Internationally acclaimed journalists, publishers and political commentators gathered in London for the inaugural Sir Harry Evans Global Summit in Investigative Journalism.
The event, held at the Royal Institute of British Architects on Wednesday 10 May, was established from the Sir Harry Evans Memorial Fund, a landmark partnership between Sir Harry’s widow Tina Brown CBE and her family, Reuters and Durham University.
The Fund was launched in honour of Sir Harry, a Durham alumnus who was famous for his fearless campaigning as editor of The Times and Sunday Times.
He campaigned tirelessly for compensation for victims of the Thalidomide drug, exposed the cover-up of Soviet spy Kim Philby and was voted by his peers as the greatest newspaper editor of all time in 2002. Sir Harry died in 2020, aged 92.
The Global Summit’s theme was ‘Truth Tellers’ and it brought together more than 400 reporters, broadcasters, editors, media leaders, and cultural and political influencers.
Speakers included American reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who famously exposed the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.
In a rare public appearance, they spoke of the importance of dogged truth-telling and fearless reporting, in the vein of Sir Harry himself.
Other reporters speaking at the event included Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez who risks her life to report on drug trafficking, slave labour, sexual exploitation and government corruption.
She spoke passionately about the damage that drug cartels are inflicting in Mexico and described how her fight to expose them has endangered herself and her loved ones.
John Poulos, CEO of Dominion Voting Systems also spoke at the summit, fresh from winning a record-breaking £634m settlement in a defamation lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.
Meanwhile, journalists from outlets including the BBC, Sky News and The New York Times discussed matters as wide-ranging as the future of the media, combatting social media disinformation and the challenges of reporting in warzones.
The Global Summit was hosted by Tina Brown, Reuters editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni and our Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen O’Brien.
In her address, Professor O’Brien explained the Fellowship's aim is to create a network of fellows who over the years will support each other and share their experiences.
Professor O'Brien said: “We are so delighted to play a part in this Global Summit to affirm the special partnership between investigative journalism and universities, and to celebrate our shared commitment to evidence gathering and free inquiry.
“The values that Sir Harry Evans embodied continue to inspire students and staff and are as urgently relevant as ever.”
The Summit heard from journalist Waylon Cunningham, from Texas, USA, who is the first recipient of the Sir Harry Evans Global Fellowship.
Mr Cunningham spent time at our South College while being supported by our Institute of Advanced Study during his six-month fellowship.
He told the summit how even as a teenager he had a thirst for holding power to account and exposing corruption.
He said that he has learned 'a great many things' from working in the Reuters newsroom throughout the Fellowship.
Mr Cunningham added: "My hope is that I'm able to take back to Texas a little bit of Harry."
The next Fellowship opportunity was also launched at the Summit.
More details on how to apply will be published shortly.
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Durham University Vice-Chancellor Karen O'Brien
Truth to Power discussion panel chaired by the BBC's Amol Rajan
The Weaponizing Media discussion panel chaired by broadcaster Andrew Marr
Sky News Alex Crawford interviews journalist Anabel Hernandez
Editor and author Tina Brown interviews Barry Diller, Chairman of IAC and Expedia Group
Behind the scenes at the Sir Harry Evans Global Summit
Truth to Power panel onstage chaired by Amol Rajan
Reuters editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni with Andrees Latif, enterprise editor, Reuters Pictures, with one of his photographs displayed on the big screen
Daniel Hodgson and Emily Doughty, editors of Durham University's student newspaper, Palatinate, at the Reuters photojournalism gallery at the Summit
The Running Through Walls discussion panel chaired by David Walmsley, editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail
Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad who helped spark protests against the Iranian regime
Broadcaster Andrew Marr with Russian investigative journalist Maria Pevchikh
Behind the scenes at the Sir Harry Evans Global Summit in Investigative Journalism
Iran's War on Journalists panel with reporters Masih Alinejad and Paul Caruana Galizia, chaired by BBC international correspondent Yalda Hakim
American reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward who broke the Watergate scandal in the 1970s
Waylon Cunningham, the first recipient of the Sir Harry Evans Global Fellowship in Investigative Journalism