A memorial fund has been set up in memory of Steve Hewlett to encourage young people from low income households into journalism. The Steve Hewlett Memorial Fund – backed by an appeal organised by the Royal Television Society, Media Society and supported by the London Press Club – will be officially launched this afternoon on Radio Four’s PM programme with Eddie Mair whose searing interviews with Steve throughout his battle with cancer engaged the nation’s interest in his terminal illness and brought the broadcaster to a larger public audience.
Steve’s three sons, Freddie, Billy and Bertie – who appeared on PM while Steve was receiving cancer treatment to talk about how the family was coping with his illness – will be back on Eddie’s programme today to officially launch the fund in their father’s memory.
They said: “We are so proud to launch this scholarship in dad’s name. He knew about it before he died and was involved in the early planning of how it would operate and the young people from lower income families it will help into journalism.”
The fund will provide a scholarship initiative for young people along with other associated activities to support Steve’s legacy.
Steve will also be remembered through an annual memorial lecture, the first of which will be given by his friend Nick Robinson of the Today Programme on 28 September at the University of Westminster.
Steve presented the BBC’s Media Show and was a programme maker and former television executive, known for his scoops, dogged journalism, rumpled good humour and his endless willingness to mentor new entrants into radio and television journalism.
A former editor of Panorama – when it secured its amazing exclusive interview with Princess Diana – Steve was the journalist who broke the story of the closure of the News of the World.
Clive Jones, who chairs the appeal and appointed Steve to be Director of Programmes when he was CEO of Carlton Television, said: “These scholarships will be a worthy memorial to a brilliant, inspirational journalist that so many of us were proud to work with and call a friend.”
Doug Wills, chairman of London Press Club – which has made a donation to the fund – said: “As a Club we are proud to be able to support this appeal. I hope that Press Club members will contribute to the fund themselves or find ways of supporting it.
“Steve was a great supporter as well as a significant figure in so many aspects of our industry. He chaired a number of the Press Club debates as well as panels and interviews with the Society of Editors.
“Steve had an ability to tease and talk the best out of people. It is fitting that in his memory this fund will help bring on young journalists. Steve is a perfect role model.”
Theresa Wise, Chief Executive of the RTS, said: “Steve was a vehement campaigner for improving access to the media industry for those with geographically diverse and low income backgrounds so the fund offers a great way to celebrate his life and support his legacy.”
The Hewlett Scholarship will be presented each year to one recipient from a lower income family studying an undergraduate broadcast journalism course in the UK. The recipient will receive £2,000 per year for three years to fund their living expenses, as well as membership of the RTS and affiliate Hospital Club membership while studying. They will also receive mentoring from industry professionals to help them make the strongest possible start to their career.
Organisations and individuals already backing the initiative and committing funds to the appeal include: the BBC, Brunel University, Channel Four, Directors Cut Films, Google UK, ITN, ITV, Sky News, Women in Journalism, Alex Graham, the chairman of the Scott Trust, and Peter Taylor OBE.
Anyone wishing to can make donations to the Steve Hewlett Scholarship Fund or can donate through the bank account number 32510047 with the sort code 60-40-04.