February 6, 2019 (Updated )
You know the drill, we hear it all the time. Journalism is full of ‘old white men’. And it’s somewhat true – our industry isn’t diverse enough. The stats prove it. 94 per cent of journalists are white, and more than half are male, and just 11 per cent are working class, compared to 60 per cent of the population. And this is a problem.
Nowhere is this problem seen more acutely than in journalism panels. Whether at an event or on TV, all too often we’re presented wittoh a discussion between three people from the same background, thinking essentially the same things.
Now, that’s not to say the old white men in our industry don’t have anything interesting to say – that is far from the case, and it’s a great insight into how the industry has changed during the past few decades. But missing out on other voices is bad for all of us. Journalism is supposed to represent the population as a whole, and events are also a big part of inspiring the next generation of reporters.
So, we present to you 104 reasons it’s actually pretty easy to book a diverse and excellent panel – or, in other words, 104 women and non binary people who are just really damn good at their jobs, so you should get them to talk about it. We’ve made sure to include full descriptions of everyone’s specialities, so make use of that beautiful ‘CTRL + F’ function if you’re looking to find someone with a certain speciality.
We know we won’t have managed to include everyone, because there are just far too many great people you could ask, so please let us know if we’ve forgotten anyone by dropping us a line on Twitter. At this point, we’d also like to give a massive shout out to Charlotte Gee, who provided us with the inspiration for this piece with her own tech version, and kindly encouraged us to use the format.
1. Brenda Wong: Brenda is a one-woman social branding masterclass, and has given various talks up and down the country about how to make your profiles sparkle. Currently at Monzo, she used to head up social at Jobbio, content at Debut Careers, and was a writer at Hexjam and Student Beans.
2. Anna Codrea-Rado: A freelancing queen, Anna dispenses vital information for those delving into the world of freelancing through her weekly newsletter. She’s also an excellent reporter, with bylines in the New York Times, Guardian, and Vice to name a few.
3. Tasnim Nazeer: A freelance journalist and Universal Peace Federation Ambassador for Peace, Tasnim is your go-to for human rights and peace journalism, and creating better interfaith understanding. She’s worked with BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought, Al Jazeera, Forbes and many more.
4. Ayshah Tull: With more than a decade of experience in the media, you’d struggle for a better choice than Ayshah. Currently a presenter at Newsround for the BBC, she’s a dab hand at talking about news for children, TV, and broadcasting and has presented a special one-off documentary on rhino poaching and covered the US elections.
5. Laura James: An author, columnist and journalist, Laura discovered she was autistic in her mid-forties, writing about her experiences in her book Odd Girl Out. She’s written for The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Irish Independent, amongst others, and also runs her own communications agency.
6. Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff: One of the founding team of gal-dem, Charlie knows exactly how digital publishing works, and how to build a brand. She’s also a great writer, with her pieces found in the Guardian, the i Paper and Dazed.
7. Kate Grey: A former Paralympian swimmer for ten years, Kate Grey has now switched things up to become a sports reporter for the BBC. She’s a frequent hit at conferences around the country, talking about her route into journalism and how she overcame adversity.
8. Victoria Sanusi: Currently the digital culture editor for the i, as well as a host of the Black Gals Livin’ podcast, Vic is an authority on all things internet culture and mental health, and understands the internet in a way we can only aspire to. She’s also one of the most and genuine people you’ll see on stage.
9. Charlotte Jee: She’s back (from above) and she’s great. As well as writing the inspiration for this list, she knows everything you could ever want to know about tech, and currently writes for MIT Technology Review. She’s also big on increasing diversity in tech, and can tell you a lot about newsletters.
10. Tobi Oredein: Another founder the mainstream media could learn a lot from, Tobi founded Black Ballad, quickly becoming a leading outlet for black women. She’s also recently gone full-time freelance, and has written for the i Paper, Grazi, Stylist and BuzzFeed.
11. Bonnie McLaren: A entertainment reporter currently working for The Sun, Bonnie has so much energy it’s unreal. She also came into the industry through an apprenticeship, so is able to talk confidently about not needing to do an MA.
