MacTaggart Speaker Announced

We are delighted to announce Jon Snow, award-winning journalist and broadcaster will deliver this year’s prestigious James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture.

Jon Snow is one of the UK’s leading television journalists and broadcasters and been the face of Channel 4 News since 1989, having reported for ITN since 1976. He has covered many of the defining news events of the last 40 years including the fall of Idi Amin in Uganda, the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, the fall of the Berlin wall, and the release of Nelson Mandela – as well as the elections of Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Barack Obama and most recently, Donald Trump.

Jon’s career has spanned huge changes to news and broadcasting and he has been at the forefront of Channel 4 News’ success in engaging young and diverse audiences with its digital journalism, as it has become one of the UK’s leading video news brands on social media.

Jon Snow said: “I’m both delighted and honoured to have been accorded such an opportunity. These are exceptionally complex and challenging times, but amid the digital revolution this is also one of the most exciting times to be in television – laced with opportunity. I greatly look forward to August 23rd in Edinburgh.”

Advisory Chair, Diederick Santer, said: “Jon Snow is one of the leading creatives in our industry. An award-winning journalist who over the past forty years has brought his distinctive approach and great knowledge to reports of monumental events and interviews of world leaders.

“With his long-term perspective, I’m incredibly excited to hear his views on the past, present and future of news, and its impact across all our genres of programming. As the centrepiece to the Festival, this will, without doubt, be engaging, entertaining and inspiring. Bringing his trademark brilliant analysis, Jon will share with us all something we didn’t already know.”

Jon Snow has been honoured with a number of industry awards including a BAFTA Fellowship, the Richard Dimbleby BAFTA-award for Best Factual Contribution to Television (2005) and Royal Television Society Awards for Journalist of the Year (2006) and Presenter of the Year (2009).  He has fronted some of the biggest news events of recent years and helped Channel 4 News win the Royal Television Society’s News Programme of the Year award three times in the last five years, with the team also winning Best Non-Scripted Online Short at Broadcast’s Digital Awards and six accolades in total at the RTS Journalism Awards earlier this year.

Festival Director Lisa Campbell added: “Jon Snow is nothing short of a broadcasting legend. His decades of experience combined with his enthusiasm for new ways of working has garnered awards as well as an enormous fan base of younger viewers in the UK and overseas. It is a huge privilege to be able to offer him this global platform and I’m sure delegates will be enthralled by his speech.”

The MacTaggart Lecture has formed the centrepiece of the Festival since 1976 which in the past, has been delivered by leading authors, playwrights, journalists, media titans and actors, including Dennis Potter, Rupert Murdoch, Kevin Spacey, Ted Turner, Janet Street-Porter, John Schlesinger, Marcel Ophuls, Elisabeth Murdoch and Armando Iannucci.

As a Festival and a charity, the Edinburgh International Television Festival is committed to helping young people from all backgrounds gain access to the TV Industry. It runs two young talent schemes, Ones to Watch and The Network, which celebrated its 25th Anniversary last year.

Both schemes aim to ensure that the people working in television are as diverse as the audience watching it.