Judges 2023

The Rory Peck Awards are judged by panels of highly experienced professionals invited from across the international media industry.

News Award

Sponsored by   

Kirsten Dewar (Chair)

Global Senior Director, Dataminr

Diana Magnay

Moscow Correspondent, Sky News

Ronke Phillips

Senior Correspondent, ITV News

Daniel Rząsa

Google News Lab Lead for Central & Eastern Europe, GNI

Alanna Satur

Deputy Director, International Newsgathering, NBC News

News Features Award

Anna Dickeson (Chair)

Commissioning Editor, BBC

Harjeet Chhokar

Unscripted, Commissioner, Amazon Studios

Anealla Safdar

Europe Editor, Al Jazeera

Marina Sapia

Chief World Desk, In Mezz’Ora RAI 3

Justine Redman Evans

Evening News Producer, CBS

Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs

Sponsored by Sony Europe B.V.

Sacha Mirzoeff (Chair)

Documentary Commissioner & Head of Channel 4 Bristol

Annette Dittert

Bureau Chief & Senior Correspondent, ARD London

James Leach

Category Head, Sony Europe

Vara Szajkowski

Executive Producer & Commissioning Editor, BBC News

Jonny Taylor

Original Documentaries, Netflix

Martin Adler Prize

Supported by     

This Award is judged by the Trustees of the Rory Peck Trust.

Tira Shubart (Chair)

Freelance Producer and Writer

Sandhiya Sophie Argent

Media Lawyer

Madhav Chinnappa

Director of News Ecosystem Development, Google

Sally Fitton

Director TV and Film projects at Secret Compass

Clive Myrie

Chief Correspondent & Presenter, BBC News

Ben de Pear

Editor, Channel 4 News

William Reeve

Independent consultant & former BBC correspondent

Richard Tolkien

Independent adviser, Finance Expert

Jon Williams

Journalist & TV Producer

Madhav Chinnappa

Director of News Ecosystem Development, Google

“The Trust supports a part of the news ecosystem that often gets overlooked – freelancers.”

Madhav is Google’s Director of News Ecosystem Development, working on partnerships and collaborations between Google and the news industry. In 2015, he launched the Digital News Initiative, which is Google’s overarching framework for engagement with the European news ecosystem. He joined Google in 2010 to focus on Google News & Magazines in the EMEA regions. He has worked in the news industry since 1994 – first in the launch team of Associated Press Television, a year in M&A at United News & Media, and spent over 9 years at BBC News, latterly as Head of Development & Rights.

“I have known, and been impressed and humbled by, the work the Rory Peck Trust has done from the early days of my career at APTV. The Trust supports a part of the news ecosystem that often gets overlooked – freelancers – and yet it is these self same freelancers who play an invaluable role in the news that we all consume. I am honoured to be on the Board.”

Ben de Pear

TV Journalist and Executive Producer, founder at Basement Films

“Freelancers cover the stories we can’t or don’t – but often should.”

Ben has been on the Board of the Rory Peck Trust since 2009. He became Editor of Channel 4 News in August 2012. Before that, he was Head of Foreign News at Channel 4 News, following a decade working mostly in hostile environments as a foreign producer for ITN and Sky News. Ben was based in Johannesburg for Sky from 2000-2005 and worked all over Africa, as well as across the Middle East, Asia and Europe. In 1999, he produced Sky’s RTS Award-winning coverage of Kosovo, and was their Producer in Baghdad for the US-led invasion in 2003. In 2004, he obtained the only British TV interview with President Robert Mugabe this century. At Channel 4 News, he has helped win over a dozen RTS Awards, a BAFTA and 4 Amnesty International Awards for Television. Since stepping down from his role at Channel 4, one he held for nearly 10 years, Ben founded Basement Films, a production company dedicated to producing impactful and extraordinary stories with the world’s best story tellers and film makers.

“The Rory Peck Trust is a vital organisation helping those who want to find out the truth, but who don’t have the protection and support of a big organisation. There is no other organisation out there doing this vital work.”

William Reeve

Independent consultant
Former BBC correspondent

“Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, freelance journalists around the world face increasing challenges which need addressing on many levels.”

