The Judges

 

Each category in the Kent Press & Broadcast Awards will be assessed by an independent panel of judges – all with Kent connections. Together, their expertise covers print journalism, online, design, broadcast, blogging and social media. The judges see every entry submitted – there is no shortlisting process beforehand.

Kiran Bhangal
Radio journalist at Sky News
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Kiran has spent more than a decade working in the media, starting as the editor of a youth magazine, at the age of 18. 

 

She has spent the past five years working as a radio journalist at Sky News. She broadcasts to millions of listeners and produces news content for commercial radio stations across the UK.

Before her current position, she spent two years at kmfm in Kent and regularly delivered news bulletins across the region, while also producing online, print and video content for the KM Group. 

 

Kiran is passionate about supporting young journalists, particularly those from diverse and underprivileged backgrounds who are struggling to break into the industry. In her spare time, she has acted as a mentor for the Journalism Diversity Fund and is well-versed on delivering speeches within schools and universities, aiming to empower journalism students.

Leo Whitlock
Former newspaper journalist, former lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University    
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Leo was a local newspaper journalist for more than 20 years, with much of that time spent at the KM Media Group. 

After originally joining the production desk of the group’s former evening newspaper Kent Today, the last 13 years of his time at the KM were spent editing various titles in east Kent, including the Kentish Express, the Kentish Gazette, the Dover and Deal Mercury and the Thanet Extra. 

He has a long-standing commitment to training and mentoring young journalists having lectured in law and ethics, and public affairs to journalism students at Canterbury Christ Church University. He has been an examiner for the NCTJ for the past 16 years.
 

Leo is Head of Policy and Communications at Canterbury City Council.

Patrick Fuller
Strategic Digital Consultant and former Group Publishing Director at Haymarket
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Digital strategy consultant Patrick Fuller trained as a journalist in Kent, including a stint on the now-defunct Kent Today, before joining specialist media company Haymarket Consumer Media.

 

After 10 years on the tools, he went into commercial roles and until 2016 was the group director of brands including What Car?, Autocar, Pistonheads, Stuff, and What Hi-Fi, with a combined turnover of £40m. He also oversaw digital development.

 

He was appointed to Haymarket’s international board in 2009 and also sat on the executive board of the AOP, the body which represents publishers of quality digital content.

 

Patrick now works as a digital transformation consultant for brands such as Volkswagen, Toyota and Polestar, and hardly a day passes when he does not use his NCTJ training in some way. He still lives in Tunbridge Wells with his author wife Louise, whom he met over the typewriter at the Kent and Sussex Courier.

Rebecca Smith
Former local online and newspaper editor 

Formerly senior editor for Kent Regional News and Media, Rebecca worked in news publishing for nearly 20 years.

Kent-based, and with in-depth knowledge of the Kent media – including the opportunities and challenges it faces – she has worked across areas as diverse as Medway, Canterbury, Whitstable, Dover, Faversham, Canterbury, Folkestone, Thanet and Maidstone.

 

Her career has spanned all levels of journalism with roles from trainee reporter, news editor and editor, giving her an overview of the news process from start to finish in both print and online.

 

Working on the development of online platforms was a significant part of her role in KRN while the group was owned by Local World.

 

Now at the University of Kent, Rebecca works in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation and responsible enterprise.

Dr Sarah Lonsdale
Journalist and lecturer at the Department of Journalism, City University, London

Dr Sarah Lonsdale has been a journalist for over 25 years, training on the Reading Chronicle before joining the Observer newspaper as a general reporter. During her time on the Observer she specialised in stories concerning social justice. 

 

Living in Whitstable, she is now freelance and has written for a wide variety of publications including: the Observer, Financial Times, Evening Standard, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, Country Homes and Interiors Magazine, the London Magazine, and the Sunday Times.

 

She was a weekly columnist for the Sunday Telegraph writing about environmental issues from 2006 – 2014, particularly the threat of climate change. She now writes book reviews and essays for the Times Literary Supplement. Dr Lonsdale recently completed her PhD, and her first book 'The journalist in British fiction and film' was published in 2016. Her second book, featuring  some trailblazing women journalists, Rebel Women Between the Wars: Fearless Writers and Adventurers was published in 2020. Her third book, Terra Incognita: Five Women and the Wild will be published in 2024.

 

She joined City University London in 2013 after six years as a lecturer at the University of Kent, teaching at the School of English and the Centre for Journalism there.

Sian Elvin
National journalist and editor
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Sian Elvin is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience across national, local and student media.

 

Born in Ashford, Sian cemented her love for reporting the news after causing trouble at the University of Warwick while writing for and editing her student paper, called the Boar. She then trained with the Press Association.

 

Her first journalism job saw her return to Kent to cause more trouble as a reporter for the Sevenoaks Chronicle and the then-new Kent Live website, later becoming social media editor and being named the KPBA Kent Young Journalist of the Year in 2018.

 

After making the move to London, Sian is now deputy news editor for Metro.co.uk, and you’ll see her across the national daily news agenda on everything from politics to big court cases. You can also catch her on the TV or radio as a media analyst reviewing the newspaper front pages.

Now passionate about helping young people get into the industry, she edits a national publication for sixth formers and college pupils called The Llama and was previously a trustee for the Student Publication Association – a registered charity which offers support for UK student journalists.

Susie Boniface aka Fleet Street Fox
National journalist, blogger and lecturer in journalism

Fleet Street Fox is the pseudonym of Kent-based Susie Boniface, a newspaper reporter for 22 years on local and national titles including the Guardian, the Sun, Daily Mail and Sunday Mirror.

 

In 2009 Susie began an anonymous blog telling the true story of life in her trade, later published as The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox. She began a second, award-winning news comment blog at www.fleetstreetfox.com which had 2m readers in 18 months and was marketed via Facebook and Twitter.
 

Susie outed herself in The Times in February 2012 and is now a regular columnist for Mirror Online. She also writes for the Sunday People, Daily Express, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Mirror and the Sun and appears as a commentator on the BBC, Sky, ITN, Channel 4, and LBC. In addition, she lectures in journalism at universities around the country.

 

Born and raised in Kent, Susie's first job was at the Kent & Sussex Courier, where she spent three years, eventually becoming chief reporter at the age of 20. She became Kent Young Journalist of the Year in 1996.