12. Megha Mohan: The BBC’s first ever Gender and Identity Correspondent, Megha is an authority on under-reported issues, as well as how to responsibility report as a foreign correspondent. It goes without saying she knows how to create an incredible story, both on film and as a written piece.
13. Jess Brammar: Head of News at HuffPost UK, Jess knows what makes a good story, and how digital journalism works. She started off as a researcher on Question Time, before working her way up to Deputy Editor of Newsnight.
14. Sharan Dhailwal: Another founder who really knows her stuff, Sharan is the Founder of Burnt Roti magazine, as well as being a freelance video journalist. She’s also written for Broadly, i-D and the Guardian.
15. Jasmine Andersson: If you’re looking for someone who can chat honestly and confidently about their route into journalism, as well as a beat of social injustice, LGBT+ issues and the north, Jas is your gal. She’s currently at the i Paper as a staff writer.
16. Kuba Shand-Baptitse: Need someone to explain the art of opinion writing? Get Kuba Shand-Baptitse on it. Currently, she’s a commissioning editor for the Independent, as well as chief sub-editor for gal-dem and previously worked at The Pool.
17. Sophie Gadd: Formerly BuzzFeed and The Mirror, Sophie is a one-woman machine when it comes to making content people want to share. Now she’s at LEGO, she’s also mastered the art of videos about bricks as well.
18. Jenna Farmer: A freelance journalist and disability blogger, Jenna focusses on health on her own blog, as well as having written for IndyBest, Hostel World and Happiful. She’s also keen to share her tips and experiences of freelance life.
19. Melina Giubilaro: You might need to catch her sitting down first, but Melina is the inspiration you need to live your best life. A freelancer video reporter, she’s currently backpacking the world and sharing her story.
20. Ashitha Nagesh: An absolute queen of storytelling, Ash has worked at Metro.co.uk, BBC Three, and is now at BBC World. Her stories are a work of art, and the perfect example of people focussed storytelling for digital.
21. Alice Pomfret: Another founder, and a woman who has. her. stuff. together. Alice launched Akin magazine by crowdfunding almost £3,000. The mag focuses on one person’s story at a time and is exquisitely designed.
22. Izin Akhabau: The youngest person to have reported on the BBC News at Ten (which is already one hell of a party fact) Izin is a compelling voice around untold stories. She’s worked with Metro.co.uk, Black Ballad and the i Paper.
23. Remona Aly: A journalist and presenter, Remona’s talks are thoughtful, insightful and considered. Currently, she freelances at The Guardian, as well as presenting Something Understood on BBC Radio 4 and appearing on BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought.
24. Megan Lucero: Looking for innovation and impact? You want Megan Lucero. Formerly Data Journalism Editor at The Times, she now heads up Bureau Local, enabling newsrooms across the country to tell the stories which really matter.
25. Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi: Twice shortlisted for the Orwell Prize, Rebecca is a leading investigative journalist who writes for Open Democracy’s Shine A Light, as well as contributing to The Guardian and The New Statesman.
26. Aamna Mohdin: With a knack for getting behind the story on difficult issues, Aamna is the person you want to tell you about journalism. Currently at the Guardian, where she occasionally appears on the podcast, she has also worked for Quartz and SciDev.net.
27. Faima Bakar: A lifestyle journalist at Metro.co.uk, Faima tells accessible and relatable stories on a daily basis, and knows her way around the internet. If you want great storytelling, she’s the person you want on your panel.
28. Anisa Subedar: A senior journalist and producer for BBC Trending, Anisa has the ability to tell you a fascinating story you didn’t even know existed before you read it, with twists you didn’t quite see coming.
29. India Rakusen: An innovator and producer of seriously insightful, yet accessible content, India was the driving force behind BBC’s Like Minds, and now looks after the Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast where she is a presenter.
30: Rianna Croxford: Previously at the Financial Times, Rianna is now a broadcast journalist at BBC World Service and BBC News. Adept at wrangling FOIs and other complex data, she knows how to get to the bottom of a story.
31. Tiffany Sweeney: Tiffany presented the first ever BBC World TV report from Guyana in 2018, and is as confident on camera as she is in her reporting, and is a master of explaining why stories matter to you.
