2020 Speakers | Digital Media Africa 2020

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Digital Media Africa 2020

2020 Speakers | Digital Media Africa 2020

2020 Speakers

Digital Media Africa 2020 will host leading minds in the digital media space for a two-day discussion on trends and best-practice. 

Chief Membership Officer, Malaysiakini, Malaysia

Lynn DCruz

A graduate in English Literature from the University Malaya, Lynn D'Cruz started her career lecturing in English for 10 years. After which, she left and joined the media.

In 2014, she spearheaded Malaysiakini’s first crowdfunding campaign. The Buy a Brick campaign raised RM 1.7 million towards financing Malaysiakini’s first self-owned premise @Kini, in Petaling Jaya. She also led the interior design of @Kini which promotes a productive and engaging working environment.

She implemented Malaysiakini’s internship programme, which is aimed at helping the younger generation understand the importance of independent media.

She has a Masters in Managerial Psychology and is a 2019 Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Programme Fellow. She joined Malaysiakini in 2011 and today heads its Membership Development department.

Her policy in life is quite simple “It’s not a job, it’s life.” 

ICFJ Knight Fellow

Catherine Gicheru is an International Center for Journalists Fellow. Gicheru is a veteran journalist with two of the leading media organizations in the region. She was the first woman bureau chief and the first female news editor of the Nation Media Group in the region. She is also the founding editor of the daily newspaper, the Star.
She co-founded PesaCheck, East Africa’s budget and public finance fact-checking and verification initiative. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Reuters' Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, was a member of the advisory board of the Open Society Foundation’s Fiscal Governance Program which seeks to promote openness, accountability, and equity in fiscal and economic systems around the world. She was an advisory member of the State of Technology in Global Newsrooms survey conducted by the ICFJ which looked at how media professionals are adopting and adapting to digital technologies.

Gicheru is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a Reuters Institute Journalism fellow at Oxford University, and a 1992 IWMF Courage in Journalism award winner.

Deputy Head of Digital, The Times & Sunday Times, UK

Nick helps leads the Times and Sunday Times digital strategy team who cover a range of specialist output for the two titles. From multimedia and podcasts through to audience development, an award winning computational data investigations team and a newsroom based development team they guide the titles forward as they expand their digital operation.    He was previously at The Telegraph and the Guardian and co-founded WannabeHacks.co.uk

Executive Director World Editors Forum, WAN-IFRA, UK

Cherilyn Ireton heads up the World Editors Forum, the global network for editors within WAN-IFRA. She is a seasoned newspaper professional, having spent more than 20 years on South African newspapers, as journalist and editorial manger on the country's leading titles, the Sunday Times and Business Day. She rose to be Chief Operating Officer of BDFM Publishers, the business media joint venture between Pearson, owners of the Financial Times, and Times Media in South Africa which published Business Day newspaper, the Financial Mail magazine and Summit TV. She relocated to the UK in 2005 and owned an ran a London-based media consultancy, Presslinks, which advised a variety of international organizations and foreign governments.

Co-founder of Volume, South Africa

Paul McNally is the co-founder of Volume (www.volume.africa), a podcasting company focused on African podcasts for a global audience. He was a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow in 2016 at Harvard. His research there focused on how community radio can use technology to evolve its news output. He was the Founder of Citizen Justice Network, an organization that trains community paralegals to be radio journalists and is the author of the non-fiction book “The Street: Exposing a World of Cops, Bribes and Drug Dealers”. He has 15 awards for his work as a journalist and media developer and is the producer of South Africa’s first investigative podcast, the award-winning series Alibi.

Publisher and CEO, Daily Maverick, South Africa

After having qualified as a Chartered Accountant, Styli is now fully reformed and passionate about the media business following a stint in the London banking scene. He’s subsequently helped establish and develop various media start-ups and projects, including Daily Maverick and The Gathering, the country’s premier media and politics conference. His official role at Daily Maverick is that of publisher and CEO which translates into “he who fights fires – sometimes successfully but always only after morning coffee.”

