JAMES Harding, the new director of news and current affairs at the BBC, is the guest speaker at the Journalists’ Charity’s summer lunch in London on Tuesday, July 2. Mr Harding, above, who in 2007 became one of the youngest editors of The Times, resigned last December because “it became clear that News International wanted to appoint a new editor”.
The Times won the newspaper of the year award under his editorship in 2008 and in 2012. He takes up his new role at the BBC in August. “This is a great coup for us,” said Charity chairman Laurie Upshon. “James must surely be the media industry’s man of the moment, taking charge of BBC News at one of its greatest periods of change. “He also led The Times through one of the most tumultuous times in newspaper history.”
Please click on forthcoming events to find out how to book your tickets or tables.
David Dinsmore has stepped down as chairman of the Glasgow and West of Scotland branch of The Journalists’ Charity following an outstandingly successful five years at the helm. David was editor of the Scottish Sun when he took over the reins of the branch and continued as chairman after his appointment as General Manager of News International (Scotland).
Under David’s chairmanship, the Glasgow and West of Scotland branch raised more than £155,000 for the charity and attracted leading figures in public life, including the Prime Minister, to speak at events.
Laurie Upshon, Chairman , Journalists’ Charity Council, said: “By any yardstick, David Dinsmore’s contribution to the charity has been immense. His term of office was one of the longest and throughout he was dedicated and unfailingly enthusiastic in his approach to the role. The Glasgow and West of Scotland branch has a proud record in terms of fundraising. Moreover, the charity’s team in Glasgow do an enormous amount of work helping those who need assistance and in many ways they are the unsung heroes of the charity’s operations in Scotland. We wish David all the best in his new role as Director of Operations at News International in London.”
More than 220 people attended the Journalists’ Charity Scottish Ball which was held in the Glasgow Hilton on Saturday March 2. The main sponsor was Camelot and BT sponsored the band ‘Amplifive’ which provided the night’s entertainment. The Ball raised more than £17,000 for the journalists’ charity. The total raised was around £6,000 more than the event raised last year.
Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell, was honoured by the Journalists’ Charity at the 2012 Press Awards for his outstanding contribution to journalism. The presentation of the charity’s Special Award was made by Cheryl Douglas, head of news at sponsors Gorkana, on March 7 at the Lancaster Hotel in London – the annual awards event organised by the Society under Bob’s direction!
Announcing the winner of the coveted annual award, made to an individual or body that has made an outstanding contribution to journalism and journalists in any way, former Journalists’ Charity chairman Bill Hagerty said: “Bob is involved in every move and shake made by the movers and shakers currently faced with guiding the newspaper industry through troubled times, and is print journalism’s voice and, often, face on the broadcast media, publicly spearheading the battle to retain a free press. Everybody in this room owes him a great deal.”
In response, the former Cambridge Evening News editor, dedicated the award to the Society and the greater issue of securing greater press freedom. Addressing the audience of more than 400 key figures from the media industry, Satchwell praised the work of the Journalists’ Charity and said that the evening honoured the real culture, practice and ethics of Britain’s national press. He added:: “The Journalists’ Charity holds a great place in my heart and as long as journalists remain outrageous and cause trouble when trouble deserves to be caused, I will stand up and fight the cause of you having the freedom to do that.”
This is the second time that I find myself trying to follow an impossible act as far as the Charity is concerned. First of all when I took over the chair four years ago of the Midlands District from the indefatigable and unique Gerry Armes . Now I have follow in the footsteps of Bill Hagerty, Chairman of the Trustees for the last two years, who has worked with such passion to raise the Charity’s profile – in particular with the highly successful “Olympian” lunch in London in May. Bill has left the charity in great shape in difficult times. But those times are going to get much more difficult.
There seems to be no good news for the UK economy on the near horizon. The traditional media industry is shrinking and we read almost daily about more journalists losing their jobs, with little prospect of finding new work. Increasingly they are turning to us for help. Our investments are performing as well as we could hope for in the stagnant financial markets, but there is little real growth. Our corporate benefactors, who have given so generously for any years, are also tightening their belts as revenue shrinks. All of this at a time when the reputation of our trade, craft, profession – or whatever we care to call it – makes asking for money almost an embarrassing task.
Despite this I take on the challenge in an optimistic mood. Sure, we will have to work harder to find new sources of funding. We will use the months leading up to our 150th anniversary in 2014 to renew our recruitment drive, make new friends and enrol more sponsors. Already we have put in the groundwork to launch a district in Wales and there is also keen interest in Northern Ireland, with the hope that these will add to the excellent work carried out in Scotland and the Midlands over many years. We will call on our network of industry contacts to make more people aware about the charity, what it does, how it can help journalists in need – and how journalists can help their colleagues who have fallen on hard times.
It will be hard work and I will have to rely on the magnificent support of my fellow Trustees, our dedicated staff in Dorking who run the head office and the homes, and all those around the country who give so much time and effort. But it is so worthwhile. We receive many emotional thank you letters from those who have asked us for help when there seems to be no else they can turn to.
