Annual Conference 2022: Speakers & Moderators

 topic sustainability

Can our democracy survive disinformation? How is journalism contributing to the pursuit of truth?

victor pickard2Victor Pickard is the C. Edwin Baker Professor of Media Policy and Political Economy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, where he co-directs the Media, Inequality & Change (MIC) Center. Pickard’s research focuses on the history and political economy of media institutions, media activism, and the politics and normative foundations of media policy. His work is particularly concerned about the future of journalism and the role of media in a democratic society. Pickard has authored over 100 articles, essays and book chapters in leading scholarly journals and anthologies. His op-eds and essays frequently appear in popular publications like The Guardian, The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, Harvard Business Review, Jacobin, The Nation, and The Atlantic. He has published six books, including the award-winning America’s Battle for Media Democracy and Democracy Without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society. 


Razan IbraheemRazan Ibraheem is an Irish-Syrian journalist and a senior editorial analyst with Kinzen. She has an extensive expertise in researching misinformation and disinformation online. Razan worked as an assistant editor with Storyful verifying and investigating content from social media, from verifying videos of chemical attacks in Syria to the conflicts in Yemen, Iraq and Libya. Razan is a regular contributor to various newspaper articles and current affairs programmes on Irish radio and TV. Her work has been included in research in the New York Times, WSJ, The Sun and the Journal. Razan provided additional research for the New York Times visual investigation that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2020. Razan was awarded the International Woman of the Year by Irish Tatler in 2016. 


olaf steenfadt

Olaf Steenfadt heads the “Journalism Trust Initiative” at the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, RSF. For many years, he has been engaged as a consultant in media development and digital policy, mandated by both international organizations and NGOs. Olaf previously worked for national German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF in various roles. He is a member of the “High-level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation” of the European Commission, and of the “Committee of Experts on Quality of Journalism in the Digital Age”, together with the “Committee of Experts on Media Environment and Reform” at the Council of Europe.



Mairin Ni Ghadhra Moderator: Máirín Ní Ghadhra has over thirty years' experience in broadcasting with RTÉ and TG4. Having worked on most of RTÉ -Raidió na Gaeltachta's news and current affairs programmes, she currently presents An tSeachtain le Máirín Ní Ghadhra, a mix of current affairs, news and features on Saturday and Sunday mornings. She is also the main presenter of the station's election coverage.


 topis creative regions

As Regional Public Service Broadcasters, how can we act as a catalyst for the Creative Economy in our Regions? Can regional creative industries help to create plurality & diversity in the media ecosystem?

irial mac murchuIrial Mac Murchú, Founder and CEO of Nemeton TV. 
Nemeton TV employs 60 full-time people and a further 120 freelance and casual staff in Ireland and Scotland. Nemeton specialises in sports productions for which it has won numerous awards and is TG4’s main supplier for their sports coverage. Other clients include BBC ALBA, RTÉ, Sky Sports and US online and broadcast clients. 
Based in the Co. Waterford Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) with an office in Glasgow, Nemeton’s highly skilled production team delivers hundreds of hours of innovative content every year using advanced production technology. Web TV is the latest development and clients here already include the GAA and New York based, Adorama TV.


nicola lyons2Nicola Lyons, Production Manager, Northern Ireland Screen Agency - developing dynamic screen industry in Northern Ireland, including international productions such as Game of Thrones.
Northern Ireland Screen is the national screen agency for Northern Ireland.  We are committed to maximising the economic, cultural and educational value of the screen industries for the benefit of Northern Ireland.  This goal is pursued through our mission to accelerate the development of a dynamic and sustainable screen industry and culture in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Screen has 3 overarching objectives:
1. That Northern Ireland will have the strongest screen industry outside of London in the UK and Ireland;
2. That this industry will be supported by vibrant and diverse cultural voices that are recognised and celebrated equally at home and abroad;
3. And that the sector will be underpinned by the most successful screen and digital technologies education provision in Europe ensuring that the education is within reach and of value to the most socially disadvantaged.