Executive Editor, The Daily Nation, Nation Media Group, Kenya

Pamella Makotsi Sittoni is a Kenyan journalist, with more than 20 years’ experience in the media in East Africa. Currently Executive Editor and Managing Editor of the Daily Nation, at the Nation Media Group (NMG), Ms Sittoni has held several leadership positions. She served as Managing Editor of NMG’s regional newspaper, The EastAfrican, from 2012 to 2018; and as Managing Editor of the Standard (2005 – 2006). From 2006 to 2012, she worked as a Communications Specialist at UNICEF Kenya where she was charged with advocacy for children and women. Ms Sittoni began her career at the Nation Media Group as a reporter in 1993 and rose to Chief Sub-editor. In 2003, she moved to the Standard Group as Deputy Managing Editor. In 2017, Ms Sittoni was named by the World Association of Newspapers, WAN-IFRA the Laureate of the Women in News Editorial Leadership Award for Sub-Saharan Africa. She is a Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, through the African Leadership Initiative. She holds a BA (Literature and Anthropology) and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Communication from the University of Nairobi, and a Masters in Communication from the University of Leicester.

Executive Editor, Daily Nation, Zambia

Mary Bwalya Malama Mbewe started her career by joining the Zambia Daily Mail as a reporter, where she worked on various topics, ranging from sports to news. Over the years, Mbewe rose through the ranks, and in the 1990s became the first woman Editor-in-Chief of the Zambia Daily Mail, and the first woman to hold the high-level position in Zambia. In 2017, Mary Mbewe joined the Daily Nation, where she currently serves as the Executive Editor. She is one of the founding members of the Zambia Union of journalists (ZUJ), a member of the Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA), as well as a member of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)’s Zambian Chapter.

Journalist and media lecturer, South Africa

Pontsho Pilane is a journalist, editor, media lecturer and trainer with a focus in health, race and gender and how they intersect. She’s interested in using communications as a tool for social change. Prior to that Pilane was the senior writer at Health-eNews, and was formerly a health reporter at Bhekisisa, the Mail and Guardian’s centre for health journalism. She debuted as a journalist at The Daily Vox, where she wrote primarily about gender, race and how they intersect. Pilane holds two degrees in media studies from Wits University.

Executive Producer of Podcasts, The Children's Radio Foundation, South Africa

The Children’s Radio Foundation trains young reporters across Africa, giving them the radio and broadcast skills to make their voices heard and create opportunities for youth dialogue, community building and leadership. With 72 projects across 6 countries, The Children’s Radio Foundation partner with organizations, training youth to use radio as a tool for dialogue and change. Working with mentors in their community, youth create well-informed radio programs that are broadcast on local stations. In the process, they enhance their communication, critical thinking and problem solving.

Founder, 263Chat, Zimbabwe

In September 2012, Nigel established 263Chat. 263Chat is a Zimbabwean online publication focused on encouraging and participating in progressive national dialogue. Together with a team of fellow journalists, they publish the news every day on www.263chat.com. Nigel holds a Bachelor of Financial Administration (Accounting) from Australia and an MBA from the Scotland, UK.

Senior Strategy Consultant, Kenya

Nomusa Taylor-Dube is one part South African, one part Canadian, and all Afracanah podcast. She is diaspora many times over and now calls Nairobi, Kenya home. During the day, she runs an agriculture and digital consultancy. The rest of the time she is engaged in all things podcasting, women in business, and tacos. She is the co-host and co-founder of the Afracanah podcast which provides a platform to amplify the work and voices of young women across Africa and the diaspora. There are also a lot of jokes. Nomusa is wildly passionate about podcasting as a medium and shares what she has learnt with new and older podcasters alike. She has a TED Talk on podcasting, is the author of “Podcasting 101: A How to Guide”, has taught podcasting at the International Women in Media Foundation and Aga Khan University, and is an advisor for the upcoming Nairobi Podcast Festival.