William Reeve is a former BBC foreign correspondent, editor and producer, who now works as an independent consultant advising governments and other organisations on how to optimise their strategic communications, especially at challenging times.  This has included setting up and managing training programmes for journalists and for officials and others who need to work with the media.  

William has more than 30 years of broad experience within Afghanistan, where freelance journalists continue to face considerable danger, but where the Afghan media in particular persist in defiantly guarding their independence and holding the authorities to account. 

Sandhiya Sophie Argent

Media Lawyer

“I am committed to ensuring that freelancers, in particular, have recourse to the support that they and their families need, which is very much in alignment with the Rory Peck Trust.”

Sandhiya Sophie Argent is a Media Lawyer and a passionate advocate for freedom of expression. She routinely advises journalists and programme-makers working on the News and current affairs investigations, which often involve challenging legal, regulatory and ethical issues.  

She has come into contact with many journalists and programme-makers who work tirelessly in pursuit of stories of public interest and often put themselves at great personal risk and stress in the process. She has been heavily involved in considering risk assessments for travel to hostile environments and this has further highlighted the importance of creating a safer environment for those involved in newsgathering.

Clive Myrie

Chief Correspondent & Presenter, BBC News

“Rory’s lasting legacy through the Trust has been to allow so many people to continue to work in a precarious business where there are no guarantees for safety or income. I’ve come across so many men and women in the field from Afghanistan to Mexico, Libya to East Timor, who are able to pursue their love and desire to try to help better inform the world of what’s going on, and by doing so perhaps even help make the world a better place, because of the work of the Rory Peck Trust.”

Clive Myrie has worked for the BBC for more than 30 years. A foreign correspondent based in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Singapore, Washington, Paris and Brussels, he returned to London in 2010 to anchor BBC News programmes, as well as deploy to major stories around the world. During the 2003 Iraq War, he was embedded with Royal Marines from 40 Commando. Clive is the winner of numerous citations and awards, including a Golden Nymph from Monte Carlo, the Royal Television Society for coverage of the war in Yemen, the David Bloom Award and a Peabody Award. His work has been recognised by the Foreign Press Association, London Press Club, twice by the Prix Bayeux War Correspondents Awards, BAFTA and the Emmys.

In 2021, the Royal Television Society awarded Clive the Television Journalist of the Year Award and the Network Presenter of the Year Award.

Tira Shubart

Chair of the Trust

Freelance Producer and Writer

Tira has been on the Board of The Rory Peck Trust since 2000. She first met Rory Peck in Bucharest during the Romanian Revolution in 1989.

Tira has worked as a news and documentary producer for British, Canadian and American television networks, and for Frontline News Television, covering stories in over 50 countries. Recently, Tira has worked extensively in East Africa. She co-authored the book Lifting the Veil: Life in Revolutionary Iran and has written for the UK and US press. Tira also wrote and produced a BBC comedy series about journalists, Taking the Flak.

Sally Fitton

Director TV and Film projects at Secret Compass

‘Safety can be considered an inconvenience when focussing on the editorial, but good planning is never wasted. Safety and security should be just part and parcel of the process and be applied to all members of the crew’.

Sally Fitton is Director TV and Film projects at Secret Compass, where she provides safety, security and risk management advice and support across a wide range of media commissioned by major broadcasters and streamers; ranging from newsgathering, reality TV to natural history documentaries.   Sally joined Secret Compass from the BBC where she was the BBC High Risk Advisor for Current Affairs and the World Service.

Sally is a keen advocate of media safety and risk management, she was previously on the Board of Directors for ACOS Alliance for several years and lectures internationally on journalist safety.  She designed and delivered the BBC’s ‘Managing High Risk Deployments’ course for senior editorial staff. Sally has a deep background in crisis and disaster management as a British army officer, media advisor and Chartered Security Professional along with experience of multiple military operational tours.

