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2019 Programme 

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Please note, this programme is subject to change.


Registration and networking breakfast






CONVERSATION | Who cares about public interest news? 

In 2012, Lord Inglewood chaired the House of Lords Inquiry that recommended financial incentives to support investigative journalism. Seven years later, Dame Frances Cairncross chaired a review which recommended new subsidies for local journalism.


Will the Government finally act on these recommendations? And how can you support public interest journalism whilst protecting press freedom?


In their first public conversation, two of the country’s most distinguished media policymakers discuss the challenges facing public interest journalism in 2019 – and look towards some exciting new developments.

Dame Frances Cairncross

Author of the Cairncross Review and Chair of Court, Heriot-Watt University

Lord Inglewood

Former Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications

With: Jonathan Heawood. CEO, IMPRESS.


DISCUSSION | You can't please all the people: What do audiences want?

Once upon a time, audiences took what they were given. You might read a daily newspaper or watch the evening news, but you couldn’t talk back to the presenters or question the news agenda.


Now, audiences have a huge amount of choice – and growing power to challenge journalists and publishers.

In this session, Alison Preston presents Ofcom’s latest research into news audiences, and independent publishers from across the UK describe how they are transforming the relationship between journalism and its audiences.

Polly Curtis

Partner and Editor - Tortoise 

Adam Cantwell-Corn

Co-founder, Bristol Cable 

Anna Merryfield

Community News Director - Social Spider

Alison Preston

Head of Research, Making Sense of Media - Ofcom

Chair: Rachel Oldroyd

            Managing Editor, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.


Coffee break and networking 




PRESENTATION | Independent and ad-free: The future of news?

Journalism doesn’t come for free – but journalists don’t want owners or advertisers breathing down their necks. Is it possible to be independent and ad-free – or is this just a fantasy?


Sebastian Esser is one of the most innovative publishers in Europe. In this bite-sized session, he shares his vision for the future of news.

Sebastian Esser

Founder of Krautreporter and Steady

Content partner:



DISCUSSION | Transparency, training and trust: Would you believe it? 

Propaganda, click-bait and conspiracy theories: the internet is awash with unreliable content. How can audiences sort fact from fiction?


Reporters Without Borders are defining the universal values of journalism – so that platforms and search engines can put trustworthy content first. The Conscious Advertising Network is asking advertisers to avoid news sites that don’t have decent standards. The Newsguard team have ruffled feathers by providing critical ‘nutrition labels’ of some well-known publications.

And the NCTJ is continuing to train reporters in the classic virtues of responsible journalism.


Which of these approaches is most likely to rebuild trust, in today’s complex news ecosystem?

Olaf Steenfadt

Project Director - Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Anna-Sophie Harling 

Head of Europe, NewsGuard

Will Gore

Head of Partnerships & Projects - NCTJ

Harriet Kingaby 

Co-chair - Conscious Advertising Network

Chair: Ed Procter

            Chief Operating Officer, IMPRESS 


Lunch and networking 




CONVERSATION | What the Panama Papers say

Spanish journalist Mar Cabra was at the heart of the twenty-first century’s biggest news story: the Panama Papers.


These revelations shook governments and corporations around the world – but in some cases it’s journalists who have paid the heaviest price.


In conversation with Jane Martinson, former Media Editor of The Guardian, Mar Cabra talks about the importance – and the difficulties – of working on public interest journalism in a connected world.

Mar Cabra

Investigative journalist & Head of data unit at ICIJ during the Panama Papers investigation 

With: Jane Martinson

           Columnist - The Guardian


PRESENTATION | The Experience of the Independent Publishers Taskforce

Back in April 2019, a group of independent news organisations from across the UK got together to form the Independent Publishers Taskforce.


They set out to take the opportunity that the Cairncross Review presented to pursue the initiatives the sector needs, and explore ways of gathering support for smaller, independent publications committed to high standards of journalism.


In the course of six months, they got together, shared ideas and challenges, met with other relevant stakeholders and networks, and distilled their proposals into a new document – published today.


Two active members of the taskforce talk about the taskforce and how collaboration and the willingness to join forces are values inherent to the independent news sector, and what’s next.

Vanessa Baird

Co-Editor, New Internationalist

Erica Roffe

Managing Editor, Bedford Indpendent


DISCUSSION | How is independent news addressing the democratic deficit? 

In the UK and around the world, independent news publishers are plugging the democratic deficit. With new business models and new forms of journalism, independent publishers are providing information and accountability to audiences that have not been well served by the established media.


What can these initiatives learn from each other? And how can we build on their achievements to safeguard public interest journalism – and democracy?

Kathryn Geels

Director - Engaged Journalism Accelerator (European Journalism Centre) 

Valerie Mocker

Director, Development & European Digital Policy - Nesta 

Hardeep Matharu

Editor - Byline Times 

Chair: Stephen Khan

            Editor - The Conversation UK


Closing remarks


Drinks reception

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