Wednesday 22 September 2010

Cameron award winner: 'No cash for contributors'

Michela Wrong, (above) the winner of this year's James Cameron Award, has spoken of a bleak period for freelance foreign correspondents.

Accepting her award at the City University, London, she referred to the harsh economic climate facing correspondents who weren't on staff, and said: "We are reaching a stage where outside contributors will be academics on a salary, authors promoting their books or those who are independently wealthy."

Wrong, who has specilaised in covering Africa, said many of her friends who had wanted to do her type of journalism had been forced to get jobs outside the profession.

She added: "I remain an optimist and cannot wait for this period of adjustment to be over and for the things that are currently being taken up and offered for free to acquire their proper market value."

Giving the James Cameron Lecture, Leonard Downie Jr. (above ), vice president at large of the Washington Post, said credible, verifiable news was needed more than ever to counter the "babble of the blogosphere".

He suggested universities in the UK , like City, should take a much more active role in shaping the future of news. " That means not just teaching, talking and doing research about journalism. It means actively producing journalism and assisting others in doing it. And it means acting as a watchdog to hold the news media accountable for the ways in which they transform themselves in this turbulent time.

"None of us wants to wake up one morning in the near future to discover that the new news is mostly bad."

  • A special award was made to broadcast journalist, author and political documentary maker Michael Cockerell.
  • Pics: Jon Slattery

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