Tag Archives: Society of Editors

SoE conference branded overwhelming success by PR driving force Magstar

Behind every event there is always a team running things in the background, often without attendees even realising.

And at the annual Society of Editors Conference 2016, this was no different. Running and managing the event was back in the hands of the Magstar team, who were established in Cambridge back in 2001.

It’s been a busy couple of days in Carlisle and the work gone into maintaining the event, which saw over 200 people pass through the doors of the Halston hotel, has been unbelievable.

And Olivia Disley-Stevens, who is the Event Coordinator at Magstar has been impressed by just how well the event has gone yet again.

She said: “We’re a small team and we all chip in together but this year, the event has gone extremely well.

“We’ve had great help from everyone at the hotel, the delegates and the editors. We’re looking forward to next year and we always want to be bigger and better than the year before,” she added.

Magstar have now assisted the Society for over ten years now and there is a happy, healthy and productive relationship blossoming between the two parties, something Disley-Steven’s thinks is vital to the continued success of the event.

“We’ve worked with the Society for over ten years now and we work with them on their marketing and website as well.

“There’s now a friendship between us and the Society and it’s a nice thing to be able to do year-after-year and I thoroughly believe this relationship will carry on,” she said.

By Hayden Atkins


Jenni Sargent: “We need to address fake news”

The editor of First Draft News has issued a plea to journalists and the wider media to become more aware of the risk posed by ‘fake’ news.

Jenni Sargent, speaking at the Society of Editors conference 2016, believes modern-day journalism has made it extremely easy for publications to become slack when it comes to the verification process.

With the internet now dominating journalism at most levels, First Draft News aims to provide verification advice from a non-profit point-of-view.

And Sargent feels the pressure of getting to the story first sometimes leads to inconsistencies.

She said: “At First Draft, we try to provide some guidance to newsrooms to get through this tricky landscape of the internet.

“The reality of most newsrooms is that this urgency to report something that looks convincing is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Sargent’s presentation also focused on the importance of sifting carefully through manipulated and potentially doctored user-generated content.

The Emhub director also feels it’s important to equip journalists with the tools and knowledge needed to differ between potentially fake and genuine sources.

She said: “Everyone is a source – it has potential to be fake, manipulated, and could be shared by social media users who have little knowledge of the topic.

“Understanding who your sources are, where your videos have come from, is so important. You need to question every piece of content.”

By Hayden Atkins

SoE conference gives local businesses the opportunity to shine

For most, the Society of Editors conference is the chance for some of the biggest names in journalism to meet, greet and interact.

This year’s event, based at the Halston Hotel in Carlisle, has attracted some key names from the media world, including the chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the editor of the BBC Journalism Working Group and the Head of the College of Policing.

While the conference provides a fantastic opportunity for those in the media world to come together, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to showcase some of their finest products.

The Lakes Distillery are no exception and they were at the two-day event to show-off their upmarket brands of vodka, gin and whiskey, all manufactured locally.

And Rachel Fenwick, The Distillery’s Business development executive, told us just how vital the local community are to the company.

“The thing that is really special about companies in Cumbria is that they stick together.

“There’s a really big business community here and we work with a lot of people from all over the region and they’re so proud to have something that is Cumbrian born and bred,” she said.

Fenwick also discussed how relationships between editors and the company have improved after the two-day event.

“For the lakes distillery, we work a lot with editors and there are plenty that want to come down and review the distillery itself after speaking to us.

“For editors, it’s a really good opportunity for them to come down to the site, to see what we’re about and also spread the good word about the region in general,” Fenwick added.

The native opportunity

Speakers at the Society of Editors conference disproved the myth that digital advertising is merely “click bait”, and described how native advertising and editorial content can co-exist.

Native advertising is a form of advertising that blends in with the editorial style of its surroundings.

However, the growing fear among publishers is readers’ potential inability to differentiate between commercial and editorial content, which weakens their trust in the brand.

Christian Broughton, Digital Editor, The Independent and i, who helped pioneer the launch of i100, asserted: “If the readers are confused, you’re letting them down.”

Tiffanie Darke, Commercial Content Director at Method, the native advertising team at News UK, stressed that to avoid confusion among readers, advertorial content must be clearly labelled as ‘Sponsored’ or #Spon, over all mediums, to differentiate between independent editorial content and commercial advertisements.

Stephanie Himoff, Director Brands, Agencies and Head of PR Partnerships at Outbrain, supports Tiffanie’s belief. She said: “Native advertising is a phenomenal opportunity,” both for publishers and advertisers.

“The dream is for the brand to come together with the advertiser to produce engaging editorial content for the readers.”

Stephanie upholds the view that native advertising is the future of content marketing. She said: “I don’t believe advertising is dead. I think that the way we were advertising has to come to an end.”

