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Each Autumn Polis invites media practitioners to discuss the latest trends as part of our Media and Communications in Action series.

The talks take place Tuesdays 5-6pm in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE. They are open to LSE students and the public, no registration or ticket required.


Tuesday 26 September

Mary Hockaday, Controller at BBC World Service

Public media in an age of distrust and disinformation

Mary Hockaday became Controller, BBC World Service English in October 2014. In a distinguished career at the BBC she has led global and UK radio, television and digital journalism teams. As Head of the BBC Newsroom Mary led the migration of radio, television and digital teams to New Broadcasting House and Salford. Areas under her leadership included the BBC News at Six and Ten, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Radio Newsroom and the BBC News website.

Mary championed the BBC’s digital and mobile strategy for News supporting innovation with an emphasis on new platforms. As Controller BBC World Service English she is driving a radio and digital strategy forward to reach new audiences, hungry for impartial, contemporary, global journalism.


Tuesday 3 October

Deborah Mattinson, Founder of Britain Thinks

Understanding the public

Deborah has more than twenty five years’ experience of providing clients with research based strategic advice. In that time she has worked with global businesses, major charities, international governments and senior politicians.

Before co-founding research and strategy consultancy BritainThinks, Deborah was pollster to Gordon Brown, firstly as Chancellor of the Exchequer, then as Prime Minister.

One of Britain’s leading commentators on public opinion, Deborah frequently writes and broadcasts about the mood of the nation. In 2010, she published Talking to a Brick Wall – the story of the New Labour years through the eyes of the voter.

Deborah is also Chair of Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports and represents young women in Britain living on low pay or no pay.


Tuesday 10 October

CJ Fahey, General Manager of Viceland

Why did VICE start a TV channel?  

CJ Fahey is General Manager, VICELAND, EMEA & APAC, responsible for the TV network’s creative and strategic development, as well as overseeing all output across linear, mobile and multi-platform offerings. Having joined VICE in 2014, CJ was integral to the launch of VICELAND in the US, working alongside co-Presidents Eddy Moretti and Spike Jonze, on the development and production of the channel’s award-winning content slate as well as channel branding.

Prior to VICE, CJ worked on corporate strategy and business development at Fox Networks Group, as well as Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channels in Rome, Italy, having focused on programming and international channel launches.


Tuesday 17 October

Swarzy Macaly, Adrianne McKenzie, Nendie Pinto-Dutchinsky

On the Ground at Grenfell

A film by Grenfell survivors, local residents and volunteers.

Swarzy Macaly, Activist, Presenter at Kiss FM

The Grenfell Tower fire occurred on 14 June 2017 at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in West London.  It caused at least 80 deaths and over 70 injuries. A definitive death toll is not expected until at least 2018.

It’s been nearly 2 months since the Grenfell Tower fire. In this time 9 survivors, local residents and volunteers have felt compelled to make a film to dispel the public’s fear from the Lancaster West community and reveal the deep impact this has had on them as people.

Adrianne McKenzie, photographer, filmmaker

‘The survivors are not statistics they are humans beings’, says Adrianne McKenzie, one of the film-makers who has been struck by the way the survivors are seen in terms of ‘what they can be given … not as people’. Film-maker and youth worker Nendie Pinto-Duschinsky supported the team of young film-makers and describes the film as ‘harrowing to make’ but the ‘articulacy, dignity and insight of the young people will change perceptions’. Young people lost their lives on the night running into the building to save people.

Nendie Pinto-Dutchinsky, artist, filmmaker

We hope the film will transform the way the community are seen from ‘angry and un-relatable’ to the truth that they are ‘coping with their suffering by trying to help other people’. Their humanity and morality is the clear message.




Tuesday 24 October

Philip Collins, Leader Writer at The Times

When They Go Low, We Go High – speeches that shape the world and why we need them

Philip Collins is a columnist and leader writer for The Times. He is also chairman of the board of trustees at the independent think tank Demos. Before joining The Times he was the chief speech writer for the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the director of the Social Market Foundation think tank, and an equity strategist at two investment banks.

