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The Judges

 

Each category in the Kent Press & Broadcast Awards will be assessed by an independent panel of judges. 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.

Adrian Wills
Former newspaper and broadcast journalist
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Adrian is a former journalist with 24 years’ experience in the industry. 

 

He began his career on regional newspapers on the West Sussex Gazette and was Defence Correspondent on the Portsmouth News before moving to Kent. 

 

He worked on the Sheerness Times Guardian, Kent Today and Kent Messenger newspapers before taking a role in broadcast journalism with ITV Meridian in May 2002. 

 

He remained with ITV for 16 years as Planning Editor, managing the Kent regional programme from the Maidstone studios. 

 

In 2018, Adrian joined the charity Cycling UK as Head of Communications, promoting cycling across the country. 

 

He has also published nine thrillers and in 2021 turned what had been a ten-year hobby into a career when he became a full-time novelist.  

 

In December 2021, his psychological thriller, His Wife’s Sister, became a number one Kindle bestseller in the UK. 

Anthony France
National and international journalist and editor 
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Lured from university by the prospect of earning £7,500 and writing about lots of crime, Anthony began his career as a trainee at Luton on Sunday.  

  

He was subsequently news editor of Bedfordshire on Sunday for seven years before joining the Evening Standard as an investigative reporter. Anthony then worked as a senior reporter on the Mail on Sunday before spending 13 years with the Sun. 

  

After a spell in public relations, Anthony returned to journalism and is currently crime correspondent for the Evening Standard – something he describes as ‘the best job on the newspaper’.  

  

In his 30 years’ experience as a journalist, Anthony has reported on major incidents across the UK, in addition to carrying out many foreign assignments. These have included covering Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial and Nelson Mandela’s state funeral – both in South Africa – the Tokyo Olympics and the Qatar World Cup. 

  

Anthony has an interest in diversity in the newsroom and the representation of black and minority journalists. 

Elaine Bruce
Former BBC senior journalist and news and features producer   
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Before retiring in 2021, Elaine worked for many of the BBC Regions and was one of the original journalists who set up BBC South East, the newest of the BBC regional broadcasting centres, in 2001.  

  

As part of the award-winning team for South East Today, she produced the main news output and researched and produced films for the region’s features programme.  

  

Elaine became known for ambitious arts and history projects and even persuaded the custodians at Canterbury Cathedral to allow her to turn the iconic building into a cinema for a special showing of the 1940’s film A Canterbury Tale. Elaine arranged for a purpose-built cinema screen to be constructed in the nave – a first for the thousand-year-old cathedral.  

  

She got a taste for turning cathedrals into cinemas, so did it again at Rochester. This time showing the 1940’s film Great Expectations for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, when she lead a team producing multiple features around the life, work and impact of Dickens including outreach projects with communities in Kent.  

  

Elaine has lectured students in broadcast media and, with the BBC, ran schemes for young journalists to be placed within newsrooms to build their broadcast skills. 

John Warnett
Former journalist and radio presenter 
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One of the county’s broadcasting legends, John joined BBC Radio Kent in 1989. He was originally a sports reporter covering mainly Kent cricket but also Gillingham and Maidstone football clubs. After a couple of years, he became sports editor.  

  

With his strong interest in news and current affairs, John was offered the chance to present the station’s Drive Time program. He was eventually moved to the Breakfast show where he spent the next 23 years, interviewing the great and good of Kent, assorted celebrities and various Prime Ministers.  

  

After many years of early morning starts, John moved back to Drive Time in 2018, before retiring in 2020 after 31 years with BBC Radio Kent. 

  

John’s many passions include music – he plays guitar and some piano – narrowboats (he loves the canals of Britain) and cricket. He also cooks, likes to visit great restaurants and is a bit of a petrol head. John moved to Marden some 23 years ago where he feels very much part of the community. 

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.

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 at 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.

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.

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