2014 Mentors

James Bays, diplomatic editor, Al Jazeera English

Bays2014James Bays is the diplomatic editor for Al Jazeera English and a United Nations specialist. He has reported from more than 70 countries and numerous conflict zones, including Iraq, Congo, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

A former correspondent for ITV and 5 News, James was in Baghdad throughout the Iraq war and secured an interview with the Iraqi information minister the day before Baghdad fell that was the last official statement by Saddam’s regime. He continued to report from Iraq’s capital, Baghdad and Kabul, and filed reports for Al Jazeera while following Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan.

His report later took second prize in the Best TV Item category at the Monte Carlo Television Festival in 2008 and was nominated for a Royal Television Society award.

Andy Bell, political editor, 5 News

Bell2014As political editor for 5 News, Andy Bell has reported on many of the significant events in the UK, and internationally, since 1999.

He has interviewed all the big British political players of the last decade, and memorably asked the Prime Minister David Cameron, “Do you regret calling Nick Clegg a joke?” during their first joint press conference at Downing Street in May 2010.

Andy has also reported on the 2012 US presidential election, Hurricane Sandy and famine in East Africa. He joined Channel Five from the BBC, where he was foreign affairs editor on Radio 4’s Today Programme, and was previously Paris correspondent and a World Service producer.

Nigel Charters, managing editor, BBC Newsroom

ChartersNigel has worked in broadcasting for more than 30 years, in commercial and BBC radio, television and online.

He has hands-on experience of radio, having worked as deputy editor of Radio 4’s, Today, programme and programme controller at LBC, and TV News, including as managing editor of BBC Parliament. He was also editor of the BBC’s ground-breaking election ‘97 website, which was the precursor to bbc.co.uk/news site.

Nigel’s work now is heavily involved with career development and coaching to get the best out of others and to help preserve and improve the best journalism across the board.

Michelle Clifford, senior news correspondent, Sky News

Michelle Photo

Michelle joined Sky News in 2000 and has covered stories all over the world, including the conflict in Afghanistan, elections in South Africa and the papal resignation and elections in Rome.

The aftermath of the 2000 US presidential elections kept Michelle in Washington for six weeks – even though she had only expected to be away for several days. She was to travel back and forth to North America several times to cover US news, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, before being made US correspondent the following year.

Michelle, who spent six months in Baghdad in 2003, has also covered some of the biggest events in the UK from the Soham murder trial in 2007 to the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the birth of Prince George last year.

Michelle began her journalism career as a graduate trainee at the BBC where she spent the next 10 years, first as a regional reporter, then moving to Manchester to work as a political reporter.

Julie Etchingham co-presenter of ITV News at Ten

EtchinghamJulie has been a co-presenter on ITV News at Ten since its relaunch in 2008. She also currently presents ITV’s Tonight, having replaced Trevor McDonald in 2010. That year, she won the Royal Television Society’s Presenter of the Year award, becoming the first woman to receive it.

Before joining ITV, Julie worked for Sky News, joining in 2002 and hosting a variety of programmes and occasionally presenting 5 News.

Julie began her career at BBC Radio Leicester and co-presented On The Edge on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. She became a presenter on the BBC’s Midland’s Today and later went on to present on national television, including BBC’s Breakfast News and Newsround.

Jonathan Hill, co-presenter, ITV News Cymru Wales

JonathanHillJonathan is a Welsh journalist who currently co-presents ITV News Cymru Wales, the nightly regional news magazine programme.

He started his career freelancing for BBC Radio Wales, before joining HTV Wales as a general news reporter and bulletin presenter in 1993, working on HTV Newsdesk and Wales at Six.
In 1996 Jonathan won a BAFTA Cymru for his Wales This Week report on the investigation into the 1993 murder of Harry and Megan Tooze. He was made one of the main presenters of Wales at Six‘s successor, Wales Tonight the same year and has since been the senior anchor for the station’s main regional news programmes.

Jonathan, who has also presented and produced a number of documentaries, was named BT Welsh Journalist of the Year for his work with the flagship news programme Wales Tonight and the current affairs series Wales This Week.