Richard Tolkien

Richard Tolkien has a long-standing interest in journalism and joins the Board of Trustees bringing great expertise in corporate financial services and as an independent legal advisor. Richard started his career at HM Treasury, including 2.5 years as Assistant Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Geoffrey Howe. Richard went onto corporate finance where he worked as a Director with Morgan Grenfell, before moving to HSBC where he was Managing Director and later an Executive Director of Macquarie Bank. Richard was also senior non-executive director of the Parkwood Group plc and of Share plc until 2020. After 25 very full-time years of investment banking, Richard became an independent expert witness in arbitrations and litigation and has advised on numerous cases in the UK and internationally. Richard also serves as a Trustee and the Chairman of Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research and as the Treasurer of St John’s Church, Boldre.

James Leach

James has been at Sony for over 15 years and is now responsible as Category Head for Camcorders and Professional Audio within the News & Broadcast area, focusing heavily on Professional content acquisition & solutions. James works with hero products such as the Sony FX9, Z280 and Z750 which are predominantly used by a large number of journalists to capture News content from all over the world.

Anna Dickeson, Commissioning Editor, BBC

Anna recently joined the BBC as a commissioning editor working across documentaries, science, history, religion and natural history.

Previously, she was the Creative Lead at The Garden Yorkshire, where she helped manage the company’s expansion into the North. Prior to this, Anna worked as a freelance Series Producer/Director and has extensive experience of fixed-rig series and high-profile original observational documentaries, including Series Producing and Directing the first series of The Secret Life of the Zoo (C4). 

As well as developing various series, including the BBC’s Grand Party Hotel, Anna has produced and directed on a number of BAFTA-winning and RTS-nominated series and singles  including Educating the East End and One Born Every Minute, as well as producing on the first three series of 24 Hours in A&E.

Jon Williams

Journalist & TV Producer 

“Freelancers are the foundation of our newsgathering networks. The Rory Peck Trust is the backbone that gives them the confidence to operate in so many difficult places.”

Jon spent more than a decade leading global coverage on both sides of the Atlantic. As foreign editor, first of the BBC, then in New York at the US network ABC, he led the reporting of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, winning an International Emmy for the BBC’s Middle East reporting and two further Emmys for the coverage of the Syrian Civil War and of the resulting refugee crisis. From 2017-2022, he was the Managing Director of RTÉ News, leading the digital transformation of Ireland’s public broadcaster. Jon also serves on the board member of the Trust’s US partner, The Committee to Protect Journalists.

Harjeet Chhokar, Unscripted, Commissioner, Amazon Studios

Harjeet is an Unscripted Executive in the UK Originals team at Amazon Studios. He works across the unscripted spectrum on a variety of projects, including All or Nothing ArsenalThree Mothers, Two Babies and a Scandal and The Greatest Show Never Made.

Prior to joining Amazon, Harjeet was a Factual Commissioning Editor at Channel 4. Before entering the world of commissioning, Harjeet spent over 15 years in production, working his way up to a series producer on documentary series such as Ambulance and Pilgrimage.

Anealla Safdar, Europe Editor, Al Jazeera

Anealla is an editor at Al Jazeera, where she has worked for more than a decade, and is responsible for European coverage on aljazeera.com. Her role is split between breaking news and working with writers from across the continent on long-form features.

Since February 2022, she has been focused on the Russia-Ukraine war – managing live content, commissioning narrative essays and analytical snapshots, and providing readers with global perspectives on the conflict. During her career, much of her reporting has centred on marginalised communities, police abuse of power, and the intricacies of populism.

Marina Sapia, Chief World Desk, In Mezz’Ora RAI 3

Born and raised in Italy, Marina previously led the international desk at RAI Tg1, the first news programme in Italy. Until January 2022, she directed the world desk at Rainews 24, the allnews channel of RAI, where she had started as morning news anchor.

As a field reporter, Marina covered Subsaharan Africa, the Sahel and the United States. She produced long-form reports about the US prison in Guantanamo and Niger. Before joining the Italian national broadcaster, she worked for the Associated Press TV, covering Italy, the Vatican and Europe.

Kirsten Dewar, Global Senior Director, Dataminr

In her current role, Kirsten supports the implementation and integration of Dataminr in over 1,500 newsrooms worldwide and manages a multi-million dollar portfolio of media clients in broadcast and publishing. Prior to Dataminr, she gained a decade of experience in journalism, working primarily for Al Jazeera and CNN in Europe and the Middle East.

