The Harold Wincott Awards for Financial Journalism in 2018
30 May, 2019 - Ed Conway, Sky News Economics Editor and a columnist with The Times, was named Journalist of the Year at the Harold Wincott Awards ceremony on May 30 in London. He headed a field of nearly 30 entries in this category from 15 media organisations - print, broadcast and online.
The judges said he generated the highest quality work across all forms of media and presented "a terrific portfolio". It included columns for The Times on the economic significance of 'Love Island' and on British workers' surprisingly short working week. For Sky, he uncovered five separate housing crises in the UK and presented a beautifully made documentary, 'In Too Deep', on the economics of the oceans.
Other finalists for this top award for business, economic and financial journalism were Siobhan Kennedy, Channel 4 News Business Editor, and Juliet Samuel, columnist with The Telegraph. Kennedy broke - on Twitter - news of the UK government granting a Brexit ferry contract to a company with no ferries. Samuel sought out subjects that were important but not obvious, presenting strong arguments in elegant style.
Altogether the Wincott Awards for 2018 attracted more than 90 entries from nearly 30 publications and channels, reflecting the diversity of news and analysis reaching UK audiences. The awards ceremony, supported by the City of London Corporation, was held at the Mansion House.
The award for Video Journalism of the Year was split between national television documentaries covering two of the UK's most notorious financial dramas. 'The Bank that Almost Broke Britain', an STV production for BBC2, presented an authoritative account, immaculately produced, of Royal Bank of Scotland's catastrophic role in the 2008 financial crisis. The team was led by director Leo Burley, with Lotte Murphy-Johnson, Michael McAvoy and Stephen McGinty as producers and Tony Robinson as editor. For Channel 4, the Dispatches programme, 'The Carillion Scandal - How to Lose Seven Billion Pounds', was created within months of the company's collapse. Presenter Liam Halligan, working with Nick Tanner, Alice McShane, Eamonn Matthews, Louisa Compton and Adam Vandermark, produced an incisive account of failures in corporate governance, regulation and implementation of public policy. Also making the final shortlist was the BBC Panorama programme, 'Trapped by my Mortgage', made by Cat McShane, Andy Verity, Mark Turner and Andrew Head.
In the Personal Finance category, Claer Barrett, FT Money Editor, topped a large and highly competitive field, with Victoria Bischoff, the campaigning Money Mail Editor, and Dean Sobers, insurance writer for Which?, as the other finalists. Barrett's impressive range of work included the difficulty of transferring pension savings and the "modern-day bank robbery" of automated push payments.
The contest for Young Financial Journalist of the Year demonstrated the changing ways in which journalists are developing their careers in a digital world . The winner, Eshe Nelson, works for Quartz, the online-only business and economics publication. Her ambitious series, Remaking Economics, explored the way the subject is taught, the rebuilding of macroeconomics post-crash and the discipline's lack of diversity. The other two finalists exemplified both the rise of the financial data correspondent - Ritvik Carvalho, Reuters - and traditional scoop getting - Joe Mayes, Bloomberg.
Freelance journalist Lesley Curwen led the winning team in the Audio Journalism category with 'The Transparency Detectives' for the BBC's In Business series and a follow-up for Money Box Live. Her Radio 4 colleagues in this exposé of the hidden fees paid by savers and investors were editor Penny Murphy and producers Rosamund Jones and Alex Lewis. Financial Times journalists Aimee Keane, Arash Massoudi and Richard Waters made the shortlist with 'Behind the Money' podcasts; and BBC Radio 4 had another finalist in 'The Equity Release Trap', produced by Howard Mustoe, Marie Keyworth and Andrew Smith.
Alistair Houghton, executive business editor at the Liverpool Echo, was named Journalist of the Year in the UK Nations and Regions. The judges said he was exactly what a top regional journalist should be, digging deep into the city's most important business stories and drawing in the general reader with impressive use of the Echo's multi-media platform. The other finalists were John Campbell, BBC Northern Ireland, with a beautifully made programme on Derry, and Sarah Corker, BBC North, who brought to life the regional implications of Brexit.
Lifetime Achievement Award for Michael Robinson
In exceptional cases, the Harold Wincott Awards also recognise life-time achievement in financial journalism. On this occasion, Michael Robinson was honoured for his four decades of programme making for the BBC. The citation reads as follows:
"Michael began his career with the BBC on Radio 4's pioneering Money Box programme. He won the first of many Wincott Awards in 1994 with 'The Giant Awakes', for BBC2's The Money Programme, examining China's emergence as a global trading nation. In the run-up to the financial crisis, he saw that 'mortgage madness' was inflating both house prices and bank debt. Post-crisis he followed the recession's trail with award-winning series for the World Service. He has prompted regulatory action on energy prices and exposed corporate tax avoidance. Over four decades, Michael's career has exemplified The Wincott Foundation's mission: to improve the public's understanding of business, economics and finance."
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