Director, Google Nigeria

Juliet Ehimuan is Country Director leading Google’s business strategy in West Africa. She was named by Forbes as one of the top 20 power women in Africa, by the London Business School as one of 30 people changing the world; and featured in the BBC Africa Power Women series, and on CNN Innovate Africa. With over 25 years experience primarily in Technology, Oil & Gas, and New Media industries across Europe, Middle East and Africa; Juliet is a thought leader, and a leading voice on Innovation, Transformation, and Leadership. She has received numerous awards for outstanding contribution to the digital landscape in Africa. Under her leadership, the Google team has made significant impact on local content development, infrastructure deployment, and digital capacity building. Recent Google investments in Africa include commitment to provide free digital skills training to 10 million youth in Africa, an Africa Scholarships program for current and aspiring developers; support for technology startups in Africa through a launchpad Accelerator program; and a Google Impact Challenge providing $20Million in funding to nonprofits advancing the course of education and economic prosperity in Africa.

Sr. Research Associate, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, UK

Nic Newman is Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism where he  writes on the future of digital media. He is lead author of the Digital News Report the world's biggest and most authoritative survey of changing news consumption and was joint author of a recent report on the Future of Online Video.

Nic was a founding member of the BBC News Website, leading international coverage as World Editor (1997-2001). As Head of Product Development and then Future Media Controller for BBC News (2001-10), he helped introduce innovations such as blogs, podcasting and on-demand video. He works on digital, product and engagement strategies for a wide range of media companies across Europe. 


Co-founder and CEO, Stears, Nigeria

Stears is a Nigerian based digital information company. It was built to help individuals, development organisations, investors, governments and companies cost-effectively access high-quality information on Africa from anywhere in the world. Stears owns one of Africa’s most analytical business publications - Stears Business and Stears Data is a research & data analytics division. Launched in 2017, Stears has grown gradually to become an important publication focused on data and information about the Nigerian economy. The company was founded by Preston Ideh, Abdul Abdulrahim, Foluso Ogunlana and Michael Famoroti while they were all studying in the UK.

Editor in Chief, Vision Group, Uganda

Barbara joined the New Vision in 1992 as a sub-editor trainee and rose through the ranks to Deputy Features Editor and then Features Editor, a position she held for ten years. In 2006, she was appointed deputy Editor-in-Chief and in April 2010, she was promoted to Editor-in-Chief. Barbara’s current responsibilities include overseeing the editorial strategy and journalistic standards of the Vision media platforms. Vision Group owns nine newspapers, six radio stations, three TV stations, a set of magazines and websites. 

She heads the editorial team that provides leadership in all managerial aspects: strategic planning, content generation and editing, product marketing, staff development, audience interaction and external relations. 

Barbara holds a Masters Degree in Journalism and Media studies from Rhodes University, South Africa and a post-graduate Diploma in Practical Journalism from the Thompson Foundation, Cardiff, United Kingdom. Before she became a journalist, Barbara was a high school teacher. To this effect, she holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Makerere University and a Masters Degree in Education from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.

Barbara was an international Journalism Exchange fellow in 2007 with the International Centre for Journalists and American Society of Newspaper Editors. 

Her speciality is development journalism and she has coached and groomed many journalists in Uganda towards this. In 2012, Barbara received the National Jubilee Award in recognition of her contribution to the media in Uganda.  

Together with the team at Vision they have evolved a unique brand of journalism that has grown from simply telling stories to media products that foster development by offering role model practices in farming, education, health, entrepreneurship, environment etc. These projects started off as newspaper stories but they have since developed into big media projects and events throughout the country.

Founder of explain.co.za, South Africa

Verashni Pillay is a South African journalist who is passionate about digital and the future of journalism. She is the founder of explain.co.za, a WhatsApp driven portal aimed at making the news more accessible to neglected audiences. She was previously the Head of Digital at talk radio station, POWER 98.7, editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian and inaugural editor-in-chief of HuffPost South Africa. Under her helm, all site's traffic consistently grew, as did the M&G print circulation – despite a depressed climate. She cut her teeth in digital journalism with Media24 for several years before joining the M&G digital team in 2009 as a reporter. She has also worked as a media consultant and trainer in various newsrooms, specialising in digital journalism, social media and convergence. Verashni is a recipient of the CNN African Journalism Award, several Standard Bank Sikuvile Awards and an Open Society Foundation journalism fellowship. She was awarded a Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2018 and is a council member of the South African National Editors Forum. 

