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Snow and Peston star at Charles Wheeler evening

The Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow is the 2014 winner of the BJR’s Charles Wheeler Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcast Journalism, which was presented to him in June at the University of Westminster before the annual Charles Wheeler Lecture, delivered by the BBC economics editor, Robert Peston.

Receiving the award from Lady Wheeler, widow of Sir Charles, Jon Snow paid tribute to the late foreign correspondent, widely acknowledged as “the greatest broadcast journalist Britain has ever produced”.

In his lecture, Robert Peston warned of the “powerful threats” faced by news journalism from outside influences, including insidious advertising and relentless monetising within the media industries. News tainted by commercial considerations isn’t worth the name, giving the impression that all editorial is for sale and none of it to be trusted, he said.

“I don’t want to overstate the dangers,” he continued, “but what I would say is that we saw with the phone-hacking scandal how prone we are as an industry to cut corners in a hideous way when we face a threat, or indeed when there is money to be made.” During a question and answer session that followed his speech, Peston enthused about journalism as a career, telling the students present, “I cannot envisage doing anything else.”

The award presentation and lecture were followed by a reception attended by journalists, university staff, students, the London mayor Boris Johnson – husband of the barrister Marina Wheeler, daughter of Sir Charles and Lady Wheeler – and the actor and press reform activist Hugh Grant.


Jon Snow (left) and Robert Peston at the Charles Wheeler evening


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British Journalism Review, Volume 25, Number 1, 2012