In his work as a speechwriter to senior politicians and business leaders around the world, Philip Collins has become well versed in understanding what it is that makes a speech great.

Philip’s new book When They Go Low, We Go High explores the ways in which the most notable speeches in history have worked, analysing the rhetorical tricks to uncover how the right speech at the right time can profoundly shape the world.

“There is a serious prospect that, in our time, we are losing faith in politics. The words of politicians float by, practised and polished, but profligate. The respect, veneration and hope first expressed by Pericles, has gone missing. It is the grand purpose of this book to help to call it back.”


Tuesday 7 November

Bieneosa Ebite, Senior PR Manager

Beyond PR

Bieneosa will highlight some of the key experiences that have helped her to develop a PR career. In addition she will explore how the PR industry is changing, based on the needs and expectations of organisations in a digital era, and why the modern PR practitioner needs to acquire skills that look beyond PR. Bieneosa is a seasoned public relations professional who thrives on managing reputation, engaging diverse audiences and providing strategic counsel.

One of Bieneosa’s most poignant experiences includes four years working at McDonald’s, one of the world’s largest and most recognisable brands, during its most challenging period to date. She was part of an award-winning communications team that contributed to the revitalisation of the brand by developing and sharing McDonald’s story of change.

After eight years working in a corporate capacity for global consumer facing brands, Bieneosa leveraged her experience to offer an independent consultancy service to a range of organisations. Her work engaged the public, commercial and not-for-profit sectors. She advised clients on stakeholder engagement, personal branding, public affairs, multicultural communication and strategic communication. During this period Bieneosa managed and worked on campaigns for organisations including Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Westmill Foods, the Home Office, the Office for National Statistics and Oxfam.

Bieneosa has passion for diversity in all its forms and has provided strategic guidance to help organisations understand and connect with multicultural communities. She was a member of the PRCA’s Access Commission and co-founded Ignite, a not-for-profit organisation that operated for five years promoting the benefits of cultural diversity in PR. She has also had the honour of being a judge for the CIPR’s PRide Awards and theExcellence Awards.

Bieneosa currently works as a Senior PR Manager at British Gas, where she is responsible for proactive and reactive communications for the company’s Field and Customer Operations. She is also leading on the PR for Local Heroes, a new digital platform backed by British Gas, that connects people with local tradespeople.

Bieneosa also co-hosts PR Bants, a podcast that explores current affairs through a PR lens.


Tuesday 14 November

Jon Steinberg, Public Policy Manager at Google

Search and Fake News

Jon is Public Policy Manager, EMEA at Google where he works on economic issues across Europe, demonstrating the economic impact of the Internet and building support for entrepreneurs and scale-ups across the region. He serves on a number of advisory boards including the Camden Business Board and the Knowledge Quarter. Before moving to London, Jon served as Deputy Communications Director for US Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and on political campaigns including John Kerry’s 2004 run for US President and Hillary Clinton’s first campaign for US Senate.


Tuesday 21 November

Gemma Gillie, Media Manager at Médecins Sans Frontières

Communicating Compassion 

Gemma Gillie is the Head of Medecins Sans Frontieres UK (MSF) Press and Documentaries Team and part of MSF’s Emergency Communications Pool, often requiring travel at short notice for one or two months at a time. She has led communications in various humanitarian crises all over the world including; Ebola (Liberia); Nepal after the earthquake; Greece, France and Belgrade for the migrants response; South Sudan and has recently returned from spending two months on board one of MSF’s Search and Rescue vessels in the Mediterranean.


Tuesday 28 Nov

Marcus Gilroy-Ware

Marcus Gilroy-Ware is a writer and analyst of digital communications, focusing on the intersection of culture, politics and psychology. He is senior lecturer in digital journalism at the University of the West of England, where he researches and teaches on the dynamics of how, and why, information (and disinformation) spread across digital networks. He is also author of Filling the Void: Emotion, Capitalism and Social Media, published in 2017.

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