ITV chief fights for the media to reflect the society it serves

By Oliver Lines

ITV News’ diversity consultant is coming to Leeds Trinity University to talk to students about how his professional and community roles.

Vidar Hjardeng, who was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to Visually Impaired People and to Broadcasting, has spent over 25 years at ITV as well as working for various groups that help the blind and partially sighted.

Before entering his current role, Vidar was an editor/executive producer on political, religious and social action magazine programmes, which then allowed him to move into ITV News’ Senior Management team.

Mike Best, senior lecturer at Leeds Trinity, said: “Vidar is the diversity advisor for the whole of ITV and as someone who is visually impaired, he understands how important it is to reflect society in its widest area.

“For any producer, writer or actor in the industry, it’s something you can’t afford to overlook and that’s why it’s going to be an important session that Vidar will be running.

“He’s very keen on getting the message across but couldn’t make it last year, so he said to let him know when this year’s was and he’d come.”

Newcastle-born Vidar is very active within the blind and partially sighted community, and this is epitomised by the fact he is a former chair of audio-description charity VocalEyes and a trustee of the Talking Newspaper Association of the UK.

He has also reviewed audiobooks for BBC Radio 4’s In Touch programme, a news an information show aimed at people who are blind and partially sighted, as well as contributing to a host of publications such as The Book Magazine and Disability Now.

On top of his role at ITV, Vidar reviews audio-described theatre performances at the Birmingham Hippodrome for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), for whom he is also a trustee.

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