Editor-in-chief, News24, Johannesburg, South Africa

Adriaan Basson is editor-in-chief of News24, South Africa’s largest website with an average monthly audience of 8 million people across mobile, app and desktop. An experienced investigative journalist and author, Basson leads a team of journalists, content producers and video journalists who lead coverage of news, business, sports and entertainment in South Africa.

Head of Digital Media, Arena Holdings, South Africa

Riaan Wolmarans is Head of Digital for the media division of Arena Holdings (formerly Tiso Blackstar Group), the publisher of the Sunday Times, TimesLIVE, Sowetan, SowetanLIVE, Business Day, BusinessLIVE and Sunday World, among other titles. He previously worked for the Mail & Guardian, the Financial Times in London and MetropolitanRepublic, the Johannesburg-based advertising agency, and has experience in both print and digital publishing.


Founder and Executive Director of Quote This Woman+ (QW+), South Africa

Kathy Magrobi is the founder and executive director of Quote This Woman+, (QW+) a non-profit company working in the media and intersectional gender space to lobby newsrooms, news producers, and journalists to amplify voices traditionally marginalised in the news.

QW+ curates a database of close to 300 woman+ thought-leaders, change-agents, activists, and experts (in fields starting at agriculture, moving through fields like economics, health, and science all the way to xenophobia) that media professionals can access when looking for people to interview, appear in panels or on forums. They also lobby against news reporting that uses gender, race, or other stereotypes; actively engaging with newsrooms in these cases. 

Kathy’s background is as a media and communications strategist working in the development sector.

Chief Operating Officer, Visual Point Creative Group, Zimbabwe

Vincent Kahiya is Zimbabwean-based vastly experienced Communications Practitioner with over twenty-five years of practice covering Reporting, Editing, Public Relations and Public Information Management. He is an International Trainer in Journalism, Change Management, Media Strategy, Social Media Policy & Governance, and Digital Media Project Development. He holds qualifications in Journalism and Communications, Public Relations, Public Information Management and Business Leadership.

Vincent was Editor of the Zimbabwe Independent (theindependent.co.zw) for six years (2004-2010) before becoming Founding Editor of NewsDay (newsday.co.zw) in 2010. Between 2015 and 2017, he led publishing company Alpha Media Holdings as Managing Director before joining Oxgn PR as Managing Consultant and currently he is the COO of Corporate Communications firm VPCG (vpcg.co.zw). In this role, he advises on Corporate Communications Strategy and Reputation Management to local and international organisations.

Vincent T Kahiya is a Steering Committee Member under WAN-IFRA Women-In-News programme and Lead Trainer in WIN-Advisory.

Director, Digital Strategy, Pulse Nigeria

Fiona Weeks is an experienced storyteller who believes that every brand has a story worth telling. In her role as Director of Digital Strategy, (Pulse, NG), she is responsible for the development of creative and effective digital strategies. She has previously worked in brand management at Unilever's global HQ in Rotterdam, NL and as a broadcast journalist for ABC news in Maryland, USA. Fiona received her BA, Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park & her MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management.

Senior Program Manager - Data Academy, Code For Africa, South Africa

Nkechi Coker is leading the Code or Africa team in over 9 countries in Africa to build the Data Academy Program of Code for Africa with over 40 partners made up of Governments, Civil Societies, Newsrooms, INGOs and Universities. She is also part of the WanaData Pan-African network of female journalists, data scientists and techies working on changing the digital media landscape by producing and promoting data-driven news while applying digital technologies in their storytelling.

Director of Analytics and Revenue Optimization for News and Publishing at Google, U.S

Amy is the Director of Analytics and Revenue Optimization for News and Publishing at Google. Her teams oversee both ads and non-ads revenue opportunities for Google’s News partners, covering solutions that leverage Ad Manager technology as well as the News Consumer Insights analytical framework. Amy also leads the data pillar of the Google News Initiative (GNI), Google’s $300 million commitment to the news industry, helping journalists and their publishers remain profitable in new and innovative ways. In developing data-driven tools and resources for news organizations, Amy and her team remain committed to pushing the frontiers of monetization for publishers in ads and non-ads related capacities.

