The lecture followed the presentation of the annual Charles Wheeler Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcast Journalism to Jon Snow, the distinguished reporter and presenter of Channel 4 News. Robert Peston described him as “along with Paxman… the most effective news interviewer of his generation.”
Robert Peston asked whether it was really “The most exciting time to be a journalist since the advent of television”. He discussed threats to serious journalism from online news sources, the rise of adverts disguised as stories, and most of all from the increasing power of PR companies in shaping the news agenda. While he found the diversity of news-media models a reason to remain optimistic, he did wonder whether “the [Charles] Wheelers and [Jon] Snows of this world aren’t an increasingly endangered species.”
The award is determined by the British Journalism Review and was established in 2009 to celebrate the career and achievements of legendary BBC journalist Charles Wheeler. Previous speakers have been Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger; Mayor of London Boris Johnson; former director of communications in the Blair government, Alastair Campbell; the then BBC Director General, Mark Thompson; and the shadow minister for culture media and sport, the Rt Hon Harriet Harman.
This is the 6th year that the University of Westminster has hosted the prestigious lecture and awards ceremony. The University of Westminster’s continuing association with this high-profile award underlines the expertise we offer in the fields of media and journalism.
The University offers a number of journalism courses, including: