British Broadcasters and media organisations have come together to launch a scholarship for young journalists to celebrate the life of Steve Hewlett.
Steve, who died last week, inspired the nation with his candid accounts of his disease, treatment and heroic battle against cancer charted through his columns in The Observer and brilliant interviews with Eddie Mair on BBC Radio Four.
The Steve Hewlett Scholarship was announced last night at the Royal Television Society’s Television Journalism Awards where Steve’s sons received the Judges Award, recognising his lifetime of broadcast journalism including his work in the past year.
The scholarship is an initiative by the RTS and The Media Society and will be presented each year to one recipient from a lower income family studying an undergraduate broadcast journalism course in the UK.
The scholarship will be funded on a long term basis as part of the RTS’ annual Undergraduate Bursary scheme, which guarantees a scholarship of £1,000 each year but in addition The Media Society will lead a major fund-raising appeal later this year with the ambition of doubling that award so that the recipient receives £2,000 per year, as well as access to mentoring from RTS members and Steve’s former colleagues and peers.
Organisations already backing The Media Society’s initiative and committing to support it include: BBC Radio Four, Brunel University, Channel 4, Google UK, ITN, ITV, Sky News, The London Press Club, Women in Journalism; and individuals including: Trevor Phillips OBE, Roger Bolton, Peter Taylor, Fiona Chesterton and the former CEO of News and Regions at ITV and now Chair of the Disasters Emergency Committee Clive Jones CBE, who chairs the appeal.
Clive said as he announced the appeal: “Steve was a broadcasting polymath: a brilliant reporter, editor, commissioner, director of programmes, senior executive and presenter. He was also the kindest of men with a wicked chuckle and a joyous sense of humour. He was always willing to give his time to young people just starting out in the industry. This prize will hopefully unearth a worthy successor to this wonderfully talented journalist and programme maker.
“We are delighted so many broadcasters and groups have already backed the fund and we are hoping many others will join us in celebrating the life and work of this great British talent.”
Theresa Wise, Chief Executive of the RTS, said: “By working together on this scholarship, the RTS can guarantee the long-term funding and the Media Society can allow organisations and individuals to contribute. In his journalism Steve was always committed to bringing on the next generation – especially those from less affluent circumstances – and he was especially pleased when we were able to tell him some of the details of the scholarship. We are also delighted that Steve’s wife, Rachel, will be involved in helping to select the recipient.”