Judges for the Sandford St Martin 2023 Awards

Sandford St Martin judges represent some of the best of the UK’s broadcasting and journalism industries. Chosen to represent a broad range of experience, perspectives and backgrounds as well as attitudes to faith, what they have in common is their skill, professionalism and commitment to excellence in broadcasting.

Shelina Begum

Chair of the Journalism Judging Panel

Shelina Begum is an award-winning journalist and now runs media agency Shelina Begum Communications. With more than two decades experience in journalism, Shelina was most recently North West business editor at TheBusinessDesk.com.

Prior to that she was business editor at the Manchester Evening News and its weekly titles between 2015 to 2020 having joined the business team in 2010. Previously, she was a features writer for the M.E.N and editor of the Asian News, a monthly print and digital publication launched by the Guardian Media Group.

Shelina was featured in the 2020 ‘Northern Powerhouse Women Power 50’ list. She is also a huge advocate for women in business and co-founder of www.workingmamas.co.uk, a national platform championing working mothers across the UK.

Dan Damon

Journalism Judge

Dan Damon is an award-winning journalist and radio broadcaster best known for hosting World Update on the BBC World Service.

Dan joined the BBC in 1974 as a technical operator for radio news before moving to LBC and broadcast journalism in 1982. In 1989, with his wife Sian who is a camera operator, he decided to visit friends in Hungary where, with a ringside seat for Cold War politics, he launched into the next phase of his career covering the demise of the Soviet Union and revolutions and wars as far apart as Mongolia and Albania for a variety of media.

He then returned to the BBC to work as a presenter and reporter for BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. During this time he was a regular presenter of PM. Dan left the BBC in 2021 and is now training for ordination in the Church in Wales.

A. M. Dassu

Chair of the Young Audience Judging Panel

A.M. Dassu is the internationally acclaimed author of Boy, Everywhere, and Fight Back, which have collectively been listed for 42 awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Carnegie Medal, The Little Rebels Award for Radical Fiction, the American Library Association Notable Book List and Jane Addams Peace Book Award.

She is a director at Inclusive Minds, which is an organisation for people who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s literature, and one of The National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign authors, aiming to help inspire a love of reading and writing in children and young people.

A.M. Dassu grew up in the Midlands dreaming of becoming a writer but studied economics instead and worked in marketing and project management before realising her dream. She writes books that challenge stereotypes, humanise the “other” and are full of empathy, hope and heart. Her latest book, Boot It! is a World Book Day novel, published in March 2023.

Tim Daykin

Radio/Audio Judge

Canon Tim Daykin produced and presented the Sunday breakfast programme at BBC Radio Solent for 17 years before retiring in 2020. Tim has worked across the local radio network of 39 stations, producing projects that include the network’s contribution to BBC Radio 2’s Faith in the World Week. Ordained in Guildford Cathedral in 1978, Tim served his curacy in Farnham before becoming Chaplain to King Alfred’s College, now the University of Winchester, and working in parishes in southern Hampshire. He is now Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral and a member of the Chapter (Cathedral’s Trustee).

Jackie Edwards

Young Audience Judge

Jackie Edwards is a passionate advocate for public service television, and until very recently, was living her dream job as the Head of the BFI Young Audiences Content Fund, responsible for the implementation of this game-changing UK Government initiative to stimulate the provision of public service content for audiences of 0-18.

This hugely successful three-year Pilot awarded £44.1M of funding supporting 61 brand new commissions for UK children and teens and funded the development of a further 160 new projects, over 9% of which have already been commissioned.  The Fund has been a powerful lever in stimulating a sector in market failure.

Jackie joined the BFI from BBC Children’s where she had been the Head of Acquisitions and Independent Animation, responsible for pre-buying and acquiring live-action and animated programming for CBeebies, CBBC and iPlayer.  She joined the BBC in 2008 as Content Manager and Executive Producer.  Prior to the BBC, Jackie was an award-winning producer in the independent sector for 14 years, developing, financing and producing specials and series for young audiences.

Angela Epstein

TV/Video Judge

Angela Epstein is a feature writer and columnist for a number of newspapers and women’s magazines and regularly writes comment and opinion pieces for the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and The Times. A frequent guest on television debates, Angela’s credits include being a panellist on the Jeremy Vine Show, Question Time, Newsnight, This Morning and Sunday Morning Live. She was also the subject of a Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary about `real life` journalism.