32. Hannah Price: Another BBC Journalist, Hannah Price currently works for BBC Three and is a force of nature. As well as writing countless exclusives on issues affecting young people and women, she’s also the founder of Revolt Sexual Assault.
33. Mélanie Gouby: A journalist, writer and filmmaker, who focuses on investigations and long-form, Mélanie knows her way around conflicts, politics and the effects of corruption. She’s worked with The Guardian, The New York Times, La Figaro and others.
34. Laura Gaynor: Previously a Production Trainee, Laura is well placed to talk about how to get into the BBC, as well as the differences across its various sectors, having worked on Newsnight, The Travel Show and BBC FIlms. She now freelances for the BBC and RTÉ.
35. Bethan Jinkinson: Running the show as executive editor of BBC Ideas, Bethan is a master at knowing how to get people curious, and make them watch short videos online on everything from shoelaces to being held hostage for five years.
36. Stephanie Hegarty: One of the most fascinating job remits in the business, Stephanie is currently a population correspondent at the BBC, looking at how the way we live is changing. She’s a talented storyteller, whether it’s across video, long-form, or otherwise.
37. Leah Cowan: Politics does not have to be dull and Leah has got a full handle on that. She’s the politics editor of gal-dem, and also writes bits for Vice. She’s also got a lot of insight on addressing violence against black and minoritised women and girls.
38. Jinan Younis: Interested in hearing more about social change? Ask Jinan to come and speak. She’s currently the deputy politics editor of gal-dem and also wrote the lost voices report for the Social Change Agency.
39. Jendella Benson: Contributing Editor at Black Ballad, Jendella also heads up the Young Motherhood project to help smash the negative stereotypes around young mothers through exhibitions, film, and print editions.
40. Natasha Clark: Digital Westminster Correspondent at The Sun, Natasha has also worked on the politics beat for CityAM, The Time’s Redbox and Politics Home. As well as knowing the UK political climate inside out, she knows just how to make it work in digital.
41. Tolani Shoneye: An award-winning lifestyle journalist, Tolani has worked with BuzzFeed, Elle, The Independent and OK Online. She’s also one of the three hosts for The Reciepts Podcast, which has had sold out live shows across the UK.
42. Gena-mour Barrett: Previously at BuzzFeed UK, Gena-mour has focussed on pop culture, race, and feminism, with a in-built knack for getting people talking. Now freelance she’s also appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, amongst others.
43. Danielle Dash: Writer, producer, and director of the award-winning web series Dear Jesus, Danielle knows her stuff about the internet, theatre, and film. She’s also written for The Guardian, Metro.co.uk, and Huff Post UK.
44. Bolu Babalola: Need pop culture? You need Bolu, whose words on all your favourite shows can be found at Dazed, Broadly, and Vice. Oh, and she also went kinda viral with her photoshopping skills at the end of 2018.
45. Robyn Vinter: Formerly a national journalist based in London, Robyn moved to Leeds to found The Overtake, an investigative journalism site based in Leeds. It aims to provide long-form, original journalism for millennials outside of the city bubble.
46. Ellen Stewart: Currently Head of Platforms at PinkNews, Ellen works out (rather successfully) how to get people reading and engaged with a specialist publisher, where she led on their Snapchat launch. She’s previously been at Metro.co.uk and the Evening Standard.
47. Ellen Scott: Founder and presenter of the Mentally Yours podcast, as well as Lifestyle Editor of Metro.co.uk, Ellen is an authority on all things mental health and lifestyle, having led Metro’s lifestyle section through its biggest period of growth.
48. Ellen Jones: A speaker, writer and campaigner for LGBT+ issues, Ellen can speak fluently and confidently about digital platforms, and their ability to create real change in communities and has appeared on both BBC and Sky News.
49. Afua Hirsch: Author, journalist, and presenter, there’s not much Afua can’t do. She’s written for the Guardian, presented on Sky News, and has also appeared on the BBC and CNN. As a speaker, she’s both knowledgable and honest, making her relatable to a wide audience.
50: June Sarpong: A groundbreaking presenter, June was one of a new wave of presenters at MTV in 1998 and has gone out to work for T4, Sky News, Loose Women and more. She’s also written several books, and has received an MBE.
