We meet quarterly and invite along expert speakers to address a particular theme or challenge at most meetings. We also put together ad hoc events in connection with report launches or major developments affecting the sector. Since 2005, we have heard from the following organisations and speakers.
Helen Margetts OBE FBA is Professor of Society and the Internet at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Public Policy Programme at the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science and AI. From 2011 to 2018, she was Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, a multi-disciplinary department of the University of Oxford. From 2001 to 2004 she was Professor of Political Science and Director of the School of Public Policy at UCL. She has researched and written extensively about the relationship between technology, politics, public policy and government. Her latest book (co-authored with a multi-disciplinary team) is Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action, which won the Political Studies Association’s W.J.Mackenzie prize for best politics book in 2017. In 2019 she was awarded the OBE and made a Fellow of the British Academy.
Helen spoke to the Forum about hate speech, the strengths & weaknesses of recent research, and what responsible media can do to counter hateful content in a digital age.
Dame Frances Cairncross is a former economic journalist, author and academic administrator. She is currently Chair of the Court of Heriot-Watt University and a Trustee at the Natural History Museum. Dame Frances was Rector of Exeter College, Oxford University; a senior editor on The Economist; and principal economic columnist for the Guardian. In 2014 she was made a Dame of the British Empire for services to education. She is the author of a number of books, including “The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is Changing our Lives” and “Costing the Earth: The Challenge for Governments, the Opportunities for Business”.
Dame Frances is amongst the leading voices on the future of quality content in a digital age. She is author of The Cairncross Review into a sustainable future for journalism. Dame Frances presented the outcomes of the Review to the Forum, outlining the future for quality content in light of evolving business models and regulatory landscape.
Dr Sam Friedman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at LSE. His research focuses on class and inequality. He recently published a book entitled 'The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged' with Daniel Laurison, which examines social mobility into Britain's higher professional and managerial occupations (spoiler alert: television is one among four in-depth case studies).
Sam presented the main findings of his recent book to the Forum. He also recommended specific actions media companies can take to improve social mobility in the sector.
Laurie Laybourn-Langton is an Associate Fellow at IPPR, where he leads a major project developing policy responses to environmental collapse. He is also co-chair of trustees of Rethinking Economics, and is currently writing a book on environmental breakdown. Previously, he was Director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and has worked at the House of Lords, LSE and Oxford University.
Laurie spoke to the Forum about IPPR's recent report 'This is a crisis: Facing up to the Age of Environmental Breakdown'. He identified the key role media companies need to play to improve the way political debates recognise the seriousness of the environmental breakdown we face.
Adam is a climate change communications specialist and Research Director at Climate Outreach. Adam’s work is concerned with the application of psychological and social scientific research to questions such as the effective communication of climate change, and the psychological barriers to engaging in pro-environmental behaviours. His recent work has included working with the IPCC, and directly with climate scientists, to improve public engagement in climate change. His presentation addressed what responsible climate change communication looks like.
George is a renowned journalist and Guardian regular, known for his outspoken (read: activist) stance on environmental and political issues. He pulls no punches on the role of media in this debate. George challenged the Forum on the need for more coverage of climate change, better literacy in the scientific background in content roles, and the need to challenge the argument used by some editors that climate change disengages audiences.
Picture credit: Dave Stelfox
Vikki is Director of Standards and Audience Protection at Ofcom, the UK communications regulator. Her responsibilities include diversity in television, as part of which she works with broadcasters to improve diversity and sometimes holds them to account. She spoke to the Forum about diversity, inclusion and culture.
Simon is Head of Corporate Responsibility at Telefónica UK, who operate under the O2 brand in the UK. He has spent 20 years working in communications, including 18 years managing the environmental and societal responsibilities of major telecommunications brands, Orange and O2. He talked to the Forum about building the internal case for Corporate Responsibility.
Andy Wales leads Digital Impact & Sustainability for BT, and previously held senior and board-level roles in corporate affairs, sustainability and strategy across the beverage, utilities and textiles industries. He is an Advisor to the Global Innovation Fund and co-Founder of the Global Goals Accelerator. He spoke to the Forum about building the case for Corporate Responsibility.
Caroline is responsible for setting strategy and delivery across sustainability at Landsec, encompassing natural resource management, sustainable design, and developing the employment pipeline. Caroline shared an overview of Landsec's strategy and gave insights to the development of their job creation strand.