Tiffanie agreed with Stephanie: “I don’t think it dictates the editorial agenda, I think it adds value to it when it is done properly.”

“The editorial/commercial cross-over must be absolutely straight forward and fundamental about the independence of the editorial teams from the commercial teams, if you are to be a credible organisation.”

Although Tiffanie believes native advertising can “add value” to the editorial content, she also implies that these two media pillars can indeed rival one another. She said: “There is no reason why content that is being paid for by a brand can’t be as good, if not better, than editorial content that is being produced independently.”

Maisie Bovingdon


MP Sajid Javid proposes new British Bill of Rights to protect journalists

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, wrapped up the Society of Editors’ conference with a keynote speech this morning (Tuesday).

He proposed a new British Bill of Rights, pledging that if the Tories gain a majority at the next election they will scrap Labour’s Human Rights Act in favour of a new bill  “passed in our Parliament and rooted in our values; it will restore British judges as the ultimate arbiters of British justice.”

Mr Javid added the new British Bill of Rights would include specific protection for journalists.

He said: “The Human Rights Act and the European Courts have not done enough to protect journalists who play such a unique role in our society.

“The way some people and organisations have used RIPA and the European courts represent a direct assault of press freedom.”

Mr Javid quoted Karl Marx: “You cannot pluck the rose without its thorns,” to stress that there are difficulties that come with a free press, especially in the risk that the press has occasionally taken advantage of the freedom given to it.

He said: “I’m not naïve enough to think that all reporters are towering beacons of integrity. But for every reporter or editor who has gone too far, there are countless more examples of good journalism done well.”

And he had further praise for the industry at the tail end of his speech: “British newspapers are simply without equal. And that’s why you are the right people – the only people – to take the lead on developing and enforcing a new set of press standards.”

He added: “Unethical or inaccurate reporting should be policed not by the state, but by an industry-led regulatory system.”

“I have no time for those who seek to dismiss Fleet Street’s finest as corrupt criminals who should be regulated out of existence by an overbearing state.

“Britain’s newspapers remain the best in the world. A vital bulwark against wrongdoing. A voice for the voiceless. The very foundation upon which our democracy stands.”

Hollie Wong

BBC News Directors talks about the future of the corporation.

Director of BBC News, James Harding, told the Society of Editors of his efforts to establish the new face of the corporation.

He began by stressing the importance of press and broadcast relations. He said: “I hope we can have a serious conversation about the ways in which the BBC and editors around the country might do things together.”

Mr Harding went on to highlight the problems faced by the BBC over the last few years. He described the corporation as ‘looking at our feet’ when Tony Hall returned as the Director General of the BBC.

“He’s got us to look up. He started out by asking how we might ensure that we do the best editorial and creative work of our lives at the BBC,” he said.

“We are looking ahead towards the next period in the life of the BBC. We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it.”

It is a time of change at the BBC, with restructuring of News and Current Affairs programmes, the regeneration of talent, such as Evan Davis taking over Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, and a refreshed line-up of editors appointed throughout BBC programmes including Ceri Thomas at Panorama.

Mr Harding also outlined renewed ambitions for the BBC. “We’ve set in train a real effort to consider the future of news. “I hope you see a BBC that is up for more – more partnerships, more openness, more trying things out.”

He went on to defend the corporation and credited its journalistic standards. “We act, I believe, as a megaphone in independent journalism in the public interest. I think a strong, healthy, confident BBC is in interests of the newspaper industry and journalists in this country.”

Mr Harding’s closing comments focused on the BBC’s importance in Britain today.

“Our country, our freedoms, our government cannot function without it. It is the guarantor of liberty, justice and value for money in our public services.

“When it does what it should, when it questions and explains the world we live in, journalism can empower the individual, improve society and enable democracy. And I very much hope you and your news organisations will want to take the chance to be part of a BBC effort that does just that.”

Chloe Desave

Gala dinner celebrates the best in journalism

The annual black tie gala dinner at the Society of Editors conference took place last night (Monday).

The event celebrates the conference and those who have contributed to the journalism industry over the last year.

Fellowships of the Society of Editors are awarded each year to honour a few chosen journalists. This year the fellowships were awarded to the Rev David Meara, former rector of St Bride’s Church, and Peter Cole, Emeritus Professor of Journalism at Sheffield University.

Both Mr Meara and Mr Cole expressed surprise and delight at being presented with their fellowships, with Mr Meara, known for saying grace in verse at each year’s conference,  continued the tradition.

Accepting the fellowship, Mr Meara said: “For 40 years of Fleet Street fun, now that my ten years is almost done, I offer up my warmest thanks, to all within SoE’s ranks.”

Mr Cole said: “I have enjoyed the warmth here at this great organisation, and made many friends.”