Passionate about building the newsroom of the future, Kirsten is driven by her love for journalism, drawing from her experience in the field and in newsgathering to provide the best advice on building a sustainable structure for news organisations worldwide by using technology, including AI.

Diana Magnay, Moscow Correspondent, Sky News

As the Moscow correspondent for Sky News, Diana has travelled back and forth to Russia and Ukraine since 2014, covering the uprising on the Maidan, annexation of Crimea, war in Donbas and numerous Navalny protests. She moved to Moscow permanently in 2018, just before the Skripal poisoning, and remained through COVID lockdowns and the war in Ukraine.

Before joining Sky in January 2018, she reported for CNN for more than a decade across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. She also worked freelance for Channel 4 News while completing a masters in War Studies at King’s College London, for which she won the Director’s Prize for International Peace and Security.

Daniel Rząsa, Google News Lab Lead for Central & Eastern Europe

Daniel leads Google News Lab in Central & Eastern Europe, which is a part of a global team at Google that helps journalists fight misinformation, grow diversity in the media industry and thrive in the digital age.

He joined Google in 2022, after over a dozen years of working in a range of editorial roles in European newsrooms. Daniel specialises in and speaks publicly on a variety of journalism-related topics, such as fact-checking and verification, data journalism and cybersecurity.

He holds an MA in financial journalism from City, University of London. He also graduated from the Council of Europe’s Visegrad School of Political Studies, as well as several journalism fellowships around the world, such as the Foreign Correspondents’ Programme in Helsinki, EU Journalism Training at Euractiv.com in Brussels and Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation’s summer schools in New York and Shanghai.

Alanna Satur, Deputy Director, International Newsgathering, NBC News

Based in London, Alanna works with the International News Desk and Foreign Bureaus to cover news for all NBC News platforms. In her eight years at NBC, she has helped coordinate coverage of the war in Ukraine, the Coronavirus pandemic and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. She previously worked as a Field Producer based in her hometown, Toronto.

Sacha Mirzoeff, Documentary Commissioner & Head of Channel 4 Bristol

Sacha looks after both returning series and mini-series, but also specialises in commissioning high-profile films, several of which have been nominated for or winners of Grierson Awards, the Emmys and the Broadcast Awards. He also commissions cinema documentaries with Film 4, now in production.

Before Channel 4, he was the Founder and Creative Director of Bristol-based Marble Films, which
won a BAFTA for best single film and the Grierson Science Award for Locked In – Breaking the Silence.

As a freelance director, Sacha was a multi-award-winning filmmaker in both social issue and natural
history documentaries that pushed the boundaries of factual television. He is a trustee for the Sheffield International Documentary Festival, The Royal Television Society in the West of England and the Culture Board in Bristol.

Annette Dittert, Bureau Chief & Senior Correspondent, ARD London

Annette is a foreign correspondent and filmmaker with over 40 years of experience working around the world. In 2001, she became the ARD-correspondent in Poland. From 2005 to 2006 she travelled through China, India and Africa for a four-part documentary that received a Adolf-Grimme-Preis and a nomination for an International Emmy Award. From 2006 to 2008, Annette was the Bureau Chief and Senior Correspondent for ARD in New York and since 2008 has worked in London. In 2019, she was awarded “political journalist of the year” for her reporting on Brexit.

Vara Szajkowski, Executive Producer & Commissioning Editor, BBC News

Vara is an award-winning Executive Producer who has worked on dozens of international documentaries for BBC News, BBC2 and the This World and Our World strands. She is currently in charge of scheduling and commissioning for the BBC News channels non-live programming and is Commissioning Editor of the Unspun World current affairs series on BBC 2.


Jonny Taylor, Original Documentaries, Netflix

Jonny commissions original documentaries out of the UK for the global streaming platform Netflix. He has worked across titles such as Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer, Tiger King and American Murder. Prior to Netflix, Jonny worked at Rogan Productions as an Executive Producer.