By Theo Burman
A fund in honour of Durham University alumnus and former Palatinate Editor-in-Chief Sir Harold Evans has been launched in order to finance a joint initiative between the University and Thomson Reuters that aims to foster journalistic talent.
The fund has already received over $5 million in pledges, including a $2 million donation from Reuters, but further funding is sought by the University in order to expand the scope of the initiative and secure the future of the endowment.
The fund will launch a fellowship in investigative journalism and an annual, agenda-setting forum hosted by Durham University.
Each year one fellow will have the opportunity to undertake a piece of investigative reporting from the Reuters newsroom, while being mentored by top Reuters editors and supported by the academic community at Durham University. A fellow will be appointed annually following a competitive process pooling applicants from around the world, and the first fellow will join Reuters in 2022.
The fund will also enable the creation of an annual forum that will bring together leading figures across media broadcasting and investigative journalism at University College, Evans’s former college. The forum aims to “bring together a diverse and influential audience to discuss all aspects of the journalistic discipline” and the fellow will be invited to participate.
Sir Harold Evans, who died in September 2020, was voted as the Greatest British Newspaper Editor of all time. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Palatinate in 1951, and under his leadership, the newspaper tripled in length and gained greater financial stability.
He later became editor of The Northern Echo in 1961, where his campaign in aid of Timothy Evans was considered a key factor in the decision to abolish the death penalty in Britain. Evans also worked as editor of The Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981 and later joined Reuters in 2011. He received the lifetime achievement award from the UK Press Award committee and was knighted in 2004.
He received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Durham University for his services to journalism in 1998, and remained an active alumnus and mentor to younger students.
Alessandra Galloni, Reuters Editor-in-Chief, said: “Sir Harry Evans was a giant of journalism and an inspiration to those who worked with him. We hope that, through this initiative, Reuters can help support a diverse new generation of investigative journalists and newsroom leaders.
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Durham University to champion independent journalism, nurture emerging talent and celebrate Sir Harry’s remarkable legacy.”
Professor Antony Long, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Warden, Durham University, said: “Durham is an exceptional global research University, and part of a history of learning and curious inquiry stretching back a thousand years.
“This Forum and Fellowship will attract the very best minds and talents from the journalism industry together in academic and professional discourse in honour of one of our most notable graduates. Our partnership with Reuters will develop countless opportunities for students, researchers, and professionals alike around the world.”
Image: Durham University