On the Saturday before Christmas, our caseworker Jean Lyszyk and I received an email from one of those people. This is a short quote from it:
“I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity of spirit this year. It’s because of you that we will have a Christmas that will be a hundred times better than that of 2011.”
While, naturally, the main public focus of the charity’s work is on our homes, the writer was just one of around 400 people who received financial help from the charity in the last 12 months to help them in times of need. And that is why the work that we do now and in the future is as important as it was when we were established nearly 150 years ago.
Laurie Upshon, 2013
British journalists’ resilience will see them through a ‘tarnished’ year
An exclusive Christmas poem written by the broadcaster and former Independent MP Martin Bell – and a star appearance by the BBC presenter Kate Silverton and her baby daughter – were two of the highlights of the Journalists’ Charity’s annual Christmas carol concert.
St Bride’s Church, just off Fleet Street, was packed for one of the charity’s most popular social events (17.12.2012) which once again was hosted by the communications consultancy Luther Pendragon. Continue reading “Journalists’ Carol Service at St Bride’s” »
By Martin Bell
This Christmas Carol was written for the Journalists’ Carol Concert at St Bride’s Church on 17th December, and was read out at the concert by Bill Hagerty.
To bloggers, blaggers and to hackers
And all who work with pen and quill
To Mr Assange and his backers,
We wish all Christmas-tide goodwill
Continue reading “A Christmas Carol for the Journalists’ Charity” »
While many journalists were understandably fearful that the outcome of the Leveson Inquiry might be used as “payback time” by politicians, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg struck a helpful note at the Journalists’ Charity’s annual reception at the Embassy of Ireland (7.11.2012).
In thanking him for his support, the charity’s chairman Bill Hagerty said Mr Clegg was the first journalist turned politician to become Deputy Prime Minister and it was gratifying to hear him sounding positive about his former profession.
Mr Clegg was warmly welcomed by the Ambassador of Ireland Mr Bobby McDonagh who said a meeting later in the week in Dublin (9.11.2012) between the Deputy Prime Minister and his opposite number was a further illustration of the close relationship between the British and Irish governments.
But pleasantries aside there was no hiding the reality of the moment: journalism was at crossroads and, as the chairman remarked, journalists were not all sleeping easily as the Leveson Report loomed. Mr Clegg said he recognised it was a time of heightened interest in the interaction between the press and society in the wake of recent scandals which had shaken politics and the news media.
There was “a lot of fear” among journalists as to what the politicians would do and a suspicion that Parliament would think this was “payback time.” But once Lord Justice Leveson had delivered his recommendations, Mr Clegg was confident that politicians from all sides would engage in a proper debate on how to protect press freedom.
The challenge was to strike the right balance between defending the integrity of the most “raucous and innovative” press anywhere in the world and protecting the vulnerable who had been “badly smashed up” in recent years. “I think we can get that balance right.”
Mr Clegg said the work of the Journalists’ Charity was a useful correction to the stereo type of journalists as “lone hacks hunting your prey with single minded professionalism”; that you did it alone; and that journalism was “a loner’s vocation.”
An event like the Journalists’ Charity’s reception at the Embassy of Ireland showed that perception was far from correct. “You see yourselves as part of a family…If you fall on hard times, you do need help from other members of the family and the fact you help two thousand deserving recipients…is a great display of compassion in an industry, which like politics, is not always known for its compassion.”
He wished the family of the Journalists’ Charity was even larger: only one in twenty journalists was signed up and he hoped events organised through the generosity of the Irish Ambassador would send out a signal that this was a worthwhile cause well worth supporting.
News bulletins and newspaper front pages had been dominated all day with reports of President Obama’s re-election as US President and the Deputy Prime Minister turned the headlines to his advantage.
“Today is all about one of the great politicians of our era, someone who started from humble beginnings and rose up through the power of oratory and brings star dust to celebrity politics…of course I am talking about Nadine Dorries.”
His swipe at the Conservative MP aiming for a star role in I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, was followed by a jab at the Prime Minister’s embarrassment over Rebekah Brooks’ text message in which she said she had “cried twice” after hearing David Cameron’s speech at the Conservative Party’s annual conference.
Looking around at the assembled guests at the end of his speech, Mr Clegg could not resist his pay off line: “I see no one has cried, not even twice…may be you can send me a text about that.”
In his welcome to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr McDonagh recalled his own visit to the Liberal Democrats’ annual conference in Brighton in September where he had found the party “much more upbeat” than the media suggested.
Mr Clegg’s visit to the Embassy as guest of the Journalists’ Charity and his meeting in Dublin the following Friday were all part of the commitment of the British and Irish governments to progress their shared agenda. In a further development the top civil servants of the two countries would be meeting in London for their first meeting since the two Prime Minister signed their joint statement the previous year.
Journalism was one strong expression of the evolving cultural relationship between the two islands. Their news media had close links and “many of the best known names in British journalism have an Irish background.”
In his thank you to Mr Clegg for supporting the charity, Mr Hagerty reminded the assembled guests of the Deputy Prime Minister’s journalistic background. In 1993 he was the first recipient of the Financial Times’ David Thomas Prize; later Mr Clegg was posted to Hungary where he wrote about mass privatisation in the former Communist bloc; and after his election as a Member of the European Parliament, Mr Clegg wrote a fortnightly column for Guardian Unlimited.
Although he was the first journalist turned politician to become a Deputy Prime Minister, if he became Prime Minister he would then be “joining an illustrious group of former members of our trade.”
Mr Hagerty said he could not overlook the fact that Mr Clegg had one special claim to fame. “He is certainly the first Deputy Prime Minister to go down in pop music history, which he did when in September the song, Nick Clegg Says I’m Sorry, charted at number 143 on the Official UK Singles Charts before climbing to 104 the following week. Too early, I suggest – a couple of months later and he might have had the Christmas number one.”
Sir Michael Parkinson, one of Britain’s most loved broadcasters, topped the bill at the Botanical Gardens,Birmingham, to help raise money for the Journalists’ Charity.
As special guest at the charity’s annual fund-raising lunch in the Midlands, Sir Michael spoke of his favourite (and some more uncomfortable) encounters with the world’s most famous people.
He held an audience of 300 people spellbound as he and Nick Owen of BBC Midlands Today explored a career in journalism that began 60 years ago. Sir Michael’s only regret, he recalled, was that he never managed to secure an interview with Katherine Hepburn, one of his all-time favourite actresses.
The lunch, sponsored by top Midlands business entrepreneur Eamon Gaughan’s JEEG Global Group, has raised just over £15,000 for the charity.
“All charities are finding it difficult to raise funds at the moment,” said Midlands chairman Laurie Upshon, “And with recent headlines making uncomfortable reading for our trade, we have found it even more difficult.”
“But we have been given a massive boost. Sir Michael had the audience enthralled and we knew we would have a sell out from the moment he agreed to be our celebrity speaker.”
Several of the former top athletes attending the charity’s fundraising lunch, Journalism’s Salute to Olympians and Paralympians, commented that they had rarely been together in such numbers since retiring from competition. “Could be a record,” joked one gold medal-winner.
Held at Savoy Place on May 22, it was one of the most successful London events in the charity’s recent history.
Generous sponsorship from Google and Camelot – both avid supporters of the Journalists’ Charity – plus a highly successful raffle for a case of excellent claret, donated by Berry Bros & Rudd, meant a total of around £15,000 much-needed income was raised.
A glittering array of Olympic and Paralympic stars turned out to be honoured by journalists and their friends, including two distinguished former competitors who were the afternoon’s speakers: the Rt Hon Sir Menzies (Ming) Campbell, a sprinter who held the British record at 100 metres for seven years long before he led the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons, and Lord Colin Moynihan, a former Minister for Sport and now chairman of the British Olympic Association, a silver medallist at Moscow in 1980 as cox of Britain’s rowing eight.
Among many other former Olympians and Paralympians present were Sir Roger Bannister, the first man ever to run a sub-four-minute mile, David Wilkie, silver medallist in the 200 metres breaststroke at the Munich Olympics (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/1972_Summer_Olympics) in 1972 and winner of gold, setting a world record, in the same event at Montreal in 1956; David Bedford, former world record (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/World_record_progression_10,000_metres_men) holder at 10,000 metres and subsequently race director of the London Marathon; Jennifer Stoute, winner of an Olympic bronze as a member of the 4×400 metres British relay team at Barcelona in 1992, but perhaps best known as “Rebel” in the TV show, Gladiators; and Dr Richard Budgett, a member of the gold-winning British coxed fours at the 1984 Los Angeles Games (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/1984_Los_Angeles_Olympic_Games), who since then he’s been chief medical officer to the British team for three winter games, led the Team GB medical team at three summer Games and is CMO to the London 2012 games.
Duncan Goodhew, gold and bronze medals-winner in Moscow for the 100 metres breaststroke and 4×100 metres medley relay and former captain of the British swimming team, brought along to the lunch both his gold medal and a 2012 Olympic torch, which was fondled enviously by many of those present.
Jointly hosted by Anna Botting, Royal Television Society’s presenter of the year for her work at Sky News and a member of the charity’s council, and Sony Award-winning LBC broadcaster Nick Ferrari, the lunch also featured a response to the toast to Olympians and Paralympians by Lord Moynihan.,
Sir Menzies Campbell, who competed in both the 200 metres and the 4×400 metre relay at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, said life for competitors had changed beyond recognition since the day when the games were only for amateurs – in his day there were no nutritionists and his mother helped him prepare him for races with a meal of steak and three eggs, washed down with hot milk and brandy!
He spoke of the “shamateurism” that existed, particularly in the Soviet states where athletes were given high ranking army positions so that they could prepare train full time, and in the United States, where some colleges selected athletes without subjecting them to normal academic rigour. “It was virtually possible to study for a degree in long jumping,” he said, adding that he supported proper professionalism as it destroyed such artificial barriers between competitions.
But Sir Menzies criticised the decline in coverage of athletics in the national media and told a packed audience, “It would be good to see more regular coverage of sports that are not football.”