EU Reporter is proud to have sponsored the Journalists’ Charity Media Awards, held in Cardiff this month. The event in the Welsh capital raised money for an organisation founded by Charles Dickens, a journalist who became one of the greatest novelists the world has ever known. It also recognised achievements in journalism, at a time when it both faces more challenges and is more essential than ever, writes Nick Powell.
BBC International Editor Jeremy Bowen won the headline Outstanding Contribution to Journalism award in recognition of his 40-year career reporting on conflicts from around the world. He is currently covering the Israel-Hamas conflict but in a video message said: “I would like to thank you all for this fantastic award. It’s a great honour and I’m disappointed not to be with you.”
He added: “April next year will be 40 years since I signed on the dotted line with the BBC to become a journalist. I’m very fortunate that I have had a part in some of the biggest stories around the world since the Eighties and it’s been an incredible privilege to be able to report on those major events.”
James Brindle, CEO of the Journalists’ Charity, said: “For nearly 40 years, Jeremy has been telling powerful stories that shape the way the world understands conflict. Tonight, like so many nights during his career, he is in a war zone, sacrificing a normal life to be in Israel taking risks to report the truth. During his career, he has shown all the hallmarks of great journalism: objectivity, trustworthiness, empathy and courage. He is quite simply a legend”.
Jeremy Bowen himself hails from Cardiff, where his father was a newspaper and radio editor, perhaps best remembered for his coverage of the early career of a promising young singer named Shirley Bassey. His mother was as the first woman photojournalist to work on the touchline at Cardiff Arms Park.
Appropriately, the ceremony was held in a hotel next to the rugby stadium and not just because of the Bowen family connection. Journalists who exposed a culture of misogyny and sexism in the Welsh Rugby Union were also honoured. Current affairs programme BBC Wales Investigates and freelance print and online journalist Liz Perkins were the joint recipients of the Journalism of the Year award for their separate investigations into the WRU scandal.
In making the award, the judges said, “at its best, journalism holds power to account and gives a voice to those who have been forced to remain silent. This story was Welsh journalism at its best. Its brilliant execution showed the power of print, online and broadcast news, and produced a story that shocked Wales and then went around the world”.
Colin Stevens, publisher of EU Reporter, reflected on a memorable evening. “It was a privilege to bring together leading opinion formers from across the globe, from Bangladesh to Britain and across the political spectrum, from a member of the Labour Shadow Cabinet to a member of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street team. They all recognised the crucial contribution that journalism makes to democracy”.
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