From London Press Club chairman Doug Wills
The hard news stories just keep rolling. This year had all of us on the edge of our seats and keyboards like seldom before.
From political meltdown over Brexit to nerve poison and cyber attacks in the murky world of espionage, the hunger for good reporting has been as voracious as ever.
London Press Club members marked the mood of hard news with two key awards this year.
The annual Londoner of the Year honour was awarded – posthumously for the first time – to PC Keith Palmer who was killed protecting Westminster. Police Commission Cressida Dick and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan received it on his behalf speaking also of the courage and importance of the media who covered from the front line the terror attacks on London.
Another first was the presentation of an inaugural Laureate of Journalism at the Press Club Ball to Paul Dacre for his outstanding 25 years as editor of the Daily Mall.
The Ball was a sell-out raising £20,000 for the Journalists’ Charity.
I hope you would agree that The Press Club successfully strived to reflect the mood of the industry.
The year began with a timely debate about equal opportunities and pay for women just as these issues at the BBC hit the front pages.
Other events ranged from a forum with industry leaders advising more than 100 media students, to the continuation of the popular “In Conversation” evenings. One of the most talked about of these was with Royals Correspondent and author Robert Jobson fresh from a tour with Prince Harry and Meghan, and Princess Diana’s head of security Ken Wharfe.
Other speaking events included with James Harding and Les Hinton.
Next year’s Press Club events promise to be also unmissable.
First dates for your diary are:
- George Osborne giving the Cudlipp Lecture on Thursday 7 March.
- Debate on “Can quality journalism survive in a world of fake news and social media”, Monday 11 February.
- Interviews and networking at the historic Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street on the second Tuesday of each month. No meeting in January so the next meeting will be on Tuesday 12 February when Dick Durham will be talking about his Fleet Street book “Guttersnipe!”