51: Beth Ashton: Beth is currently the Head of Social at The Telegraph, having previously worked for the Manchester Evening News, and is one of the best people to tell you how to build an audience. Plus, as a visiting lecturer at City, she knows how to teach.
52. Chanté Joseph: Not sure how to communicate to a youth audience? Get Chanté in to talk to you. As the Editor-in-Chief of The Uni Bubble she creates and shapes rafts of content, as well as also writing for the i Paper, Noisey and Wonderland Magazine.
53. Joanna Fuertes: With a strong background in journalism from subjects across Grenfell to how the world forgot to sleep, Joanna has bylines all around the town, as well as experience of teaching and non-profit work.
54. Moya Lothian-Mclean: Just starting at BBC Three, Moya has a wealth of storytelling kudos, having worked with outlets such as Vice, The Fader, BBC News and others, as well as taking some truly impressive pictures in a kebab shop.
55. Katherine Viner: Editor-in-Chief of both The Guardian and The Observer, Kath is a trailblazer as the first woman in the role. She’s helped the news brand revitalise their strategy, both in terms of coverage, digital journalism and profits.
56. Maeve McClenaghan: As well as working on investigations at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Maeve runs The Tip-Off Podcast, which highlights amazing women investigative journalists across the UK.
57. Yomi Adegoke: The award-winning journalist is also the joint author of Slay in Your Lane, which was published in 2016 to instant acclaim. She’s written for the i, The Guardian, The Pool, The Independent and more.
58. Alisa Wylie: Music? Tick. Hard news and investigations? Tick. Alisa is an excellent shout if you’re looking for well-versed insight from her work at both DIY Magazine and Scottish hyperlocal The Ferret.
59. Charlie Lait: Someone with actual insight on Brexit can be hard to find, but Charlie’s on it, alongside her other beat of the royals. Currently, she’s a digital producer and creating content for TicToc by Bloomberg.
60. Felicity Morse: Previously the launch digital editor for the i Paper, Felicity is now a life coach, author and writer. Her book, Give a F**k, was released last year and is a wealth of knowledge on how to help you help yourself.
61. Emily Shackleton: Now at The Sun, and previously at Metro.co.uk and MailOnline, Emily is an expert on all things social, and can speak fluently about how to build a community and real engagement at publications.
62. Aina Khan: Previously a presenter for British Muslim TV and now freelancing for a number of places including the Guardian, Aina has a solid portfolio of stories about Muslim women. She’s also helped to programme the Women of the World Festival.
63. Rachael Krishna: A force of nature when it comes to understanding internet culture, Racheal is one woman machine when it comes to taking apart complex stories and putting them back together again in a way everyone can understand.
64. Rossalyn Warren: Previously at BuzzFeed UK, Rossalyn Warren is now a freelance journalist who focuses on women’s stories. She’s travelled across the world reporting for places like Vox, The Guardian and others.
65. Eve Livingston: A Scotland-based freelancer who focuses on politics, social affairs and equality. Eve has written for places like The Guardian, Dazed and The Pool and is refreshingly honest and open to helping others in the profession.
66. Ria Hebden: If you’re looking for motivation, Ria is your woman. After deciding to launch headfirst into presenting she’s forged an impressive career including on ITV’s This Morning, BBC Two’s Strictly It Take Two and BBC One’s Sunday Morning Live.
67. Patricia de Mesquita: Patricia has more than twenty years of experience as a documentary maker, working with the BBC to tell vital stories from across the globe. She’s also the founder of Newsnuggets, a news and affairs club for primary school age children.
68. Paris Lees: Activist, journalist and presenter, Paris is an award-winning and engaging speaker, who’s appeared on the BBC, writes a column for Vogue, and has pieces in outlets like The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent.
69. Barbara Speed: Currently Opinions Editor at the i, and a co-founder of the Second Source, Barbara is a wealth of knowledge on opinion writing, and commissioning – including how to actually write a successful pitch.
70. Emily Reynolds: A passionate mental health advocate, Emily’s first book, A Beginner’s Guide To Losing Your Mind, was launched to much acclaim. She also writes a column on relationships and intimacy for Huck and has written for The Guardian and Medium.
