BBC Media Action, the International charity of the BBC, uses media to tackle development issues across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. One key area of their work is to strengthen local media organisations so they can produce output which helps people engage more in society. A key element of this work is to provide media practitioners with a strong understanding of their audience by conducting research and using the insights to develop effective communication.

In this session, they'll talk through three case studies which highlight the context; insights from recently conducted surveys; considerations required to conduct research in complex environments and how research has been used to develop media. Specifically:

1. Iraq: How views of media have been changing, and where political satire has been successful in engaging audiences.

2. Algeria: In a country that has been sceptical of media data, we have conducted an audience survey that has helped media practitioners develop new content.

3. Libya: Online analytics and a national media survey is helping to shape an online news platform which aims to deliver balanced and impartial news to young Libyans.

What you'll learn:

  • Knowledge of  different media landscapes
  • The challenges in conducting research in conflict environments
  • Types of innovative research which can be used in these contexts
  • How media usage is changing
  • How research insights have been used to support media

About the speakers:

Sonia Whitehead
is Head of Research at BBC Media Action. She has 20 years of national and international experience in research across the social, commercial and development sectors. After working in Market Research in the UK and India, Sonia joined BBC MA in 2006. She oversees research across Africa, Asia and the Middle East and works with her team to generate and communicate insights and evidence on BBC MA’s research impact, evaluation, and effectiveness. She has most recently managed the development of a data portal that holds BBC MA’s governance, media and resilience data and has overseen numerous publications on the role of media in supporting development.

Alasdair Stuart is a Senior Research Manager and Senior Governance Advisor at BBC Media Action, overseeing audience research and impact evaluation across numerous countries and providing strategic input on the organisation’s governance work and evidence. Prior to joining the BBC in 2015, Alasdair worked in various policy and research positions in the UK, initially for the Scottish Government and one of Scotland’s leading research consultancies then as Lead Researcher and Senior Research Manager at research consultancies in London (with a focus on public/third sector research).

Suzanne Devai is a Research Consultant at BBC Media Action, focusing primarily on research in Iraq and the Kurdish Region. She has over 15 years’ experience, having previously worked at organisations large and small, including YouGov and Ipsos MORI. She has been with BBC Media Action for over a year, and has much international research experience, including media research in both developing and developed countries. She holds the MRS Diploma accreditation and enjoys fusing her quantitative background with a keen interest in qualitative methods.


Bookings will open approximately 6 weeks before each event. 

This event is free for MRS members. Non-members are welcome to attend for a fee of £25.00 + VAT, which must be paid in advance.

If you would like to join MRS to enable you to attend this event for free and take advantage of the other benefits of membership please click here.


The Old Trading House, 15 Northburgh Street,London,EC1V 0JR

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