john newbigin2John Newbigin OBE, Ambassador for Creative Industries. Founder and first Chairman of Creative England (from 2011 to 2018).
As Special Advisor to the UK Minister for Culture, Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, he was closely involved in developing the UK government’s first policies for the creative industries in the 1990s.  He has written and talked extensively about the creative industries and worked with governments and public agencies around the world on creative economy policies.  He was Head of Corporate Relations for Channel 4 Television (2000-2005) and executive assistant to Lord Puttnam as the Chairman of the film company Enigma Productions Ltd (1992-97).
He is a member of the UK government’s Creative Industries Council,  Chairman of the British Council’s Advisory Group for Arts and Creative Economy and a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London.  He is a Board member of the London Economic Action Partnership and London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ambassador for the Creative Industries.  He is Chair of Counterculture, a partnership of professionals specialising in consultancy services for museums, galleries and arts organisations in the UK and internationally. He is a member of the International Board of Advisors of Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalaru and an Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong.


Tomas O SiochainModerator: Tomás Ó Síocháin is CEO of the Western Development Commission which is a state agency that promotes the Western Region, provides policy analysis, is leading the development and rollout of the National Hubs Network and manages the €75m Western Investment Fund which includes the dedicated Western Region Audio-visual Producers (WRAP) Fund. Tomás worked previously as a broadcast journalist producer and editor with Irish national broadcasters RTÉ and TG4 (1998- 2013). He has held several senior roles in NUI Galway, during which time he led the integration of Shannon College of Hotel Management into the university. He is a law graduate with a Higher Diploma in Applied Communications and an MBA. He is also a non-executive director of GrowRemote and Future Mobility Campus Ireland. He is a member of the National Hubs Network Steering Group and the National Remote Work Strategy Implementation Group. Formerly, he was the inaugural Chair of the Regional Skills Forum West, Chair of the WDC Whitaker Institute Remote Work Expert Group and an External Assessor for the Broadcast Authority of Ireland’s Sound and Vision Fund. 


topic pbs prominence
Is our PSB content findable for our audiences?  In a multi-platform environment, who is curating the content?  What are the solutions being taken by PSBs in UK and Europe to ensure public service content is accessible to audiences?

kate biggsKate Biggs, Ofcom UK Director in the Broadcasting and Online Content Group
Kate Biggs is a Director in the Broadcasting and Online Content Group at Ofcom, and leads Ofcom’s work on commercially funded PSBs, PSB legislative reform and prominence. She has over 20 years’ experience in public policy, beginning her career in the UK Civil Service, working in the Cabinet Office and the DCMS, including a couple of years on secondment to the BBC. More recently she worked for the New Zealand and Australian governments on a diverse range of public sector reform projects. 


wouter gekiere

Wouter Gekiere currently works for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the world’s leading alliance of public service media, as Head of the EBU Brussels office. He previously held the position of Head of EU Regulatory Policy with the lead on key European regulatory and policy matters in the media and audiovisual fields. He has worked for over a decade at the EBU Brussels office on a range of strategic policy dossiers. His career has also encompassed expert policy and legal advisory roles for EU decision makers and academia. He holds master’s degrees in Law (1998) and in International Relations (1999) from the University of Leuven and a master’s degree in Public and International Law from the University of Melbourne (2004).



Liam BoyleModerator: Liam Boyle has over 14 years’ experience in broadcast media compliance, governance and regulation in the UK and Ireland. Liam worked in Complaints and Compliance at the BBC until 2017 and joined the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to work across a range of different policy areas - namely Public Service Media, Licensing and Compliance. Liam has since worked closely with the Irish PSM and has managed the BAI’s Annual Reviews of Performance of RTÉ and TG4, amongst other BAI statutory functions relating to PSM. He has a keen interest in developing policy areas around AVMS transposition, PSM audience engagement, PSM Prominence and Children’s Programming. 


topic local news
Does Local News matter? Do local stories get adequate voice on the news agenda? Can PSBs give more relevance to local stories?

sandrina hadderingh
Sandrina Hadderingh, Editor-in-chief, Omroep Gelderland
As editor-in-chief of Omroep Gelderland, Sandrina is responsible for the daily input/output across all platforms including online, radio and television. Omroep Gelderland is one of the larger regional broadcasters reaching millions of audiences every month with news and informative programmes. Sandrina manages over 110 passionate journalists and programme makers. Collaboration is paramount at Omroep Gelderland, together with their commitment to their province. The regional broadcaster works with over 27 local broadcasters, the NOS nationally and over 50 social partners. Sandrina has been working in journalism for 30 years now. She began as a journalist for a local newspaper and has since worked as a television reporter as well as working on various documentaries and investigative journalism programmes. In more recent years she has worked as a manager and she has been editor-in-chief for over three and a half years.



