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Waylon Cunningham standing in the courtyard of Castle College

Our first ever Sir Harry Evans Global Fellow is part of a team of Reuters journalists to win a prestigious award for exposing wrongdoing in Elon Musk’s business empire.

Texan reporter Waylon Cunningham became the inaugural recipient of the Sir Harry Evans Global Fellowship in Investigative Journalism in 2023.

The nine-month Fellowship is a partnership between the University, Reuters and Tina Brown MBE, widow of the acclaimed writer, editor and University College alumnus Sir Harry Evans.

During his Fellowship term, Waylon worked from the Reuters London newsroom whilst receiving support from experts in our Institute of Advanced Study.

Award-winning reporting

Waylon contributed to a series of reports that exposed malpractice across Elon Musk’s businesses, including that some Tesla employees shared sensitive images from customers’ car cameras.

The coverage, which also included investigations into Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Neuralink companies, won a prestigious George Polk Award in Journalism.

George Polk Awards are presented by Long Island University, USA, to honour special achievement in journalism, with a particular focus on investigative reporting in the public interest.

Waylon said it was “a tremendous privilege” to work alongside talented Reuters reporters on the award-winning stories.

He added: “Elon Musk's corporate empire is as vast as it is secretive, and we worked hard to eke out and verify each reported detail.

“I'm happy this award will bring more attention to these important stories.”

Sir Harry’s legacy

Waylon, who continues to work as a Reuters reporter, said the Sir Harry Evans Fellowship enabled him to pursue a career in investigative journalism.

He said: “The pipeline for young journalists is in dire ruin in the United States, and I feel blessed beyond words that I could do this fellowship.

“The mentorship I received from veteran journalists sharpened my reporting skills and taught me lessons I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

“And thanks to Durham University, I felt a warm welcome to the United Kingdom.

“The Institute of Advanced Study gave me an intellectual home throughout my Fellowship, and I'll always feel a connection to it.”

Our new Sir Harry Evans Fellow is Rosa Furneaux from Norfolk, UK.

She joins us from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London where she has already reported on global health inequalities. 

Find out more