Friday, March 17, 2017

£4000 prize for investigative journalism outside London

A cash prize for investigative journalism is being launched in memory of the distinguished former World In Action editor Ray Fitzwalter, who died last year following a long battle with illness.

The award, which will be made to recognise the work of investigative journalists working outside London, is to be launched by Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass at this month’s Nations And Regions Media Conference, held at The Lowry at Salford Quays and hosted by the University of Salford.

It will mark the huge contribution made by investigative journalist Ray Fitzwalter, who edited Granada’s flagship current affairs programme for 17 years.

The Bury-born journalist developed a reputation as a fearless programme maker over his long career, creating hard hitting documentaries dealing with corruption in business and government, and famously ending the career of home secretary Reginald Maudling after uncovering his links with architect John Poulson.
He also covered the slaughter in East Pakistan which led to the birth of Bangladesh and, as head of current affairs at Granada, commissioned a series of documentaries on the Birmingham pub bombings which exposed one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

Later, he formed his own production company and became a founding member of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He also chaired the Nations and Regions Media Conference for several years and became a visiting professor at the University of Salford.
The award will be launched at the conference on Tuesday March 28 by Ray’s former World In Action colleague Paul Greengrass, who went on to direct Hollywood hits.
He said: "This is an important award, celebrating the very best of investigative journalism as a time when communities across the UK are fragmenting and fake news is growing rapidly. I’m pleased to be launching the award in Ray’s memory."

The first award will be made at 2018’s conference, with the winner being offered access to significant mentoring in addition to the cash prize which must be spent partly on carrying out future investigations.

A panel of distinguished journalists and programme makers, including ITV’s controller of current affairs Tom Giles and Channel 4’s head of news and current affairs Dorothy Byrne, will take part in the launch event and act as judges for submissions which will be accepted from September onwards.

The prize, which will be announced every year for the next five years, has been sponsored by the University of Salford’s School of Arts and Media, Channel 4, ITV, and David and Elaine Potter from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Ray’s wife, Luise Fitzwalter, said: “Ray would be both amazed and slightly embarrassed about the idea but would totally approve.”

The University of Salford’s Beth Hewitt, Director of the Nations and Regions Media Conference, said:  “Ray's contribution to investigative journalism was exceptional, he stands as an inspirational figure for anyone working in this field – particularly in this era of fake news.
“Ray passionately believed in the power of journalism to expose the truth and this Award is a most fitting tribute to his remarkable career.”

The conference, now in its 23rd year and celebrating excellence in a climate of opportunity outside London, takes place from March 28-29 and includes a keynote speech from Ofcom chief executive Sharon White, speaking just days before the regulator takes over responsibility for holding the BBC to account.

Bob Shennan, the BBC’s newly appointed Director of Radio, will share his thoughts on the future of the format with Radio 5 Live breakfast presenter Rachel Burden, Line of Duty producer Simon Heath and Happy Valley producer Nicola Shindler will talk about the success of TV drama across the UK, and the makers of Channel 4’s Educating series will share some secrets of their success.

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