Former Dumbarton journalist Ahmed is now Editorial Director of the BBC 

Ahmed Kamal BBC and Lennox Herald

Kamal Ahmed is now the editorial director of BBC News.

By Democrat reporter

The ‘Role of the Editor in the Evolving Newsroom’ will be debated at the Society of Editors’ Annual Conference on November 12.

The panel will be chaired by Kamal Ahmed, who is now the Editorial Director of BBC News.

Formerly the BBC’s Economics Editor, Ahmed who trained in Dumbarton under Bill Heaney, editor of the Dumbarton Democrat, now manages various BBC outlets including the daily News Editors; Question Time and Digital Current Affairs.

Mr Heaney said: “Kamal is a fine journalist and is one of many who cut their teeth in newspapers in Dumbarton.  I wonder what he would think of West Dunbartonshire Council and the SNP’s decision to ban and boycott The Democrat because we have taken the local authority administration to task on a number of occasions.

“I believe I know exactly what he would think by the way – and it would not be complimentary of them.

“Ironically the panel he will be chairing will discussing the state of Press Freedom in the UK. Maybe I’ll suggest to him to give the Dumbarton situation an airing at national level during this prestigious gathering.

“That could prove to be yet another well-deserved dagger in the heart of our basket case council who have had the good name of Dumbarton dragged through the mud for far too long now.”

Alison Phillips, Editor of the Daily Mirror and moreover, the first female editor since its very first editor in 1903, will also be present to give her own unique view on the responsibilities of a modern age editor.

Chris Evans, Editor of The Telegraph, will also join the panel. Having worked at the Daily Mail for 12 years, Chris became head of news at The Telegraph before taking up editorship in 2014.

Editor of The Mail on Sunday and former Daily Mail Royal Reporter, Ted Verity will also be in attendance.

Passionate about using the strength of the local press, Nancy Fielder, Editor of The Star, Sheffield Telegraph and Doncaster Free Press will be present to provide a regional outlook on the panel discussion.

Reuters Global Managing Editor, Alessandra Galloni, will also be speaking on the panel to provide her expertise from the more global perspective of news editing.

Ian Murray, the Society of Editors’ executive director said: “In a fast-changing media world the role of the editor would seem ever more vital.  How editors of some of the most important news operations are seeing this change and their thoughts on the future of the role will make fascinating and compulsive listening at this year’s conference.”

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Kate Adie

This year, to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Society, a Gala Dinner will be held at Stationers’ Hall in London. At the celebrations, former BBC Chief News Correspondent Kate Adie will deliver an address and receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for her life-long commitment to journalism.

Also speaking at the conference will be editors James Harding (Tortoise), Jonathan Calvert (Insight Editor, The Sunday Times) and Claire Newell (Investigations Editor, The Telegraph).

A panel discussing the state of Press Freedom in the UK will also be debated with panellists Elizabeth Denham (UK Information Commissioner), The Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, Martin Breen (Editor, Sunday Life) and John Battle (Head of Compliance, ITN).

The programme as it stands is available on the Society’s website. Early bird booking ends on 19 September – do book now to avoid missing out.

  • Kamal Ahmed is Editorial Director of BBC News, responsible for the daily News Editors; Question Time; News Analysis and Explanation (including Reality Check and Long Reads); Radio 1 News including on digital platforms and Digital Current Affairs (including for BBC III). He also has responsibility for visual journalism, including data, graphics and the BBC News brand. He is a member of the Newsgroup Board and the Sounds board. Between 2016 and 2018 Kamal was Economics Editor for the BBC, leading economics coverage for the corporation. He joined the BBC in April 2014 as Business Editor from the Telegraph Media Group where he was Executive Business Editor with responsibility for The Sunday Telegraph’s business and economics coverage. Between 2007 and 2009 Kamal was Group Director, Communications, at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Prior to this Kamal was Executive Editor, News, at The Observer and one of the team that lead its relaunch. He has also worked for The Guardian and Scotland on Sunday and the Lennox Herald, of course.

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