The Wincott Awards for 2019

by Tony Major

The annual Wincott awards for the best business, economic and financial journalism played out in an extraordinary way this year because of the coronavirus crisis. Entries closed before restrictive measures were imposed, and a total of 114 entries were received from more than 40 publications and channels. The judging took place at a virtual meeting in late March. The awards presentation lunch, due to take place at Mansion House in the City of London on 4 May, had to be cancelled. Trustees of The Wincott Foundation are considering how to celebrate the award winners and runners-up when that becomes possible.

The winners were…

Wincott Journalism of the Year and Video Journalism of the Year

‘Going for Broke’, episode 2 of ‘Inside Europe: Ten Years of Turmoil’, BBC Two, directed by Tania Rakhmanova and Tim Stirzaker, produced by Norma Percy, Lucy Hetherington, Max Stern and Nicholas de Taranto

The judges said: “When it came to sheer excellence, one entry to the prize lists stood out above the others in the judges’ minds. They were blown away by the BBC’s Inside Europe documentary – brilliantly researched and edited, extraordinary interviews, telling a vitally important story in an accessible, relevant and hugely intelligent fashion. Such was their enthusiasm that they decided – probably as a one-off – to give the award for Journalism of the Year to the winner of the Video category.

In a strong field for journalism of the year, the judges admired the sharp commentary of Patrick Hosking, Financial Editor of The Times. There was something Wincottian in his willingness to take on City grandees when criticism was merited. Henry Curr, Econnomics Editor of The Economist, also stood out. He asked the big questions about the global economy and answered them in a thoughtful and thought-provoking manner.”

The other entry in the video category that particularly impressed the judges was John Campbell’s coverage of the collapse of Wrightbus for BBC Northern Ireland. Known for its “Boris Buses”, introduced into the UK capital by the then mayor, Boris Johnson, Wrightbus became a story of business failure with political and ethical dimensions, which Campbell untangled in a balanced and informative way.

Personal Finance Journalist of the Year

Helen Knapman

The judges said:”The Sun’s Helen Knapman stood out for her clear and punchy writing about consumer affairs.

While each story had a vivid human interest angle, she also presented easy-to-use information about how readers could get help with their financial problems. She gives a swathe of the UK population access to important financial information.

Ben Wilkinson of The Daily Mail, was praised for his wide and well written coverage of personal finance issues such as pensions and insurance.

Young Journalist of the Year

Alice Fulwood

The judges said: “Alice Fulwood’s impressive body of work included an ambitious Masters of the Universe package on the automation of investment and an entertaining and incisive ‘letter’ to the chair of Wells Fargo bank about the vacant CEO job. She already exhibits a font of financial knowledge well beyond her years.

Two others stood out: Alex Janiaud of the Investors Chronicle was praised for his ability to read balance sheets, for instance in covering Aston Martin, and Liam Kelly of The Sunday Times exhibited great versatility in articles ranging from house-builders to refugee entrepreneurs.”

Journalism of the Year in the UK Nations and Regions

Sarah Corker

The judges said: “Sarah Corker, of BBC Look North, who was shortlisted last year, provided an excellent selection of video clips, including the collapse of British Steel, the economic impact of offshore wind farms and problems with salary rules for post-Brexit immigration. She is absolutely on top of her brief.

The judges also liked the BusinessLive initiative, edited by Alistair Houghton (winner of the award for 2018), which was launched last year by the publisher Reach plc. This brings together and showcases business coverage from different regions of the UK.”

Audio Journalism of the Year

Gautam Naik

The judges said:” The ESG Insider podcasts were highly topical in their focus on environmental, social and governance issues. Gautam Naik’s investigations uncovered child labour abuses and other problems with working conditions in far-flung parts of business supply chains. He dug deep into both the human story and the reputational risks to big companies.

Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money programme was praised for the calibre of its presenters – Sean Farrington and Louise Cooper – and guests, as well as its appropriate style. Kafui Okpattah also attracted the judges’ attention with an investigation for BBC Radio 4 Money Box of teenagers being lured into money-laundering scams.”

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