Director of Analytics and Revenue Optimization for News and Publishing at Google, U.S

Anntao leads the development of the GNI data tools, News Consumer Insights, News Tagging Guide and Realtime Content Insights, which have been used by thousands of news publishers around the world. Anntao's focus is to build data frameworks that provide actionable recommendations to News publishers in order to grow their overall audience value. Prior to Google, he worked in IT consultancy and military aeronautics, obtained a Master's degree in International Business from Toulouse Business School and developed its own VR gaming app.

Publishing Consultant FT Strategies, WAN-IFRA Supervisory Board Member London, UK

Lisa MacLeod was Head of Digital at Tiso Blackstar Group, South Africa’s largest English-language publisher, and owner of 8 newspapers, 15 websites, music, film and radio businesses across the continent.  Her role was to lead digital strategy and innovation, and manage Tiso Blackstar’s online properties with 6-million unique browsers monthly on titles such as TimesLIVE, SowetanLIVE and BusinessLIVE, as well as implement sustainable digital monetisation streams.

Lisa was previously General Manager of Digital for Media24’s 24.com in Cape Town, and prior to that spent 12 years in London at the Financial Times, helping to drive their print to digital integration. She served as Head of Operations for FT.com, widely thought to be the most successful paid website in the media industry, and FT Managing Editor, overseeing staffing, strategic planning and budgets for the FT globally

From 2018-2020, Lisa served as the Vice-President of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and is currently a member of the Supervisory Board. She has been on the board of the World Editors Forum (WEF) for many years, and has taught and spoken at numerous international conferences and training events for WAN-IFRA , WEF and Women in News.


Exec Director, Digital Revenue Network, WAN-IFRA

Nick runs WAN-IFRA's most advanced digital revenue programmes, including the Table Stakes Europe programme and the subscription focused eRev initiative, as well as managing our events and operations in Europe & Africa.

He started his career in London and has over fifteen years experience in innovative digital projects and collaborative working.

Before joining WAN-IFRA, he managed IT projects for ExxonMobil, Deutsche Bank and the European Patent Office, and facilitated the exec forums and conferences for the e-gov agency London Connects. He has a Diploma in Creativity, Innovation & Change from the Open University Business School.

Program officer for the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP), South Africa

Siyabonga is a digital media specialist having honed his skills in print, broadcast and online news media. He’s currently the program officer for the South Africa Media Innovation Program and an executive committee member of Hacks/Hackers Johannesburg. The South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) is a multi-year media initiative that aims to accelerate innovation and transformation of South Africa’s news media industry. Since 2017 the program has worked with more than twenty news media start-ups, non-profits and small business by providing them bespoke funding and capacity building.

Engagement editor, News24, South Africa

Alet Law is the newsletter and engagement editor at News24 and former opinions editor. She holds a PhD in political communication from the University of Cape Town.

Co-founder, Food For Mzansi, South Africa

Ivor Price is a well-loved name in Afrikaans media. He is a TV and Radio presenter, communist and co-founder of FoodForMzansi.co.za. The former SABC2 news anchor also presented the first four seasons of Landbouweekliks, a DStv show, in which he crisscrossed the country to interview the movers and shakers of Mansi’s agriculture industry. Other career highlights include a stint in London as a Foreign Correspondent and publishing leading community newspapers in Stellenbosch.

Editor - Coronavirus Monitor.co.za, South Africa

Co-Founder, Food For Mzansi, South Africa

Kobus Louwrens
Kobus Louwrens is Co-Founder of Food For Mzansi and Strategy Director of YehBaby, a digital marketing agency. He is an award-winning environmental journalist, who previously published leading magazines and community newspapers in both South Africa and East Africa. This MBA graduate developed digital strategies for various small-to-medium enterprises and entrepreneurs. Under Kobus’s visionary leadership YehBaby has developed breakthrough digital marketing for numerous agricultural, wine and tourism brands.

Digital Media Africa 2020