Meet the team
HEBA ALY, DIRECTOR
A multimedia journalist by training, Heba spent one decade reporting from conflict zones in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia before moving into management. Her work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg News and IRIN, among others, took her to places like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chad and Libya; and she received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for her work in northern Sudan
Heba has worked with IRIN in different capacities since 2007, including as field correspondent and Middle East Editor, and played a key role in planning and executing IRIN’s spin-off from the United Nations to become an independent media organisation. Her recent TEDx Talk – "Stop Eating Junk News" – drives home the importance of responsible journalism from crisis zones. She is a regular commentator on humanitarian policy in her published work, in governmental briefings and at conferences around the world. She is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on the Humanitarian System and, in 2018, was named one of 100 Young Global Leaders under 40. She was also named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2018 by New African magazine. Heba speaks English, French, Arabic and Spanish.
JOSEPHINE SCHMIDT, EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Josephine joined IRIN in 2018 as our first executive editor. She is an experienced journalist, newsroom leader and media strategist with over 17 years of international newsroom, op-ed and editorial development experience at The New York Times. She has lived and worked in Asia, Europe and North America, launching and managing multilingual websites, magazines, multimedia projects, breaking news coverage and special projects on everything from culture to politics. She has also worked with heads of state, Nobel laureates, artists, dissidents, scientists and business leaders to craft timely and impactful op-ed and analysis pieces. As editorial lead of The New York Times News Service and Syndication division, she oversaw the development and distribution of multi-platform content from The New York Times and other leading media companies to organisations around the world. Josephine began her career in non-profit media in post-communist Eastern Europe, where she helped establish the region’s first post-Soviet journalism training center and then played key roles in launching and leading Transitions, a website and magazine covering the politics, economy, and culture of 27 post-Soviet countries.
ANDREW GULLY, MANAGING EDITOR
Andrew joined IRIN in 2015. He is a journalist and editor whose 12-year career at Agence France-Presse took him from Paris to London to Hong Kong to Washington via short stints in Jakarta, Jerusalem, Moscow, Baghdad and Port-au-Prince. His final years at AFP were spent as Deputy Desk Chief for North America, running the editorial output for the Americas and covering Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
BEN PARKER, SENIOR EDITOR
Ben has worked for various development agencies in Africa (including Oxfam, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, the European Union and the UN Environment Programme). He set up the initial editorial and online systems for IRIN in 1995 and later moved into web publishing in the private sector with Africa Online in 2000. In 2007, he returned to IRIN, taking over as Editor-in-Chief and Director. As a UN communications officer in Sudan from 2003-2006, he was closely involved in raising the alarm about Darfur internationally and released some of the first photos and TV footage of the crisis.
OBI ANYADIKE, EDITOR-AT-LARGE
Obi is an online journalist and editor, with extensive experience covering international development issues, Africa and the Global South. Obi began his career as a back-packing journalist writing for the Economist and other London-based African publications. He was the Zambia correspondent for Inter Press Service, chronicling the start of the multiparty wave in Anglophone Africa, and went on to cover the upheavals in Somalia and Ethiopia. He later worked as Africa Editor for IPS based in Zimbabwe, working with a team of young pioneers carving out space for progressive, independent media on the continent. A regular commentator on Boko Haram, Obi holds an MA in Peace and Conflict studies from the University of Notre Dame.
SUMAYYA ISMAIL, AFRICA EDITOR
Sumayya is a journalist and editor covering sub-Saharan Africa. Before joining IRIN, she spent a decade working in the news media and non-profit sectors in Johannesburg, London and Doha, including for Al Jazeera English, the Mail & Guardian, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Action Aid. She has written about human rights, development, health, urbanisation and climate change in Southern and East Africa. She is passionate about creative, long-form story telling, and has a deep commitment to covering Africa’s stories from the ground up.
ANNIE SLEMROD, MIDDLE EAST EDITOR
Annie is a journalist and editor, covering the Middle East. From 2010-2013 she reported on Lebanon for Beirut’s The Daily Star, where she focused on Palestinian refugees. After leaving Beirut, she covered Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a freelancer for IRIN, The Independent, and The American Prospect. Annie holds a Masters in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
IRWIN LOY, ASIA EDITOR
Irwin joined IRIN in 2017, covering stories from across Asia and the Pacific. He is a multimedia journalist and editor who has lived and reported in Asia since 2009. Before coming to IRIN, he filed print, radio, and multimedia stories as a freelance correspondent and worked closely with local journalists from around the region. He started out in newspapers covering local and provincial politics in Canada. Irwin is also leading a reporting project exploring locally driven aid in humanitarian crises.
