Hugh Pym has won the 2020 Charles Wheeler Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcast Journalism, which is now in its 12th year. This year an online award ceremony will be held on 16 November where Sir Peter Bazalgette will give the keynote speech.
The award ceremony is traditionally held in June at the University of Westminster’s Regent Street Cinema. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event has been delayed and will be held online. Invitations with further information will be sent out next week.
Hugh Pym is the BBC’s Health editor, and has become a familiar face and voice of authority during the pandemic. He began his journalism career in radio before moving to Channel 4 as a producer of Business Daily and then spent 10 years as an ITN correspondent. After a short stint at Sky News, he joined the BBC in 2001 and rose to become Chief Economics Correspondent and then acting Economics Editor. He was appointed as Health Editor in 2014.
Hugh’s ability to explain some of the complex causes of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as his commentary on scientific evidence and government responses has been one of the defining features of news coverage over the last six months, at a time that BBC news audiences have risen to record levels. He has co-authored two books, on the Credit Crunch and on Gordon Brown’s first year as Chancellor, and his latest book Inside the Banking Crisis was published by Bloomsbury in 2014.
This year’s keynote speaker Sir Peter Bazalgette is chairman of ITV and former President of the Royal Television Society. He started a 40-year career in the media as a BBC News Trainee, before founding his own production company and creating such TV hits as Ready, Steady Cook, Changing Rooms and Ground Force. He became chairman of Endemol in 2005, where he was responsible for turning shows like Big Brother and Deal or No Deal into worldwide successes. He was chairman of Arts Council England from 2013 to 2017 and has been ITV chairman since May 2016. He has fellowships from BAFTA and the RTS, has chaired both the Holocaust Memorial Foundation and English National Opera, and is the author of several books including Billion Dollar Game and The Empathy Instinct.
The Charles Wheeler Award, a collaboration between British Journalism Review and the University of Westminster, started in 2009 when the inaugural winner was Jeremy Paxman. It is presented each year by members of the Wheeler family.