The Wincott Foundation seeks to contribute to the better understanding of economic issues, principally by supporting and encouraging high-quality economic, financial and business journalism, in the UK and internationally. The Foundation believes that the media – print, broadcast and on-line – have an important role to play in reporting, explaining and commenting on economic and business developments. Accurate, objective and well-informed economic reporting and analysis in the media are essential ingredients of a well-functioning market economy.
The Foundation was set up in 1969 in honour of Harold Wincott, the most distinguished economic journalist of his day. The current chairman is Lionel Barber, a former editor of the Financial Times. Lionel is supported by a group of trustees who have backgrounds in business, journalism and academia.
The Foundation’s best-known activity is the annual presentation of awards for outstanding achievement in economic and financial journalism to journalists and media organisations aimed primarily at UK audiences. These awards cover print, broadcast and on-line journalism.
Since 1970, the Foundation has organised an annual Wincott Foundation lecture, usually given by a distinguished economist or policy-maker. Past lecturers have included Milton Friedman, James Meade, F.A.Hayek, Lionel Robbins, George Stigler, Samuel Brittan, Jagdish Bhagwati, Rajhuram Rajan and Luigi Zingales.
Starting in 1995, the Wincott Foundation sponsored a fellowship programme through which selected economic journalists from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union were invited to spend a term at Oxford University under the auspices of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. In 2015, the programme was redirected towards African journalists. In addition to attending lectures and seminars at Oxford, both journalism-related and on other themes, the Wincott fellows undertake a research project of their own, usually on a topic related to the economic situation in their country.
In 2012, the Foundation established a one-year postgraduate scholarship in business and economics journalism at the Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies open to candidates throughout the European Union.