Media luminaries from across the globe braved the London rain on 12th January 2023 to celebrate the appointment of Waylon Cunningham as the first Sir Harry Evans Global Fellow in Investigative Journalism. The event was hosted by legendary magazine editor and author Tina Brown CBE, Reuters Editor-in-Chief, Alessandra Galloni and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global of Durham University, Professor Claire O’Malley.
Left to right: Claire O'Malley, Tina Brown CBE, Waylon Cunningham and Alessandra Galloni.
Brown opened the event by reminding the guests of the essential role they played pursuing the truth and holding power to account: values that her husband Sir Harry Evans championed during his illustrious career and which are at the heart of the Summit and Fellowship supported by the Sir Harry Evans Memorial Fund.
Lord Darroch, like Sir Harry, a Durham graduate, brought to life how Sir Harry’s experience at the university helped to define his contribution to journalism.
There is as great a need as ever for investigative journalism: for those who are ready to seek out the truth, whatever the personal risk.
Lord Darroch, British Ambassador to the U.S. (2016-2019)
Reuters Editor-in-Chief Galloni added,
Sir Harry’s legacy will live on through this fellowship and the upcoming summit, which we hope will inspire journalists to fearlessly seek the truth for generations to come.
She then introduced Cunningham as the inaugural fellow whose application had stood out from over 150 others.
Cunningham shared his experience as a reporter in Texas uncovering how a series of bureaucratic failures forced the Sheriff’s Department to rehire deputies it knew had a history of celebrating violence and police shootings. In San Antonio, he chronicled how amateur investors are plundering working-class flats and evading regulations. The guests were energised by this young writer’s commitment to investigative journalism that “leaves readers shaking and powerful people sweating.”
He described how he felt he had been spending a great deal of time since being awarded the fellowship talking with Harry’s colleagues and confidantes, retracing his footsteps in New York and Durham and absorbing advice from his books. For a brief time, the room seemed lit by Sir Harry’s spirit as old friends and colleagues shared recollections of time with Harry, his influence on their work today and his inspiration to future generations of journalists.
We are proud of the role that Durham University played in shaping Sir Harry’s exceptional outlook and the role that we can play in this global fellowship guiding future generations of journalists telling the stories that shape our world today.
Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global of Durham University
After lunch, BBC newsreader and presenter Clive Myrie hosted a panel discussion on ‘Why Journalism Matters’ where Sir Harry’s influence continued to be heard, combining the hard-hitting with the eloquent in the observations. CNN’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour drew on her experience of reporting on humanitarian crises to provide insights into how to preserve and energise investigative journalism. James Harding, founder of Tortoise Media, formerly Director of BBC News and Editor of the Times, talked about how it was important not to mistake Harry’s geniality for pliability, while Galloni recounted the bravery of colleagues reporting on atrocities. David Walmsley, editor-in-chief at the Globe and Mail, recalled how Sir Harry exhorted him to campaign for thalidomide victims in Canada while reflecting on the need to appreciate the romance of journalism to survive the demands of the profession.
From left to right: Clive Myrie, Alessandra Galloni, David Walmsley, Christiane Amanpour and James Harding.
Brown closed the event by announcing plans for the inaugural Sir Harry Evans Global Summit in Investigative Journalism which will take place on 10th May 2023 at the Royal Institute of British Architects and she expressed her high hopes for the fellowship.
I see a young man like Harry was, burning with ambition to put his journalism at the service of our broken world.
Tina Brown CBE, acclaimed journalist and Sir Harry’s widow
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