KENNETH DIMALIBOT, AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT OFFICER
Kenneth joined IRIN in 2017 after several years working with Save the Children and the Red Cross in media, communication, and marketing roles. With his experience in building brand experiences across digital and emerging channels, Kenneth helps to drive IRIN's audience growth and engagement, while overseeing our presence on social media, developing our creative multimedia content strategy, and honing our analytics.
WHITNEY PATTERSON, ASSOCIATE DIGITAL CONTENT PRODUCER
Whitney is a multimedia producer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she has lived and worked in Peru, Bangladesh, Beirut, as well as throughout Europe and the United States. For IRIN, she handles audio, visual, and web content. She holds a BA in International Development from UCLA and a Masters in Media Practice for Development and Social Change from the University of Sussex. She speaks English and Spanish.
MARC FEHR, SENIOR WEB DEVELOPER
Marc is a full stack web developer with experience in digital storytelling, data visualisation, interaction and usability design. After graduating in 2011 from the University of Applied Sciences in Chur, Switzerland, he worked as an interactive news designer for the award winning ‘Interaktiv Team’ in one of Switzerland’s biggest newsrooms. Marc is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa, where he works remotely, returning to Europe twice a year to lecture at various Swiss universities. Marc was born in Switzerland and speaks German, English and French.
SARAH NOBLE, DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sarah joined IRIN in 2017 and heads up its external relations and communications portfolio. Sarah brings with her more than a decade of experience in strategic communication and engagement in the field of international peace and security. For the past 11 years she has worked at the global peacebuilding organisation, Interpeace in a variety of key positions. Sarah also serves as Head of the Peace Talks, an initiative that highlights the inspirational stories of people who are making positive contributions to peace. She has been recognized by the World Economic Forum for her contribution as a Global Shaper (2011-2015). She is a member of the Banff Forum of leaders under 40 in Canada. Sarah holds an MA in International Affairs from Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.
ANNA ROHLEDER, MARKETING MANAGER
Anna joined IRIN in 2018 to lead the organisation’s marketing and rebranding efforts. She has worked in communications and marketing for a variety of companies and nonprofit organisations, including Sourcefabric, a developer of open-source tools for news media, and the Opera suite of internet browsers. By background, Anna is a journalist and translator. She has written widely about sustainability and the food system, and is interested in broader questions about how humanity will live in the future, from environmental change to the ways that relationships and society are being mediated by technology. Anna speaks German and Norwegian.
EMMELINE BOOTH, OUTREACH AND REPORTING OFFICER
Emmeline joined IRIN as an intern in 2015, after graduating from City University with a degree in journalism. She was IRIN's editorial assistant before taking on her current position. Emmeline prepares reports for prospective donors, identifies new funding opportunities, handles republication and partnership requests, keeps track of IRIN's impact and assists with editorial production. She speaks English and French.
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
RICHARD GOLDING, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
Richard began his professional career in the UK as a Chartered Accountant before joining PwC as a management consultant, specialising in Finance, Governance and Risk Management. His career with PwC spanned 25 years and culminated with eight years as Global Relationship Partner for the United Nations System, the Global Fund, and other multilateral organisations. Richard was also an advisor to the UK and Swiss governments on their foreign and international development policy think tanks. Since 2013, he has been working as an independent consultant and also serves as a Board member and Finance Committee Chair for the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, and as an advisor to the Finance & Accountability Committee of Unitaid in Geneva. Richard joined IRIN as Director of Finance in 2017.
Contact Richard via email: [email protected]
VICTORIA BYTSKO, ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE MANAGER
Victoria joined IRIN in late 2016 after 20 years working for Médecins Sans Frontières, both in the field on long term missions and emergency interventions (in DRC, Burundi, Angola, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan and Nigeria) and in HR at the Brussels head office, responsible for the cell managing operations in South Sudan, DRC and Guinea. On top of her experience in the humanitarian sector, she worked as line producer for the TV reality programme “Peking Express” in Russia, Mongolia and China between 2004 and 2005.
Contact Victoria via email: [email protected]