He also presents the popular series Crime Secrets, which explores the untold stories behind some of Wales’ most notorious crimes

Fergal Keane, special correspondent, BBC

keane2014Fergal Keane began his journalism career in Ireland in the late 1970s, working first on The Limerick Leader, and then The Irish Press. He joined the BBC in 1989 as Northern Ireland correspondent and was then appointed as the corporation’s South Africa correspondent and Asia correspondent, based in Hong Kong.

Fergal covered the first post-apartheid, multi-racial elections in South Africa that saw Nelson Mandela elected to power in 1994 and reported on the genocide in Rwanda during the same year.

That year he became the only journalist to win both the Royal Television Society Journalist of the Year award and the Sony Radio Reporter of the Year. He has also won the James Cameron Prize for war reporting, the Edward R. Murrow Award for foreign reporting and the 1995 Orwell Prize for his book Season of Blood.

Bridget Kendall, diplomatic correspondent, BBC

Kendall2014Based in London, Bridget Kendall has been the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent since 1998. She covers major international developments for radio and television news, reporting on a wide range of issues relating to international diplomacy and politics and their impact on Britain.

Bridget is also host of The Forum, the flagship ideas programme for the BBC World Service. She has a particular interest and expertise in Russia and East/West relations, dating from her years as BBC Moscow correspondent and BBC Washington correspondent.

Bridget joined the BBC in 1983 as a radio production trainee for BBC World Service and worked as a producer and presenter on a wide range of current affairs programmes, including BBC Two’s Newsnight, 24 Hours, File On 4 and Newshour before moving to Moscow in 1989.
 She became the first woman to be presented with the James Cameron Award for distinguished journalism in 1992, and is a trustee of Asia House and visiting professor of journalism at Lincoln University.

Siobhan Kennedy, business correspondent, Channel 4 News

Picture by Philip Hollis for Channel 4 News   26-7-10 Siobhan KennedySiobhan joined Channel 4 News in 2008 and since then she has covered a wide variety of business stories, from industrial action to the long-term impact of the recession and where growth is coming from in the economy.

Prior to joining Channel 4 News, Siobhan was a reporter for The Times, where she worked as politics and business correspondent, based at Westminster.

She joined the paper’s Westminster team from the paper’s business section, where she was mergers and private equity correspondent. In this role she covered some of the big stories of the time, including an exclusive that Richard Branson’s Virgin had submitted a proposal to buy Northern Rock.

Before she joined The Times, Siobhan worked for Reuters based in London and New York.

Mike Kumar, senior producer, Sky News

photo (3)Mike has more than 20 years’ experience in broadcast journalism, and is currently a senior producer, programme editing and chief subbing at Sky News.

He regularly acts up as an executive producer for the channel’s morning output, including Dermot’s Murnaghan’s weekday show, and the daily Westminster-based lunchtime programme Boulton and Co.

Prior to joining Sky News in 2005, Mike spent more than 12 years at the BBC. He joined as a news trainee working at BBC Greater London Radio and the regional programme Newsroom SouthEast. He then spent three-and-a half years as a reporter/producer/newsreader at BBC Radio Newcastle, before returning to London as a senior producer at Radio Five Live, editing programmes across the network. Mike then spent four years at BBC Breakfast and News 24 as an assistant editor, output editing and managing producers.

Kate McAndrew, executive producer, Sky News

Back CameraKate is executive producer of afternoons on Sky News. She joined the news channel seven years ago after working on a number of news and current affairs programmes at the BBC.

Kate held senior roles on BBC2’s Newsnight and the BBC’s News at Ten, and on Radio 4’s news programmes World at One, PM and the Sunday morning news magazine programme Broadcasting House.

She began her career at BBC Westminster as a newsroom assistant – collecting Order Papers and answering the phones.

Mike McCarthy, Northern bureau chief, Sky News

Mccarthy2014As Northern bureau chief, Mike heads a busy team and has covered most of the big stories in the North of England; spanning from the Hillsborough disaster to the floods in Cumbria and the Manchester riots.

Mike has combined this with coverage of major international events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Washington DC.