She is a contributor to Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show, Five Live as well as Woman’s Hour, PM and You and Yours on Radio 4, Talk Radio and LBC. Angela is also a columnist for The Jewish Chronicle and was the ghost writer of The Art of the Loophole: Making the Law Work for You by celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman (published by Hodder & Stoughton).


Amber Haque

TV/Video Judge

Amber Haque is a presenter and documentary maker, aspiring to bring a fresh approach to hard-hitting docs for younger audiences – reporting on everything from honour violence and true crime to the sustainability of Ibiza’s clubbing culture. Amber was named as a ‘One To Watch’ at Edinburgh TV Festival and has just finished presenting the BBC Three flagship series Hometown: A Teenage Killing.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist who won a place on the BBC’s prestigious Journalism Trainee Scheme, her UK and international work has made headlines and been watched by millions on the BBC News at Six, The One Show, Victoria Derbyshire, BBC World Service and BBC iPlayer.

Amber has spoken about her work at the Press Association Festival of Journalism and Sheffield DocFest. She’s currently presenting a Panorama investigation for BBC One and developing documentary ideas in the USA and India.

Vanessa Harriss

Young Audience Judge

Vanessa Harriss is the editor of the multi-award-winning weekly children’s news magazine, The Week Junior. Vanessa joined the team before the launch, in 2015, as production editor. Her job was to set the magazine’s tone of voice when addressing a young and curious audience. She has a deep understanding of TWJ’s readers: what interests them and what worries them – and that they view the world with a strong sense of justice. In a career of 25 years, she has worked for many newspapers and magazines but highlights include being copy chief at TIME (Europe, Middle East and Asia) and working at Wired UK, explaining complex technologies to a broad readership.

Hayley Hassall

Chair of the TV/Video Judging Panel

Hayley Hassall is an award-winning investigative journalist, TV and Radio Presenter and has been presenting News and Current Affairs across the BBC and ITV’s flagship programmes for almost 20 years. Hayley currently presents her own show on BBC Radio 5live, and also runs the BBC’s first Mental Health clinic together with guest doctors.

Hayley started her presenting career after being an undercover reporter for Panorama; since then she has reported and presented on BBC Panorama specials, The One Show, Sunday Live, ITV Tonight, BBC1 Radio 4 and 5Live. Hayley is the anchor of BBC Newsround, which she has presented for over 12 years. She is passionate about bringing social affairs to a younger audience and throughout the Covid Pandemic, Hayley presented BBC Bitesize, the daily education show for children who couldn’t get to school.

Hayley won a RTS award for best presenter and reporter after she went undercover for Panorama: Undercover Midwife. She won a BAFTA for her Panorama Documentary: Brains Homecare Scandal, and has won a Sandford St Martin Award for her documentary on refugee children. She is currently nominated for an Aria and Prix Europa for her audio documentaries on the post office.

Hussein Kesvani

Radio/Audio Judge

Hussein Kesvani is a journalist, writer, editor, media producer and consultant. He is author of Follow Me Akhi: The Online World of British Muslims which was long-listed for the Orwell Prize for Non Fiction Writing in 2020. He is also co-host of the popular UK political podcast Trashfuture and it’s spin-off show, Ten Thousand Posts.

Hussein has previously worked as the UK and Europe editor of MEL magazine, a religion correspondent for BuzzFeed News, and has freelanced for the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, VICE, Monocle, The New Statesman and The Spectator among others. He has also worked as a media consultant for a number of Third Sector organisations, including the think tank Theos, and has produced multimedia projects for HSBC, Clifford Chance LLP and Anglo American International. Hussein is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Digital Anthropology at University College London, focussing his research on religious identity formation among young men in digital spaces.

Chine McDonald

Chair of the Radio/Audio Judging Panel

Chine McDonald is director of the religion and society think tank, Theos. She is a trustee at Christian Aid and was previously Head of Community Fundraising and Public Engagement at the charity. She read theology & religious studies at Cambridge University before training as a newspaper journalist and over the years has written for several newspapers including the Guardian, Independent, The Times, the Daily Mirror and the Big Issue. Chine is a regular contributor to BBC Religion & Ethics programmes, including Thought for the Day on Radio 4’s Today programme. She also sits on a number of charity boards, including Greenbelt Festival and Christians in Media. Chine regularly speaks and writes on issues of race and faith and published her second book, God is not a white man: and other revelations in 2021 (Hodder & Stoughton).