Matthew Barraclough, head of Local News Partnerships at the BBC
Matthew has worked as a BBC broadcast journalist since 1995, working mainly in the North East of England. He is now based in Birmingham and continues to work across the UK building on ways that the BBC can work more closely with local news providers in the UK.
At the conference of CIRCOM Regional Matthew will present a case study on the innovative partnership project between BBC, the News Media Association (NMA) and the wider local news industry. The Local News Partnership is an initiative which was established to increase the availability of quality journalism, particularly reporting on local democracy and civic life. The project aims to support public service reporting, sustain local democracy and improve skills in datajournalism. A key component is to ensure that all audiences can engage fully with major local issues. Working in partnership is intended to broaden the benefits for all audiences and help sustain plurality in local media. The Local News Partnership has rolled out across the UK, and  has now been used as a template in territories such as New Zealand and Canada.


Paidi O LionairdModerator: Páidí Ó Lionáirdis currently working as a News Editor with Nuacht TG4. He has worked extensively as a presenter, commentator, and journalist across a variety of programme genres including Sport, Entertainment, Current Affairs and Documentary.  Páidí has received many accolades down through the years. He has been nominated for numerous IFTA/ Gradaim Cumarsáide an Oireachtais awards and in 2003 and again in 2013 he was honoured by the Oireachtas Media Awards. Páidí is a former journalist in residence at DCU and he has guest lectured at NUIG, NUIM and UCD. He is also former Programme Chair of the BA in Business & Communications at Atlantic Technological University.


topic digital transform
How are we transforming our newsrooms? How do we reposition our business to adapt to the digital world? How can we enable our teams to embrace change?

Nergiz Nora WesterberghNergiz Nora Westerbergh: SVT News is Sweden's fastest growing digital news outlet. As the Head of Digital, Nergiz Nora Westerbergh’s responsibility is to oversee all strategies and goals for continued development.  Nergiz is also responsible for ensuring follow-up and learning at various newsrooms throughout the country. She works closely with SVT’s Development Department and is responsible for projects such as SVT’s streaming service SVT Play where she explores news offerings. Westerbergh has worked both with local and national news for numerous years. Prior to working at SVT, she worked with various local newspaper groups in Sweden. Nergiz is committed to cross-functional collaborations and data-driven work methods.


KristianLindquistKristian Lindquist is Chief Strategy Officer and former Head of Digital at Swedish Public service broadcaster SVT. He has a background as news reporter at Aftonbladet, and digital news editor and head of news at Svenska Dagbladet. Both brands are part of Schibsted, the largest media group in Scandinavia.  At SVT Kristian has been one of the key executives behind the development towards a strong digital news service during the last 5 years. During these years the market position of SVT News has moved from a shadow position, losing contact with generations of news consumers, to the most preferred news services for young adults aged 20 – 39 years old with a fivefold audience reach.


Alessandro BaracchiniAlessandro Baracchini was born in La Spezia, Italy in 1964. He graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Pisa in 1990. He taught English in Italy and then Italian language and culture at the University of Exeter in England from 1992 to 1994. In 1996 he started his career with the Italian national broadcaster (RAI). He began his career at RAI International as a radio and TV reporter/presenter. In 1999 he joined the group of journalists who created RAI News 24, the first Italian all-news TV channel and the first Italian digital news channel. Through the years he has presented newscasts and hosted news programmes. He has also covered stories in various sectors, focusing in particular on Foreign Affairs and Social issues. From 2015 to 2019, he worked as Editor–in–Chief of RAI News 24’s Foreign Desk. In 2020 he presented “Uno Mattina Estate”, a popular morning news programme on RAI 1, the main general-interest TV channel of RAI. He currently works as anchorman at the same RAI channel. 


