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ITN’s Deborah Turness Becomes MGEITF 2010 Advisory Chair.

Monday October 12, 2009: London – Deborah Turness, Editor of ITV News, has been appointed 2010 Advisory Chair of the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival Advisory Committee, taking over from 2009’s Chair Elaine Bedell.


As Chair, Turness will be responsible for the editorial direction of the Festival’s programme – from commissioning session ideas to overseeing final production. Working closely with the Festival Office, the Advisory Chair brings together a committee from across the entire industry to advise and produce festival sessions.

Turness has been Editor of ITV News since 2004 and is the first female editor of network news in the UK and the youngest editor of ITV News. In 2008 she received the “Women in Film and Television” New and Factual Award. This month her programmes have won an Emmy for coverage of the Chinese earthquake and a BAFTA earlier this year for the same story. Previously, she has presided over a series of scoops and world exclusives including video of the arrest of the London bombers, the leaked report on the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean-Charles De Menezes and exposing the extent of Charles Kennedy’s drink problem for which ITV News won Scoop Of The Year at the 2007 RTS Awards. Under her leadership ITV News has made history when they became the first news organisation to anchor whole programmes from Antarctica in 2007.

Prior to joining ITV News, Turness was Deputy Editor of ITV News and Deputy Editor of Five News. She was also ITN’s Washington Bureau Producer during the Clinton White House years, spent time in Bosnia during the Balkans War and was North of England producer. Turness began her career at ITN as a freelance producer in the Paris Bureau.

Tim Hincks, Executive Committee Chair 2010 and Chief Executive, Endemol UK, said: “I’m delighted Deborah is going to be Edinburgh’s advisory chair next year. It’ll be a pretty quiet year for her – what with running the ITV news operation, ITV’s election coverage and now the UK’s premier multimedia event, but she’s a force of nature and I know will deliver a brilliant Edinburgh.”

Turness, added: “I am very pleased to have been invited to chair next year’s Festival. Elaine Bedell produced an excellent, headline-grabbing Festival this year, and I am looking forward to working with the committee to create some equally newsworthy, compelling and entertaining sessions next year.”

Previous advisory chairs have included Elaine Bedell, ITV’s Director of Entertainment & Comedy; Andrew Mackenzie, C4 Head of Factual Entertainment; Alison Sharman, ITV’s Director of Factual and Daytime. Tim Hincks, Chief Executive of Endemol UK, Celador’s Head of Factual Entertainment Murray Boland, Tiger Aspect’s Charles Brand, Cheetah Television’s Creative Director Sara Ramsden, ITV’s Director of Global Content Dawn Airey, BBC Director General Mark Thompson and Discovery USA’s Jane Root.

This year’s MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Festival attracted delegates not only from the UK but across the globe from South Africa to Finland, the USA and Australia. The Festival is a charitable organisation which also runs two free talent schemes — The Network and Fast Track — helping young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to get in and get on in the industry. 2009 saw both schemes attract a record number of applicants.

Comedian Russell Howard was the opening night speaker for the Network and then delegates participated in workshops and masterclasses from amongst others the stars and writer of The Inbetweeners (Simon Bird, James Buckley and Iain Morris), Charlie Brooker, Jay Hunt and Julian Bellamy.

Two Fast Track delegates walked away with commissions from UKTV Dave at Fast Track’s live pitch; Sam Ward from Tiger Aspect and freelancer Rob Holloway. They both received a £15,000 commission for 3×3′ programmes which are due to be delivered in April 2010.

The Network and Fast Track are funded through the MGEITF, with approximately one-third of delegate fees going towards these schemes.


Notes to Editors:


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A unique opportunity for individuals from across the media to share ideas, make new contacts and reconnect with friends and colleagues, the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival offers delegates a varied programme of topical debates, one to one networking opportunities, Masterclasses and Keynote Lectures from leading UK and international media figures. The Festival programme is developed by an Advisory Committee made up of individuals from across the industry. The MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival is a delegate entry event which annually attracts over 2000 delegates from all sectors and levels of the industry. MGEITF is a charitable organisation which supports and develops new talent from all backgrounds through its two talent schemes, The Network and Fast Track. Approximately one third of the delegate fees go towards supporting these initiatives.

MGEITF Press Information/press accreditation:
Taylor Herring PR. Tel: + 44 (0)208 206 5151


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