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Picture of Waylon Cunningham standing at Durham Castle College

We’re pleased to welcome Waylon Cunningham to Durham as the first recipient of a prestigious new fellowship in investigative journalism.

Waylon has travelled almost 5,000 miles from San Antonio, Texas, USA, to take up the Sir Harry Evans Global Fellowship in Investigative Journalism following a rigorous selection process.

The Fellowship will see Waylon benefit from academic support from our Institute of Advanced Study while pursuing an investigative reporting project from the Reuters newsroom in London.

Sir Harry’s legacy

The Fellowship was launched in honour of the late Sir Harry Evans who had a celebrated career in journalism and publishing after graduating from Durham in 1952.

Some of Sir Harry’s most notable achievements as editor of The Northern Echo newspaper in the 1960s included his campaign for the NHS to introduce free cervical smear tests for women and forcing Teesside chemical firms to clean up their air-polluting operations.

Sir Harry went on to edit The Sunday Times where he famously – and successfully - campaigned for compensation for victims of the Thalidomide drug.

He was knighted in 2004 for his services to British journalism and joined Reuters in 2011 as editor-at-large. He died in 2020, aged 92.

‘Walking with a spirit’

Waylon said he was “honoured” to win the Fellowship and to be visiting the Durham locations so special to Sir Harry during his time as an undergraduate at University College, located in Durham Castle on the City’s World Heritage Site.

Waylon said: “The Castle is absolutely beautiful, but I’ve heard that no matter where students end up in Durham, they end up loving their community and I can see that.

“Walking in the footsteps of Sir Harry Evans feels a bit strange because even though he is no longer with us, I feel as though I’ve spent a great deal of time with him these past few months.

“Not only by talking with his loved ones and confidants like Tina Brown, his widow, who is of course an extremely accomplished and legendary magazine editor herself, but also people like his photographer Ian Wright who worked alongside him for so many years.

“Talking with those folks and reading Sir Harry’s many books, soaking up the wisdom he put on paper and literally tracing his footsteps in Durham where he spent so much time as a young man, it’s been in some sense like walking with a spirit.

“But in a more literal sense it’s just been an honour to know that this opportunity is a way to extend the legacy of this great man.”

Waylon said the Fellowship represents a “unique opportunity” to help him hone his skills, adding: “It’s not every day that you get the kind of mentorship, resources and time that Reuters and Durham University can offer.”

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