Mika LavonenMika Lavonen is currently working as Head of News and Current Affairs Production at YLE, Finland. He has worked with YLE for over 35 years. He began his career as a journalist, and he has since worked in various executive roles in multiple projects down through the years. Mika will be providing insights into the experiences YLE have encountered in their major digital transformation projects, including, the renewal of TV-News and current affairs studios. For YLE, change is imminent in all areas - from the smallest, one-camera breaking news unit (in the heart of the new newsroom), to the bright lights of the biggest TV-Studio and its IP-based connectivity. New roles and skill sets are becoming more automated, demanding personnel to adapt. This has also led to the renewal of YLE’s regional news as a national news provider.


Istvan Palffy OrbanIstván Pálffy-Orbán: After graduating as an architect in 1988, István Pálffy-Orbán joined the Hungarian Radio station. He was Head of News and Director of Training until 1997, when he changed to commercial media. István spent 5 years at Hungary’s No1 TV channel as a commentator of news and current affairs. In 2002 he returned to the public service. There Pálffy graduated as an expert on the European Union and in 2010 he became a member of the Hungarian Parliament where he worked as president of the Cultural and Media Committee. From 2014 he worked within the EPP in Brussels. Presently, he is supervisor of television services at Duna Media; author of more than twenty books on etiquette, protocol, EU, and travel. He is a married father of four children, a fan of music and sports, including GAA (The Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland).


Neil BennettModerator: Neil Bennett started as a journalist editing audio tape with a razor blade, he is now helping drive BBC England’s Mobile Journalism integration and transformation of newsrooms to meet new digital challenges.  After radio Neil moved on to television production and lead a team responsible for both regional and nationally award-winning programmes. As a member of CIRCOM Regional’s Executive Committee, Neil heads-up the Training Group, designing, planning, and delivering CIRCOM’s training programme.


topic young
How are young audiences consuming news? How do we connect with our young audiences? How can PSBs reach and build brand loyalty with Gen Z?

Alexandra BorchardtProf. Dr. Alexandra Borchardt is a senior journalist, author, lecturer, and independent media advisor. She works as a coach for the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) in their Table Stakes Europe Programme on the digital transformation of newsrooms and for Hamburg Media School, where she heads the Journalism Innovators Programme. She is also affiliated with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford as a Senior Research Associate after having served as Director of Leadership Programmes until 2019. Prior to this she was managing editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), Germany’s leading quality daily. Alexandra is the lead author of the 2021/22 EBU News Report “What’s Next? Public Service Journalism in the Age of Distraction, Opinion, and Information Abundance”, published by the European Broadcasting Union in November 2021. 
As an honorary Professor for Leadership and Digital Transformation at TU Munich’s TUM School of Management, Alexandra regularly teaches “Leadership and Strategy in the 21st Century”. Until September 2021 she was professor for media transformation and co-head of the master’s programme in cultural journalism at the University of the Arts in Berlin. She is a member of the Committee for Editorial Independence at Czech publishing house Economia and a board member of Constructive Foundation in Aarhus. At the Council of Europe, she served as a rapporteur on the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Expression and Digital Technologies until September 2021 and prior to that as vice chair on the Committee of Experts on Quality Journalism in the Digital Age. Alexandra holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Tulane University, New Orleans (1994), and in 2013 she completed a Programme for Management Development at IESE Business School, Barcelona. 


Sophia Smith GalerSophia Smith Galer is a Senior News Reporter at Vice World News covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She is also a former reporter with BBC World Service. Sophia is the first UK journalist to be appointed to the TikTok Creator Council and she has more than 300,000 followers across social media. She was named as a ‘Voice of Change’ in the Tik Tok 100 Best of 2020, selected as a ‘One to Watch’ by Edinburgh Television in 2020 and has a Webby in Social Media for Arts & Culture. Sophia has appeared on programmes including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News and Woman’s Hour and has written extensively for the BBC website. Sophia studied Spanish & Arabic at Durham University and has a Masters in Broadcast Journalism. Her first book, ‘Losing it: Sex Education for the 21st Century’, was published by William Collins in April 2022.