71. Jessica Elgot: A member of the lobby and a political reporter for The Guardian, Jess is a confident and experienced reporter. Due to her beat, she’s also one of the best-placed people to try and explain whatever’s happening with Brexit right now.
72. Ella Dove: If you’re looking to know about the intricacies feature writing, Ella has all the experience, with features across Red, Prima and Good Housekeeping. Her debut novel is also due to be out later in 2019.
73. Caroline North: A lecturer in journalism at Brighton Journalist Works, Caroline is really well placed to help those looking to break into journalism, and fully armed with practical advice on finding and putting together your first stories.
74. Laura Garcia: A lecturer at the University of Kent, freelancer for several broadcasters, and one of the co-founders of Press Pad, Laura is a hotbed of knowledge for all things new in journalism tech, as well as increasing accessibility in journalism.
75. Sarah Lonsdale: Head of the Magazine Course at City University, Sarah has also written various columns for national newspapers such as The Telegraph. Her book, The Journalist In Fiction, is one of the only insights into how journalists are portrayed throughout the ages in books and film.
76. Jessie Mellor: An experienced entertainment journalist, having spent more than a decade at The Mirror, Jessie now also teaches at the Press Association training course on the basics of reporting. She’s also written for Empire, Total Film and the Radio Times.
77. Geri Scott: One beat is not enough for Geri – she’s moved up the ranks at the Eastern Daily Press to become both the health and political correspondent, as well as appearing on the New European podcast. She’s also a trustee for the Student Publication Association.
78. Pavan Amara: After leaving news behind her, Pavan Amara set up the My Body Back Project, which works with women who have experienced sexual violence and help them to connect with their bodies, sexuality and health.
79. Lucy-Ann Holmes: A prominent campaigner behind No More Page Three, Lucy has written for the Guardian and The Independent, as well as appeared on BBC’s Women’s Hour. She has also written a memoir about sex.
80. Liv Little: The founding Editor-in-Chief of gal-dem while she was at university, Liv has gone on to oversee the magazine grow enormously, including a Guardian Weekend takeover last year. She is also a model represented by Storm Models.
81. Eve Hartley: A multimedia journalist and filmmaker, previously at Huff Post UK and now freelancing, Eve has a speciality in telling untold stories from the LGBT+ community, subcultures and international news.
82. Christina Lamb: The Chief Foreign Correspondent at The Sunday Times, Christina has reported from South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brazil and Washington, to name but a few. She has also written eight books.
83. Juno Roche: Starting out as a teacher, Juno has now moved into writing, authoring a book on queer sex, as well as writing pieces for Refinery29 and Bitch Media. She has a second book set to be realised later in 2019.
84. Tina Moran: With a list of national experience including The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Sunday Times and the Daily Express, Tina is well placed to share insights on the industry. She’s now a visiting lecturer and trainer and several institutions.
85. Sophia Rosemary: A blogger and Instagrammer from Manchester, we can’t even count how many followers Sophia’s amassed. Her writing focuses on fashion and lifestyle, as well as her daily life and travels.
86. Kirstie Brewer: Kirstie focusses on women, social affairs and inequality, with strong experience in digital as part of the BBC Stories team, as well as working as a commissioning editor at The Guardian. She’s also a co-founder of the Second Source.
87. Emma Barnett: Previously The Telegraph’s women’s editor, Emma now presents on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Women’s Hour. She’s also a columnist for The Sunday Times, and really knows her stuff on UK politics.
88. Carrie Lyell: As Editor of Diva, Carrie is one of the few people helping to create quality media for lesbian and bisexual women. She’s always had a strong focus on LGBT+ media, previously writing for the Pink Paper and Lesbilcious.
89. Catrin Nye: A journalist and documentary maker for the BBC, Catrin has also won the Mind Journalist of the Year Award. In the past, she’s reported for Panorama, Radio 4, the Victoria Derbyshire programme and BBC World.
90. Rachel Burden: A presenter for BBC 5 Live since 2011, Rachel started her career on BBC Radio Suffolk. She has also travelled to Rome, Dublin, Kenya, New Zealand and South Africa to broadcast for the channel.