Dr Michael Munnik

Journalism Judge

Dr Michael Munnik is a Senior Lecturer in Social Science Theories and Methods at Cardiff University, working with the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK. His research concerns media and religion and, more specifically, the news media and Muslims in Britain. Prior to his postgraduate study and work in UK academia, Michael worked as a broadcast journalist for CBC Radio in Ottawa, Canada.

Adama Juldeh Munu

Journalism Judge

Adama Juldeh Munu is an award-winning journalist who has worked with many well-known media publications including TRT World, Al-Jazeera, the Huffington Post, The New Arab and Black Ballad. She writes about race, Black heritage and issues connecting Islam and the African diaspora. A 2020 FIPP & UPM Rising Stars in Media winner, Adama was nominated for a Media and Cultural Awareness Award at the 2020 British Muslim Awards, receiving a High Commendation Award. She was also shortlisted for the Media Achievement Award and Rising Star in Media at the 2022 and 2018 British Muslim Awards.

Adama has lectured at the Muslim Institute, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and St. Andrews University, and is currently working on a cultural multimedia series focusing on Turkey and the African Diaspora for The Afropean. ​She is also a working member of MUSAWAH’s journalism collective which focuses on fighting gender discrimination in Muslim-majority societies.

Mark Radice

TV/Video Judge

Mark Radice is an award-winning Director, Producer/Director and Series Director, with over 20 years’ experience in the TV and film industry. He’s been nominated for an Emmy, Grierson, BAFTA Cymru and won an RTS Scotland award in 2017. He enjoys making films about extraordinary people and events, and stories from today and contemporary history which help us to understand where we are and how we got here.

Mark has made films in a wide variety of genres and subject matters – including history, science, politics and current affairs. He has excavated a tunnel from the Great Escape in Poland – and brought three veterans that dug it back to see it; revealed the identity of the man who killed Georgi Markov with a poisoned umbrella on Waterloo Bridge in 1978; and worked with children who survived Grenfell Tower to deliver an alternative Christmas Message.

He has made films about Obama, Trump and Angela Merkel – and in September 2022, Channel 4 broadcast a special obituary of the Queen, presented by Jon Snow, that had been written and directed by Mark.  

Dixi Stewart

Radio/Audio Judge

Dixi Stewart is an award-winning programme maker with over 30 years’ experience across the broadcasting industry and the Managing Director of the SandStone Global production company.  She presented the BBC’s first weekly LGBT show, launched Talk Radio UK, and produced flagship programmes for BBC Radio 4 such as The Food Programme, Woman’s Hour and Saturday Live. She’s also edited a wide range of global news events, documentaries, podcasts and series including the widely admired Ideas That Make Us with Bettany Hughes.

Dixi has worked at a strategic level to reinvent and grow audio across all the BBC’s services and to establish BBC Sounds. As Chief of Staff to the BBC’s Managing Director, she led on initiatives to develop talent, improve the BBC’s working culture and increase its diversity both on and off air.

Dixi is a trustee of the Radio Academy and in 2021 was honoured with a Fellowship in recognition of her work directing the Radio Festival and co-founding the Audio and Radio Emergency Fund to support colleagues across the industry throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ewan Vinnicombe-Wallis

Young Audience Judge

Ewan Vinnicombe-Wallis is an award-winning Executive Producer and a Project Director at Freemantle where he is working on developing talent and in-house teams across their global business. Throughout his career, of which over 20 years were spent within the BBC, Ewan ensured the success of many well-known children’s programmes including in its 60th celebratory year, the BBC’s flagship brand Blue Peter – the world’s longest running children’s TV programme. Since leaving the BBC, Ewan has worked for a variety of independent producers, Manchester International Festival, BFI and SharpFutures in Manchester as a consultant.


In addition to our judges, we are hugely indebted to our 2023 shortlisters, all of whom lent us their time, energy, enthusiasm and their expertise to the category they were asked to work on. Our thanks to:

Ngunan Adamu, Bridget Cass, Rob Cave, Kate Cornell, Olive Clancy, Rosie Dawson, Torin Douglas, Rachael Duffy, Jodie Fothergill, Lauryn Lambourne, Hannah Ludlow, John Matheson, Nana-Adwoa Mbeutcha, Anna McNamee, Nicola Meyrick, Reem Nouss, Mark Perrow, Callum Roome, Angela Robson, Miheer Shetty, Paresh Solanki, Amie Stenson-Pickles, Bryony Taylor and Chris Wilson.