The Wincott Awards 2016

by Tony Major

The annual Wincott awards lunch was held in The Old Ballroom of The Mansion House in the City of London, in the presence of The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley. Following welcoming remarks from Dr Parmley and Wincott Foundation Chairman Sir Richard Lambert, Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems plc, addressed an audience comprising the award finalists and their guests and a number of business, media and public sector leaders. To read the text of Sir Roger’s speech, entitled: “Business, Society and the Role of the Media”, click here.

The winners were:

Wincott Financial Journalist of the Year – James Kynge, Financial Times

Elizabeth Wincott-Heckett and James Kynge

The judges said: “In a year when Brexit and Donald Trump dominated the news agenda, James Kynge continued his forensic and multi-faceted exposure of China’s economic vulnerabilities – from its failures with big projects in developing countries to the government’s clumsy blocking of foreign acquisitions and its relentless news management. ‘He altered my understanding of a hugely important part of the world,’ one judge said. Another praised his ‘high level vision’.”

Personal Finance Journalist of the Year – Merryn Somerset Webb, Financial Times

Merryn Somerset Webb

The judges said:”A previous winner of this award in 2008, Merryn Somerset Webb has become, as one judge put it, the ‘doyenne’ of UK personal finance journalism. Her weekly columns in the FT are essential reading for anyone concerned about house price trends, pension policy and, relentlessly, the fund management industry’s egregious charging practices. She also broke ranks with other FT commentators and endorsed Brexit.”

Young Financial Journalist of the Year – Mike Bird, The Wall Street Journal

Elizabeth Wincott-Heckett and Mike Bird

The judges said:”Judges were astonished by the calm authority and clarity of Mike Bird’s writing about capital markets. It would be difficult to better his succinct explanation of duration effects in government bonds. Undaunted by big-picture subjects, he tackled comprehensively the significance – or not – of sterling as a reserve currency, and his analysis in a podcast of the looming dangers of ETFs raised questions in a way which challenged his audience in the best possible manner.”

Wincott Audio Journalism of the Year – BBC Radio 4, In Business, Tax Transparency – The Norway Example

Elizabeth Wincott-Heckett, Jonty Bloom and Ruth Alexander

The judges said:”Judges were bemused that a 40-minute radio programme about the history of income tax disclosure policy in Norway had them gripped, not least as the practice has been in place since the Napoleonic Wars. So full credit to Jonty Bloom for taking an esoteric subject and making it work. In Norway everyone’s income tax returns, from the Prime Minister to the chairman of Norsk Hydro, is publicly available on the internet. Does this embarrass the high-paid into reducing their pay packets? Does it reduce corruption? Does it limit enterprise? Does it solve the problem of unequal pay between men and women? Jonty’s answers made us all think a bit harder.”

Wincott Video Journalism of the Year – Channel 4 News, “Zero Hours Britain”

Elizabeth Wincott-Heckett, Ciaran Jenkins and Andy Lee

The judges said:”The exposure of Sports Direct’s dodgy employment practices produced two Wincott award finalists for 2015. Channel 4 News went back to the subject last year, exposing similar practices at arch rival JD Sports, which had publicly insisted that it did not indulge in zero-hour contracts and agency-supplied workers. In a series of reports for a TV news programme which continues to make a unique contribution, Ciaran Jenkins provided a calm but insistent set of charges, underpinned in the closing item by leaked papers which forced the company’s non-executive directors to step into the story.”

Journalism of the Year in the UK Nations and Regions – Sion Barry, The Western Mail

Elizabeth Wincott-Heckett and Sion Barry

The judges said:”The judges particularly liked Barry’s coverage of the mooted Cardiff City Region metro, where he supplied news and information not available elsewhere and raised questions about the thinking behind the project. Along with other entries, Barry is on top of the many development issues arising on his patch and leads a team which provides information, insight and assessment upon which thriving regional economies depend.”

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