91. Alex Crawford: A special correspondent for Sky News, Alex has reported from some of the most perilous war zones in the world. She was the first TV journalist to enter Tripoli with the rebels in 2011, as well as venturing into the killing zones of the DRC.
92. Parveen Ali: A photographer with a knack for getting just the right image, Parveen has also released her own exhibition focussing on the Windrush generation, and is particularly interested in human rights stories.
93. Emma Houlton: Founder of production company Art of Podcast, Emma is an award-winning podcast producer and audio storyteller. She’s also worked with national news brands on their production of Amazon Alexa briefings.
94. Allie Liu: A researcher and runner for BBC’s CBeebies, Allie is able to give an honest insight into both children’s TV and the TV production industry more widely, as well as passing on her insight about breaking into the industry.
95. Natasha Preskey: Now working at BBC Three, Natasha Preskey is an award-winning writer and journalist, with a knack for finding stories you wouldn’t have even dreamt of, and is particularly interested in mental health and women’s stories. She is also an MHP 30 Under 30 winner.
96. Gail Champion: An investigative journalist and the editor of BBC’s File on 4, Gail is well versed in long-form investigations for broadcast, and is also the previous winner of the Thomson Reuters Reporting Europe Prize
97. Cat Lewis: Based in Manchester, Cat Lewis is an executive producer of BBC’s Songs of Praise, as well as the CEO of Nine Lives Media, an independent TV production company in northern England which has worked on programmes such as Dispatches and Panorama.
98. Koloud Helmi: Koloud is the Co-Founder and Editor of Enab Baladi, a non-profit Syrian media organisation established in 2011. She originally trained as an English teacher, and has also worked as a gender consultant, translator and interpreter.
99. Sarah Giaziri: Sarah is the Director of the Frontline Freelance Register, an organisation to support freelancers across the world, run by freelancers themselves. She’s previously worked for the Rory Peck Trust and has contributed to the BBC College of Journalism’s blogs.
100. Samantha King: Deputy Digital Editor for Talk Radio, and formerly a features writer at Schools Week, Sam is able to talk fluently and confidently about her experiences breaking into the industry, progression, and working at specialist outlets.
101. Sally Hayden: Focussed on migration, conflict, and humanitarian crises around the world, Sally is an expert at on the ground reporting and telling human stories. She’s worked with Time, The Irish Post, Vice, The Guardian and others.
102. Suchandrika Chakrabarti: Formerly of the Daily Mirror, Suchandrika is a podcasting queen. While she was there she set up the Black Mirror Cracked Podcast. Now, as a freelancer, she runs the Freelance Pod, interviewing freelancers across the industry.
103. Owl: A columnist for Metro.co.uk and an articulate advocate, Owl is also one of the co-founders of My Genderation. The non-profit film making enterprise makes films about trans people, by trans people, for a wider audience.
104. Fox: The other half of the My Genderation film project, Fox is a film-maker, writer and activist. They have also written a children’s storybook, and have also created a comedy sketch on BBC 3 about being non-binary.
105. Ruchira Sharma: A talented feature and news writer, Ruchira is currently a staff writer at the i Paper. She’s also previously worked for Vice, The New Statesman and The Guardian, and has experience as both a staffer and freelancer.
106. Jennifer Williams: The political and investigations editor for the Manchester Evening News, Jennifer has conducted far-reaching investigations into issues such as homelessness and the widespread use of the drug spice. She was also nominated for an Orwell Prize.
107. Kat Molesworth: An expert at all things influencer, Kat is the person to advice anyone on their online presence, as well as knowing all there is to know about podcasting. She’s also the Director of Blogtacular, to help creative bloggers and influencers.
108. Poorna Bell: Poorna is the former Executive Editor of HuffPost UK, and is an honest and emotive writer, with bylines in The Pool, The Guardian, Stylist and The Telegraph to name a few. She has also written a book, Chase The Rainbow.
We’re aware we’ll have missed lots of great women and non-binary people in the process of putting together this list, but we will aim to update it regularly. Please drop us a DM if you’d like to tip us off about someone great.