Most recently he reported live during riots from the centre of Athens and from the USA on the Boston Marathon bombings.

Amongst his many career highlights, Mike is proud to have interviewed every British prime minister since James Callaghan. Educated in Derbyshire, he studied journalism before working as a reporter for a local newspaper and then commercial radio. Prior to joining Sky, Mike worked for the BBC in Leeds and London.

Dermot Murnaghan, presenter, Sky News

murnaghan-2014Dermot presents the weekly news programme, Murnaghan as well as presenting Sky News Monday to Wednesday mornings.

With Sky News, Dermot has interviewed a variety of high profile figures including Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Before joining Sky News, Dermot presented BBC Breakfast, joining the Corporation after more than a decade presenting ITV News.

Dermot has won awards for his work, including the Television and Radio Industries Club’s Newscaster of the Year award in 2000, and in 1999 he was named Interviewer of the Year by the Royal Television Society.

Nina Nannar, correspondent, ITV News

Nina NannarNina Nannar is an ITV News correspondent who specialises in arts, media and entertainment.

Previously at the BBC, she joined ITN in 2001, and covers the Oscars in Los Angeles and has interviewed every major screen star, with exclusives including Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, and Jude Law. She is also a regular contributor to ITV programmes on entertainment, and popular culture.

General news stories include the 60th anniversary of independence celebrations of India and Pakistan. More recently she travelled to Sarajevo to report on the world’s population explosion and to Belfast to cover the origins of the Titanic.

Nina began her journalism career as a newsroom assistant at BBC Radio Leeds writing the traffic reports. She went on to do a training course before getting a job at the now closed BBC headquarters in the Midlands, Pebble Mill.

During her time as the arts and entertainment correspondent on Midlands Today, she presented and reported on BBC Radio 5 Live for three series of Asian Perspective, a live news and current affairs series.

Eleanor Oldroyd, sports broadcaster, BBC Radio

DSCF1205Eleanor began her career at Radio Wyvern, and after her first stint covering the cricket at the Worcester ground went on to report on a wide variety of sports, including football and five Olympic Games.

Eleanor’s first job at the BBC was with Radio Shropshire and she later moved to Radio 1’s Newsbeat before joining the BBC radio sport department in 1991. Eleanor is heard mostly heard on Radio 5 Live – in 1995 she became the first female presenter of the BBC’s Sports Report, which launched in 1948 and is one of the longest-running programmes on British radio. She is an occasional ground reporter for Test Match Special.

Rageh Omaar, special correspondent for ITV News

Omaar2014Working as a special correspondent for ITV, Rageh has reported on many stories both in the UK and abroad.

Before working with ITV, he worked for the BBC as world affairs correspondent, and reported on the invasion of Iraq in 2013 from Baghdad .

He left the BBC in 2006 and became a reporter and presenter for Al Jazeera before joining ITV in 2013.

Rageh has also written two books; Revolution Day: The Real Story of the Battle for Iraq, which was published in 2005 and Only Half of Me: Being a Muslim in Britain the following year.

James Porter, head of UK journalism training; nations, English regions & sport

James Porter has been a journalist at the BBC for over 20 years. He joined as a trainee reporter in Local Radio and was then employed as the youngest Sports Editor in the Country. He moved to Radio 5 Live in 1994 and over the next 10 years filled numerous roles in Radio Sport and won a Sony Award for coverage of The Open Golf.

James then moved across to the Sports News department and joined the Sport board as the Head of Sports News where he stayed for 5 years.

For the past four years, James has been working at the BBC College of Journalism and his current remit includes the responsibility for the UK Journalism Training at the BBC. He is on the board of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council.

Dan Rivers, ITV correspondent, West and Wales

Rivers Dan

Dan has recently returned to ITV News, having spent seven years working at CNN, first based in Bangkok, where he covered news and business stories across South East Asia, and then in London.

His exclusive investigation into the case of Rohingya refugees set adrift by the Thai navy made headlines around the world and led to him winning both an Amnesty International Media Award and a George Polk Award for International Television Reporting.

