Media leaders invited to open discussion on news leadership in today’s disruptive age



Emerging leaders, seasoned journalists and visionary pioneers are invited to join a robust discussion asking: How do news leaders find clarity in a chaotic world?

Taking place on Tuesday, 27th February, the afternoon event is organised by the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Journalism Innovation and Leadership Programme, supported by Google News Initiative (GNI), FT Strategies, International Media Support, Chrysalis Transformations and Media Lab, Jordan. 

The JILeaders Forum, entitled Finding Clarity in Chaos: News Leadership in a Disruptive Age, will feature speakers from a range of diverse backgrounds and locations ranging from Amman, Jordan  to  Cape Town, South Africa, and from London to Glasgow and, of course, Preston.

It will also include a panel of young leaders sharing their experiences of making sense of the media industry during rapid change.

Every panel will feature a Green Chair, who will ensure each subject is considered through the lens of the climate crisis.

Speakers include JILeaders board members, former participants and guest newsroom experts. Those announced so far are Dr François Nel, Reader in Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UCLan; Marcela Kunova, Editor,; Jon Birchall, Director of Editorial Strategy, LadBible Group; Ivor Price, co-founder Food for Mzansi in South Africa; Ghada Ammar, producer and news anchor at AlMamlakaTV in Jordan, Nata Dzvelishvili, CEO, Indigo Magazine in Georgia, and Jacqui Merrington, Founder, The Happy Journalist.

Also taking part will be JILeaders visiting faculty Alison Gow, media consultant and editorial leadership coach; Jeremy Clifford, executive-level coach and founder of Chrysalis Transformations; Neil Benson, freelance media consultant specialising in leadership development; and Sarah Hartley, journalism entrepreneur, founder of The Northern Eco and a  carbon literacy facilitator.

Alison Gow said: “Making sense of the rapidly-evolving world of Journalism can feel like a full-time task, and a daunting one when also running a newsroom or a media brand. But by bringing together innovative ideas and voices, the Journalism Leaders Forum will give us all an opportunity to share learnings and solutions.”

Neil Benson said: “The challenges confronting the world’s media industry have never been greater or so numerous. Broken business models, the erosion of audience loyalty, political instability and even the threats posed by war can make life as a leader feel overwhelming.

“The JILeaders forum will attempt to make sense of the turbulent environment we operate in, and discuss some potential ways forward. If you are in a media leadership role, it should be an afternoon well spent.”

The three panels are:

  • Trailblazers: The Young Leaders Shaping Our Future
  • Bridging Worlds: Leadership Lessons from Diverse Markets
  • Sensemakers: Insights from Seasoned Leaders and Visionary Pioneers

Jeremy Clifford said: “We will be hosting a panel of young leaders – entitled trailblazers – to hear from them, first hand, how young people lead and how they want to be led. Too often panels are dominated by people like me who are long in the tooth and think we know it all.

“I want to hear from the people who really do know it all in terms of how to engage and lead in today’s media environment.”

Marcella Kunova said: “Leading a business in times of uncertainty is hard even for seasoned professionals. On the flip side, young leaders are entering the media industry at a time when many newsrooms have accepted that change is necessary and are looking for people who understand audience needs and have the energy and skill to lead that change.”

The JIL Programme, which is supported by the Google News Initiative (GNI), FT Strategies, International Media Support, Chrysalis Transformations and The Media Lab, Jordan, is a 30-week part-time, postgraduate certificate course designed by a team of academics and innovative industry leaders.

Finding Clarity in Chaos: News Leadership in a Disruptive Age takes place from 1-3.30pm GMT on Tuesday 27th February, online and in person at the Media Innovation Studio on UCLan’s Preston Campus. Register here

More information about UCLan’s Journalism Innovation and Leadership Postgraduate Diploma, MA and PhD programmes