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Digital Editors from News UK and The Telegraph join the convenors of the news industry insiders’ Chatham House Rule learning network

Digital Editors Network (DEN) co-founder François Nel today announced that editors from two leading national news publishers are becoming co-convenors of the industry innovators’ peer learning network that has been meeting for Chatham House Rule-discussions since 2007.

Nick Petrie, deputy digital editor of The Times and the Sunday Times, and Beth Ashton, head of audience and subscriptions at The Telegraph, have joined former Wall Street Journal digital editor John Crowley and Nel, who is editor of World Press Trends for WAN-IFRA and course leader of the new Journalism Innovation and Leadership Programme to be offered by the Media Innovation Studio at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

“I am delighted to join DEN as co-convener and I hope to help continue the outstanding work DEN has done so far in bringing together people from across all levels of newsrooms to navigate complex issues faced by our industry,” said Ashton, who joined the Telegraph from the Manchester Evening News. “I think that DEN provides a brilliant opportunity to take time out from our (often hectic) day-to-day jobs in order to reflect on the problems faced in journalism and the parts we play within ensuring its future.

On his motivation for joining the DEN convenors, Petrie said: “As a long-time admirer of DEN and the knowledge sharing it encourages between newsrooms I am thrilled to be working with Beth, John and François to help deliver the 2020 programme.

“Given how long newspapers have been printing, I can’t help feeling that we are still at the very beginning of digital publishing and understanding the effect it has on our relationship with our readers.

“We need spaces for frank, open discussions about what works and what doesn’t for publishers large and small, young and old, DEN provides this, so please don’t be afraid to be a first-time attendee - come along and join in.”

“I've been honoured to work with DEN for many years and delighted to see it get a new lease on life," said Crowley. "The ability to talk candidly about the issues facing journalism is crucial for safeguarding the future of our industry.”

The group is already planning the next DEN meeting that will be hosted by NewsUK at their London Bridge offices on Monday, May 18th 2020. The topic? Engagement - inside, outside and alongside paywalls. 

“For me, engagement is a particularly poignant theme for the next DEN as many newsrooms, including mine, seek to engage readers in a way that fosters loyalty and encourages reader habit in order to sustain audiences,” said Ashton. “I’m excited to share what I’ve learned on this in my role at The Telegraph as head of audience and subscriptions and hear what our speakers have learned too."

Petrie added, “As Beth said, it’s a great time to talk about engagement - what it means, how we measure it, what we can do about it - it's relevant to all publishers and we’re going to put together a thought-provoking day for you in May.”

The programme on Monday, May 18h, will run from 2pm to 6pm at The News Building, 1 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9GF, with registration opening at 1:30pm and conversations afterwards spilling over into a networking reception that wraps at 7:30pm.

“Publishers worldwide are focussed on diversifying revenues beyond advertising and driving subscriptions is at the top of that list,” said Dr Nel. “This DEN meeting will bring together those at the forefront of acquiring and retaining audiences, benchmarking performance, and reducing churn. We will also discuss how to make the entire news operation responsible for successful engagement."  He adds, “As is customary for DEN events, expect the discussion to be open and forthright - which is  why we observe the Chatham House Rule.”

 Limited places are also available for those who want to join the hosts and speakers for dinner afterwards.  Advance tickets can be booked here.

The convenors welcome suggestions for speaker and sponsors and can be reached at digitaleditorsnetwork @ gmail.com or via twitter @BethAshton, @petrien, @mrjohncrowley and @francoisnel.

Petrie and Ashton have stepped in to fill vacancies left by Lucia Adams, who is now Managing Editor of The I newspaper, and DEN co-founder Nick Turner, who has moved on from the CN Group to establish the communications consultancy, The Intro.

DEN is a community, not a conference. The Digital Editors Network, which is an initiative of the Journalism Innovation and Leadership Programme at the University of Central Lancashire, has worked since 2007 to link media innovators, whether they work inside, outside or alongside mainstream media organisations. You can connect with DEN by liking the Facebook page, joining our Linkedin group, or following us on Twitter @DENupdates or this blog.

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