Dan, who will be focusing on Wales and the west of England, was previously ITV News’ crime correspondent. He broke the story that a series of police blunders led to the mistaken shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005, was embedded with the Royal Navy during the 2003 Iraq war and covered the Asian tsunami the following year.

Mark Simpson, Ireland correspondent, BBC

marksimpsonMark began his journalism career working for a series of Northern Irish newspapers – The News Letter, The Irish News and The Belfast Telegraph. He joined the BBC in 1998 as a political correspondent and, in 2005, he moved to Leeds to take up the position of North of England correspondent, where he reported for the national BBC News, including the disappearance of Shannon Matthews and her later discovery.

In 2008, Mark returned to Belfast and was appointed the BBC’s Ireland correspondent.


Jon Sopel, senior presenter, BBC


Jon launched BBC World’s new flagship daily programme, Global With Jon Sopel in January this year and since the has presented the programme from President Obama’s inauguration in Washington, oversaw the BBC’s special coverage of the election and the installation of the new Pope, and was in Nairobi to cover events at the shopping mall siege.

Jon, who was voted Political Journalist of the Year by the Public Affairs Industry in 2007, presented BBC1’s Politics Show until the end of 2011, interviewing all the major figures on the national stage.

As senior presenter on the BBC News Channel, he has anchored coverage from the middle east during the Israel/Lebanon war, Sri Lanka after the tsunami, New Orleans after Katrina. He also played a big part in the 2012 Olympics.

Jon started his career as a reporter in local radio at Radio Solent, and was previously the BBC’s Paris correspondent and chief political correspondent at Westminster, during which time he wrote an acclaimed biography of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Alex Thomson, chief correspondent, Channel 4 News

Picture by Philip Hollis for Channel 4 News   26-7-10Alex ThompsonAlex has been part of the Channel 4 News team for more than 20 years.

As chief correspondent, he has covered over 15 wars, and last year picked up the Royal Television Society’s Television Journalist of the Year for his reporting around the globe, including the conflict in Syria.

More recently he has been on assignment in the Central African Republic covering the appalling events there.

Alex also 1997 he won a Royal Television Society award for his reporting on events surrounding Bloody Sunday.

Alex, who joined ITN from BBC Northern Ireland, has also written books on India and the Gulf War.

Lucy West, head of News, ITV Granada


Lucy returned to the North West in March 2012, having previously been head of news for ITV Tyne Tees and Border. While there she was responsible for coverage of the Cumbria shootings when Derrick Bird killed 12 people in West Cumbria. This newsgathering effort helped win the Bafta for news coverage in 2010.

Lucy also led the Tyne Tees team reporting on Britain’s biggest manhunt after Raoul Moat took shelter around Rothbury. She delivered a follow-up based on exclusive access to Moat’s own audio recordings where he admitted needing psychiatric help months before going on the run.

Lucy has continued that success at Granada Reports when the team won an unprecedented second Bafta for their coverage of the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report.

Lucy began her broadcasting career at the BBC World Service followed by Radio 4 and Radio Five Live, before joining Tyne Tees to learn all about television. She then moved over the Pennines to work for Granada as news editor, followed by a short spell at BBC North West before heading back to re-join Tyne Tees.

She is married with two sons and is adamant that you shouldn’t have to work in London to succeed in the media.

Andrew Whitehead, editor, BBC World Service News

AndyWhiteheadAndrew was the BBC’s Delhi correspondent from 1993 to 1997, the editor of BBC World Service News and then/ returned to India as editor of Hindi TV before taking on the role of director of the BBC World Service Trust from 2005 to 2007.

His history of the Kashmir crisis, A Mission in Kashmir, was published in 2007. Andrew is editor of History Workshop Journal and runs the website londonfictions.com.



Sarah Whitehead, head of home news, deputy head of newsgathering, Sky News

imgresSarah took up her current role in March last year. Previously, she spend two years running Sky News’ foreign coverage, taking up the reins in January 2011, at the beginning of what turned out to be an extraordinary year – her team covered not only the tumultuous events of the Arab uprisings but also the death of Osama bin Laden and, later, Muammar Gaddafi and Kim Jong-Il, and the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.