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X Factor boss joins SoE conference line-up

The right-hand man of X Factor boss Simon Cowell is among the line-up of speakers for next month’s Society of Editors conference.

Ellis Watson, a former managing director of Trinity Mirror, is now chief executive officer of Cowell’s Syco Entertainment company.

He is now responsible for overseeing the expansion of Syco in the US and the preparation for the launch of the US version of the X Factor on Fox in 2011

Mr Watson joins the list of top speakers for the newspaper industry’s biggest annual gathering which opens in Glasgow on 14 November.

Other names added to the bill include Martin Clarke, publisher of MailOnline, which has remained the most visited national newspaper website since January.

A session on libel reform will include contributions from John Kampfner, chief executive of Index on Censorship, and lawyer Tony Jaffa of Foot Anstey which represents many regional newspapers.

Regional journalists taking part will include Kent Messenger group political editor Paul Francis, who will address the session on the media and democracy.

And Manchester Evening News editor Maria McGeoghan will be on the panel for the closing 2020 Vision session which will look at the prospects for the industry over the next decade.

The two-day conference opens with the Society of Editors Lecture, which this year will be given by the new London Evening Standard and Independent owner Alexander Lebedev.

SoE president Donald Martin, editor of Scotland’s Sunday Post said: “We will throw off the doom and gloom that has inhibited us in recent years and celebrate the vibrancy of the newspapers, broadcasting and the internet that informs and entertains readers, listeners and viewers.”