BlindboyboatclubThe Blindboyboatclub podcast has a listenership reach of over million per month. It is a storytelling podcast in the Irish tradition of the Seanchaí, seamlessly intertwining history, fiction, cultural critique, and politics into a relaxing form the author calls, ‘the podcast hug’. His sell-out worldwide shows succeed in replicating a private conversation in a public space through the language of theatre. Blindboyboatclub is also a best-selling author of fiction. He has written two collections of short stories and in 2019 his book ‘Boulevard Wren and Other Stories’ was a bestseller. He has over a decade of experience writing for television, having made shows for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, MTV and RTÉ. He is also a songwriter, musician, and producer with his group the Rubberbandits. To date they have amassed over 100 million YouTube views and have toured the world as a theatre act. He also completed a master’s degree in 2015 in ‘Creative Practice and the Social Environment’. He draws upon this to democratise topics such as art, psychology, politics, science, and music. As a long-term mental health activist, he uses his platform to speak about his own struggles with anxiety and depression and to investigate theories and strategies pertaining to mental health.


NiamhNíChroinínModerator: Niamh Ní Chróinín is the new Young People’s presenter with TG4. Niamh is from Dublin and has previously worked as a DJ with Spin1038, 98FM, Raidió RíRá and RnaG. She was a judge on TG4's Junior Eurovision series and has strong connections with Irish Language events for young people including acting as MC at Oireachtas na Gaeilge's music competition BEO, and Gael-Linn's Scléip competition.


topic reporting climate
Keeping climate in the news! How can PSBs sustain audience interest and engagement in climate change stories? How are we as PSB organisations minimising our carbon footprint? 

Erika BjerstromErika Bjerström began her coverage of Environmental and Climate news in the late 1980’s when she worked for Dagens Nyheter - Sweden’s largest morning daily. In 2020 she was appointed as the first ever Global Climate Correspondent at Swedish National Television (2020), covering climate related news across the world, with a focus on climate solutions. Erika is an award-winning Foreign News Correspondent and author with over 40 years’ experience in print, radio, and television. Down through the years she has worked as SVT’s US (2014-2016), Africa (2010-2013) and EU (2002-2006) Correspondent. She is author of ‘The New Africa’ (2012) and ‘The Climate Crisis in Sweden’ (2020).


Tara PetermanTara Peterman is an award-winning journalist and Executive Producer of RTÉ’s Climate Change coverage. Tara seeks new and original ways to amplify and engage audiences in the story of a generation across RTÉ platforms. Her goal is to make the science accessible and produce stories that will help people feel engaged and empowered. In 2019 Tara led an organisation-wide drive on climate change awareness for “RTÉ on Climate.” The week included documentaries, special reports, podcasts, and the creation of a national “Youth Assembly on Climate.” Tara has been Executive Producer of RTÉ’s Prime Time, Producer of ‘Orla Tinsley: Warrior,’ and has produced coverage of numerous Irish and US elections. Earlier in her career, Tara was the Washington Producer for SKY News, Washington Correspondent for the Irish Voice, and has worked with global media outlets including CBS, BBC, and National Geographic. 


katy tallon

Katy Tallon is Industry Sustainability Manager at Bafta Albert Ltd, with oversight for delivery of many of Albert's Tools and Projects. She also runs the Albert News Consortium, Chaired by Krishnan Guru-Murphy and has recently designed and rolled out sustainability training for news gathering. Her background is in current affairs and documentary producing and she also holds an MSc in Carbon Management. Following a few years working as a freelance sustainability consultant, she's delighted to have joined the Albert team 18 months ago, and, to be working in the intersection between sustainability and broadcasting. Passionate about inspiring sustainability at all levels of society, it’s her belief that stories, content and collaborations offer the greatest opportunity to shift the cultural dial required for humanity to take appropriate action on the climate crisis.


Eibhlin Ni Chonghaile Moderator: Eibhlín Ní Chonghaile is an award winning journalist and presenter who has spent 25 years working in various different newsrooms and media organisations from Nuacht TG4, to correspondent for Sky News Ireland, to hosting a daily morning radio show ‘Iris Aniar’ on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.  She has also hosted several television series for TG4, from current affairs to light entertainment. Eibhlín is a recipient of an Amnesty International television documentary award, a Celtic media presenter of the year award and Radio show of the year award from Oireachtas na Gaeilge for ‘Iris Aniar’. Eibhlín is a true believer in the power of storytelling. Her proudest work to date is a radio documentary called ‘Cuairt ar Ghaza’ which documented the bravery, the passion and the perseverance of Galway woman, Treasa Ní Cheannabháin, to bring medicine and money from the west of Ireland to Gaza despite the logistics of crossing the Sinai desert and air Rocket assaults in Gaza.