In a withering after-dinner speech, Gavin Millar QC criticised the limitations and widespread misuse of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) which is threatening to undermine journalism.

Mr Millar said: “Parliament should have written the right to protect confidential journalistic sources into Ripa – along with explicit procedural safeguards for this important right.”

He went on to suggest sources must be protected if journalism is to survive. “If the flow of information from sources to journalists dries up, it’s the end of journalism.”

Mr Millar finished his speech by stressing the importance of the police force fighting for a journalist’s rights. “It is time for a senior police officer somewhere to stand up and be honest enough to acknowledge that all fundamental rights have to be protected in our law – including those of journalists.”

Bedfordshire Chief Constable talks media and police relations

One of the most highly-anticipated sessions of this year’s conference – Police and the Media – took place this afternoon.

Bob Satchwell, Executive Director of the Society of Editors, spoke on the challenges now facing the media and police in rebuilding relationships that have become seriously strained.

He referred to highly controversial police use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

“I was there when RIPA was being introduced. There is no doubt in my mind or ageing memory that the government and parliament intended RIPA as a tool to help with terrorism and major organised crime,” he said.

“Along with the Newspaper Society and Media Lawyers’ Association, we warned how it was inadequately drafted and was ripe for misuse.”

Though critical of RIPA, Mr Satchwell expressed hopes of a better relationship between the media and the police. “Now is the time for police officers and the press to talk more, not less’.

He went on to thank guest speaker Colette Paul, Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police and ACPO chair of Media and Communications, for attending this year’s conference.

Chief Constable Paul supported Mr Satchwell’s call for improved communication. She said: “It’s about having open, honest and transparent relationships. It’s the secrecy bit that we need to move away from. We’ve got to develop a trust and respect for each other.”

On use of RIPA she said that there were safeguards and oversight. ” There’s a lot of consideration that has to be taken about RIPA,” she said, explaining that officers have to be satisfied it is being used because of a serious crime, and that decisions are proportionate and necessary.

During the question and answer section that follower her talk, Ms Paul was asked about police whistle blowers, the negative relationship many journalists have experienced with their local police forces, and difficulties with 24-hour access to updated police statements and officers.


Hollie Wong

Andy Moger calls for editors to protect sports journalism

Independent sports reporting has been steadily eroded by increasingly restrictive contracts, according to Andy Moger, Executive Director of the News Media Coalition.

Speaking at the Society of Editors’ 2014 Conference in Southampton, he said: “The News Media Coalition challenges political attempts to secure more statutory rights for sports.”

He explained how control over sports reporting is exercised through contracts, brand loyalty, adding the NMC has “fought wholesale prohibition of journalism on social media”.

Mr Moger said the NMC protects the ownership and value of news content”

He stressed the importance of editors and the media campaigning against restrictions, suggesting journalists hold the key to fair sports reporting.

He said: “It’s our view that you are vital in this particular campaign, you are the stakeholders in this, and your support today and in the months to come is vital.”

Julie Palmer, Regional Managing Partner at the Begbies Traynor Group, gave an overview of the financial aspects of the football industry in particular.

She spoke of how football clubs can still improve ties with local communities and therefore increase positive press surrounding them.

Ms Palmer believes the future of sportlies with the younger fans, but costly tickets are denying them access. “Younger fans are the future – they need to be protected and recognised,” she said.

Poppy Jeffery & Hollie Wong

NCTJ Kim Fletcher talks about continuous personal development

Donald Martin, Editor in Chief of D C Thomson newspapers, opened the session on continuous personal development today.

He told conference delegates:  “We are in a state of constant change” adding that when it comes to preparing for these changes there are no easy answers and no fixed solution.

The main speaker was Kim Fletcher, chairman of the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). He said the organisation has adapted its qualifications by restructuring the diploma and raising accreditation standards.

He said the NCTJ has seen a huge demand in training for digital journalism, adding that although the ways in which news is reported is constantly changing,  “one thing that doesn’t change is the view that people want to read stuff.”

The biggest problem for Journalism is the lack of development training in the industry for more senior staff. Fletcher said:  “We are still really bad as an industry at doing anything after that trainee point. We found the majority of journalists, 63%, feel there are new or additional skills they need if they are going to be more efficient.”

Fletcher’s final message was a clear call for help in shaping the future of training:  “Join the debate and let’s see how we can change this,” he said.

Donald Martin backed the speech, saying editors are expected to run a company with no extra training.

The pair were asked how they would deliver this training. Fletcher said: “We haven’t got that far, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the NCTJ.” He added the NCTJ would like to be involved because it knows more about the industry than some outside organisations do.

He was clear that even though some universities do not provide good quality Journalism courses, he is “very reluctant to make NCTJ a policing organisation.”