Daily Echo

Ian is Editor of the Southern Daily Echo and the Editor in Chief of Newsquest’s Hampshire titles. He also edits the weekly free News Extra Series in the Southampton region, the New Forest Post, and Hampshire Society magazine series. He was the president of the Society of Editors for 2013-2014 and is chairman of the training committee. He is also a member of the Newspaper Society’s Marketing Committee.


Rachel Oldroyd, Editor, Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Rachel joined the Bureau as deputy editor shortly after its launch in 2010 and has led many of the organisation’s key projects. Before joining she spent 13 years at The Mail on Sunday, where she ran the award-winning Reportage section in Live magazine.

The section focused heavily on human rights violations and, under her editorship, won more than a dozen media awards. She started her career as a financial reporter working in the trade press. She became the Bureau’s Managing Editor in 2014.


Santha Rasaiah, Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Director, NMA

Santha is the Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Director of the News Media Association. The NMA represents national, regional and local news media, putting forward the industry’s views in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels.

After reading Jurisprudence at Oxford University, Santha qualified as a barrister and she has previously worked in publishing. She has written on media law, advised the Society of Editors Parliamentary and Legal Committee and received awards for her  press freedom representational work on behalf of the news media industry.


Sean Robinson, Head of News, United Utilities

sean-robinson-thumbAs Head of News and Official Spokesman for United Utilities Plc Sean is responsible for day to day and longer term communications strategy between UU, City and its 7-million customers and stakeholders across the North West of England.

This includes working with regional and national press and editorial management across the organisation’s new 24/7 digital newsroom with output on social, web and broadcast platforms. He has previously worked for Trinity Mirror, the BBC and the News Letter.


Jenni Sargent, Managing Director, First Draft News

Jenni is the Managing Director of First Draft News  an organisation set up in 2015 to provide guidance and training for journalists in social newsgathering and verification. In September 2016, she coordinated and launched the First Draft Partner Network, the first initiative of its kind to bring together global newsrooms and social networks to collaborate on tackling common issues relating to sourcing and reporting online information.

Jenni is also a director of Eyewitness Media Hub and part of a research team responsible for exploring the impact of media attention on eyewitnesses who have shared their images online.


Bob Satchwell, Executive Director, Society of Editors

10/11/14 - Bob Satchwell, Director of The Society of Editors, speaks about police and the media at the annual Society of Editors Conference hosted by the Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton. Photo: Ian Hinchliffe

Executive director of the Society of Editors since 1999, Bob started his career in journalism at the Lancashire Evening Post in 1970. He was Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards in 1977, then went on to work at the heart of Fleet Street as assistant editor for the News of the World. He was editor of the Cambridge Evening News from 1984-98, Press Gazette’s Newspaper of the Year in 1993. He is also a member of the NCTJ board, The Defence, Security and Media Advisory Notice System (DSMA) and a Trustee of the CPU, Media Trust and a director of the London Press Club. He has served on a number of government and other committees. He was awarded the Journalists’ Charity Special Award at the National Press Awards for 2012 and an International Writers Award by the International Council of Jurists in 2014. He is a Trustee of the Cambridgeshire Communities Foundation and serves on several charity committees.


Marc Settle, Trainer, BBC Academy

marc-settle-thumbMarc works for the BBC Academy (the training arm of the corporation) where he specialises in mobile journalism and social media.

Prior to the academy, Marc was a senior broadcast journalist for BBC RADIO 4.


Ramaa Sharma, Editor, Digital Pilots and Skills, BBC

Ramaa is the newly appointed Editor Digital Pilots & Skills at BBC News.  Her role involves devising and running pilots to drive change and innovation in the main newsroom.

She started her BBC career 14 years as a reporter in local radio. She spent the first half as a fully fledged multi-media journalist – presenting and reporting across TV, radio and online platforms. Discovering a natural instinct for digital innovation she has spent the later part of her career leading small and large digital transformation programmes home and abroad.


Darren Sher, Head of Product, Trinity Mirror

Darren heads the product development of over 70 regional online news titles at Trinity Mirror. His role also oversees the native iOS and Android app portfolio of the national and regional titles including The Mirror, Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and more. Darren has also launched several online businesses of which his first was sold to DMGT to form part of their media recruitment and networking site ProductionBase. Darren is also currently the Director and founder of the e-commerce site GadgetBaby.co.uk.


Raymond Snoddy, Journalist, television presenter, author and media commentator

Former presenter of the BBC’s NewsWatch programme, Ray Snoddy started his career on local and regional newspapers before joining the Times in 1971. He moved to the Financial Times in 1978 and reported on media issues for 19 years before returning to the Times as media editor.

Raymond was the presenter of Channel 4’s award-winning Hard News series, which covered the press, and also presented Media Monthly on Sky News.


Gemma-Louise Stevenson, Journalist, BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme

gemma-louise-stevenson-thumbA former recipient of the Journalism Diversity Fund, Gemma is now working for the BBC and specialising in sport as part of the BBC trainee scheme. She has appeared a number of times as a guest debater on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and has previously worked as a roving sports reporter for Radio Peterborough as well as developing the blog Wheely Sporty Girl, where she reports on her sporting adventures in the hope that it will encourage more disabled people to get involved in sport.

Tony Thompson, Chair, Emergency Planning Society

Tony has been Chair of the Emergency Planning Society since 2015. He began his career in the RAF before joining the British Transport Police where he served for 32 years, rising to the rank of Superintendent. His time at the BTP covered the series of train disasters from Clapham Junction through to Potters Bar.

On leaving BTP he was the government’s Regional Resilience Director for the South West Region for two years, and went on to become the Head of UK Emergency Response and Resilience for the Red Cross.


Nick Turner, Digital Strategy Manager, CN Group and President, Society of Editors

Nick Turner is digital strategy manager for the Cumbrian based CN Group and edits several websites including in-cumbria.com and cumbrialive.co.uk. He has over 20 years’ experience in regional journalism and founded the Digital Editors’ Network in conjunction with Francois Nel of UCLan.

The Network brings together online media managers from the national and regional press to share best practice.


Dave Whaley, Editor, Oldham Chronicle

David is Managing Editor at the Oldham Evening Chronicle, still on-the-day printing from independent publishers Hirst, Kidd and Rennie.

David was a junior reporter at the Chronicle back in 1979 and left in 1985 for a spell at the Lincolnshire Echo before doing 15 years at the Birmingham Post and Mail. He returned to Oldham as deputy editor under Jim Williams in 2000 and became Editor in 2010. He became Managing Editor in 2014.


Joy Yates, Editorial Director, Johnston Press North East

Joy is the Editorial Director for the North East publishing unit of Johnston Press. She has been the editor of the Teesside daily title, the Hartlepool Mail, since 2006, and its sister paper the Shields Gazette in South Tyneside since 2013. Joy now also edits the Sunderland Echo. An award-winning feature writer, she is a former chair of the Society of Editors Northern Region and is a member of the NCTJ accreditation board and the Society of Editors board.