Diversity celebrated at 30 To Watch Awards

Adam Batstone

The best young journalists in Britain gathered in London last night for the 2019 30 To Watch: Young Journalist Awards. Judged by their peers and recognised by leading industry figures. The diverse mix of talent and backgrounds among the winners sent a positive message about the strength of the UK media.

30 To Watch: Young Journalist Awards 2019 brochure

This is the eighth year that Engine MHP has organised the 30 To Watch awards – now established in the media calendar as a benchmark of quality for the country’s top young talent. 2019 was a record year; more entries than ever before, more titles represented and more articles submitted for review – truly a mammoth task for our judges.

Last night, we also revealed the eight Gold Award Winners in the eight different categories: the journalists who stood out for the quality of their work and the initiative they showed in breaking new ground and new stories:

Gold Winners

The event was hosted by BBC News presenter Tina Daheley, well known from Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show. She said:

“In journalism focusing on the negatives goes with the territory so I’m delighted to celebrate the positives – you and your remarkable achievements.

“You and the stories that you’re telling are proof that we are making progress and things are changing. I didn’t think I could be a journalist because I didn’t see anyone who looked like me – but we see now is that is changing.”

Our newsrooms won't thrive until they start looking more like our readers.

The awards, held last night at the headquarters of News UK, in London, were attended by the 30 winners and senior figures in British journalism including Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror editor Lloyd Embley, Sun Political editor Tom Newton Dunn and deputy editor of The Times, Emma Tucker.

The keynote speech was made by Tony Gallagher, editor-in-chief of The Sun and former editor of The Daily Telegraph. He echoed Tina’s message about the importance of diversity.”

“Our newsrooms won’t thrive until they start looking more like our readers.”

It was a view shared by his rival tabloid editor Lloyd Embley, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror . He said the rapid changes facing the newspaper industry in particular mean there are more opportunities than ever before.

“I passionately believe our industry has a great future and it’s young journalists who will make that happen. I am grateful that MHP is backing young journalists and giving them the credit they deserve.”

Entries came from young journalists working for a wide variety of titles both in the UK and abroad, from global media giants like CNN, the BBC and The Economist, to more niche specialist and local titles including and the Yellow Advertiser newspaper, in Southend-on-Sea.

Subjects covered range from the Ouigha refugee crises in China to the latest trends in nail polish; a thorough expose of local government corruption to agenda-setting scoops from Westminster.

Entrants lifted the lid on a historic child sex abuse ring in Telford, secured the first interview with the victim of the Duke of Edinburgh’s road accident and exposed the Government’s shambolic efforts to lay on additional cross Channel shipping capacity.

The gold award winner in the News category, Geraldine McKelvie of the Sunday Mirror, said:

“I spent months investigating a horrendous case of child sex abuse in Telford. I’m proud of what we did and it’s fantastic to get this award for doing it.”

Ian Kirby, head of MHP’s Strategic Media Unit, said:

“30 To Watch goes from strength to strength. It’s fantastic to see such a brilliant and diverse group of young journalists getting the recognition they deserve.”

This year the external judging panel included four former Gold award winners who have gone on to make successful media careers. Peter Campbell, Motor Industry Correspondent with the Financial Times, Tolani Shoneye, host of The Receipts podcast, Finola Miles, senior producer with ITV News and John Stevens, Deputy Political Editor of The Daily Mail.

They were helped by Angus MacSwan, senior desk editor for Reuters, Debbie Ramsay, editor of Radio One Newsbeat, Jo Willey, freelance health journalist and Liam Kennedy editor of Investment and Pensions Europe.

MHP 30 To Watch: Young Journalist Awards 2019 – Winners

News: Bill Bostock, Business Insider, Noel Phillips, BBC, Geraldine McKelvie, Sunday Mirror, Kumba Kpakima, Sky NewsGold Winner: Geraldine McKelvie

Politics: Laura Hughes, Financial Times, Ashley Cowburn, The Independent, Matt Dathan, The Sun, Joe Miller, BBCGold Winner: Matt Dathan

Business and Consumer: Ashna Hurynag, ITV News, Tom Calver, The Times and Sunday Times, Alex Janiaud, Investors Chronicle, Hannah Uttley, Daily MailGold Winner: Tom Calver

Financial: Kalyeena Makortoff, The Guardian, Jen Frost, Insurance Post, Callum Mason, Money Saving ExpertGold Winner: Jen Frost

Culture, Entertainment and Lifestyle: Chloe Kent, Verdict, Naomi Larson, Freelance, Francesca Street, CNN Travel, Rebecca Reid, Freelance – Gold Winner: Francesca Street

Health: Oliver Franklin-Wallis, Freelance, Eve Simmons, Mail on Sunday, Annabelle Collins, Health Service Journal, Annabelle Timsit, QuartzGold Winner: Eve Simmons

Campaigns and Investigations: Krystina Shveda, Times and Sunday Times, Sarah Ingrams, Which?, Serina Sandhu, The i paper/, Ashni Lakhani, BBC  – Gold Winner: Sarah Ingrams