Sussex Conversations

Here at Sussex we have a strong tradition of bringing a variety of academic research to the wider community in an accessible way. Our Susssex Conversations events are designed to examine, question and challenge the world in which we live from different angles, creating new ideas that can help shape society. 

Sussex Conversations 2017: Demockery and the Media in a 'Post-Factual' Age

What if we can’t believe anything anymore?

Certain stories have a tendency to catch on more than others and go viral. Stories feeding on anger or fear often enjoy more social transmission than stories with ‘boring’ or depressing content. Meanwhile, stories correcting, explaining or adjusting facts, fictions and forecasts have a hard time getting traction, not just on social media but increasingly on ‘mainstream’ media too. What goes viral is not necessarily true, and whatever is true doesn’t necessarily get a viral life.

Concepts such as ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ are becoming the global buzzwords for 2017. For some the danger and power of contested news, whether state-funded like it is in Russia or commercially driven as it often is with sites in the United States, is that it distorts reality, introduces doubt and undermines legitimate arguments. For others it’s a chance to present a different view outside the mainstream media that challenges the so-called elites and organisations who control information.

Either way all narratives are open to be questioned and echo-chambers abound in which information, ideas, and beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition to those with similar views.

The World Economic Forum has declared misinformation to be among the great challenges of our time: “The global risk of massive digital misinformation sits at the centre of a constellation of technological and geopolitical risks ranging from terrorism to cyber attacks and the failure of global governance.”

Are we living in a post-factual world where nothing and everything is true or entering a global age of information for all?

Date: Wednesday 3 May 2017
Arrival time: 6.00pm. Doors close promptly at 6.20pm
Location: The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS
Ticket price: £10 each. This price includes a post-event reception with drinks and canapés

Tickets are available to purchase on the door (cash only).
Please arrive by 6pm to allow time for purchasing at the Royal Institution.


Clive Myrie

Clive Myrie studied Law at Sussex before gaining a place on the BBC’s prestigious journalism trainee scheme in 1988. He is a multi-award winning journalist, one of the BBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents and became a presenter for the BBC News Channel in 2009. His career has seen him report from more than 80 countries, including covering wars in Croatia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise and fall of the Taliban. Clive has a particular interest in US politics and has covered four Presidential races, including Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 and his inauguration the following year. In 2013 he co-anchored coverage of Nelson Mandela’s funeral from South Africa.


Kerry-Anne Mendoza

Kerry-Anne Mendoza is Editor-in-Chief of The Canary, an online media website that positions itself outside the ‘mainstream media’. She is known for creating one of the UK’s top independent political blogs (Scriptonite Daily), for authoring the best-seller 'Austerity', and for her Middle East reporting, notably Operation Protective Edge from Gaza through the Summer of 2014. Her passions are politics, economics and current affairs, which she examines with the basic question: “How do we build a world that works for everyone?” She is based in Bristol, UK.

Ivor Gabor

Ivor Gabor is Professor of Journalism at the University of Sussex. Prior to entering academia he was a political journalist based at Westminster during which time he reported and produced programmes for BBC TV and Radio, ITN, Channel Four and Sky News. He currently makes documentary programmes for Radio 4 and is an Independent Editorial Advisor to the BBC Trust. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science and has published widely on the media and politics and issues surrounding news and broadcasting regulation. He is a frequent expert contributor to radio and television stations in the UK and overseas and represents the UK at UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication.

Ella Whelan

Ella Whelan is the assistant editor at the online magazine spiked and the coordinator of spiked's 'Free Speech University Rankings', the first of its kind in the UK. Ella frequently features as a political commentator on TV and radio, specialising in the relationship between free speech, feminism and women’s liberation. Ella is a recent Sussex graduate, with an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature.

Neil Breakwell

Neil Breakwell is the London bureau chief of Vice News, an online current affairs and news channel with a nightly news program - VICE News Tonight - broadcast on HBO. Since its creation in 2013, Vice News has covered emerging events and widespread issues around the world and partly describe their remit as covering stories not covered by other mainstream news outlets. It primarily targets a younger audience comprised predominantly of millenials. Prior to joining Vice last year Neil was the deputy editor of BBC Newsnight, having previously been a senior producer working across their output and has extensive experience on other BBC programs including the Today programme and the World at One on Radio 4.

You can watch back all of our previous conversations in full: