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Reuters and England’s Durham University have launched a global initiative to nurture a new generation of investigative reporters with a program honouring celebrated journalist, editor and author Sir Harold Evans.

The Sir Harry Evans Memorial Fund will create two complementary programs: a fellowship in investigative journalism and an annual, agenda-setting forum.

The fellowship will offer a candidate the opportunity to undertake an investigative reporting assignment from the Reuters newsroom while being mentored by top Reuters editors and supported by Durham University.

The fund will welcome applicants from all backgrounds who can tell stories with diverse perspectives from around the world. The fellow will be appointed annually through a competitive award process, starting in 2022.

The fund will also help create an annual forum for leading figures in investigative journalism at Durham Castle, home to University College, Durham, bringing together a diverse and influential audience to discuss all aspects of the discipline.

Durham University has already received more than $5-million in pledges, including a $2-million donation from Thomson Reuters.

Sir Harry died in 2020 at the age of 92. After earning an undergraduate degree from Durham University, he started his journalism career in North East England. He gained international acclaim as the editor of The Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981.

One of his greatest triumphs was his 10-year campaign to win compensation for the victims of the morning sickness drug Thalidomide, which had caused thousands of birth defects. Others include exposing the cover-up of Britain’s intelligence services in the case of double agent Kim Philby; the unmasking of the corporate deception at the heart of the DC-10 Paris air crash in 1974; and the June, 1971, exposé by Anthony Mascarenhas on the Pakistani army’s brutal effort to suppress the Bangladeshi uprising, considered one of the most influential pieces of journalism ever written about South Asia.

Sir Harry moved to the United States in 1984, where he became the president and publisher of Random House. He was knighted by the Queen in 2004 and started his stint at Reuters in 2011 as editor-at-large.

David Thomson, the chairman of Thomson Reuters, said the initiative is a fitting tribute. “Harry cast an immense shadow, and his spirit hovers today, stronger than ever. Talent drew alongside and thrived under his leadership; alchemy simply unfurled.”

Tina Brown, Sir Harry’s widow and an acclaimed journalist herself, said, “The thought that we are doing something in his legacy to make sure Harrys of the future – whatever and wherever their gender, background or means – are nurtured into the profession is something which I know would have moved him greatly.”

Reuters editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni said, “We hope that, through this initiative, Reuters can help support a diverse new generation of investigative journalists and newsroom leaders.”

Antony Long, the acting vice-chancellor and warden of Durham University, said the programs will invite the very best minds and talents from journalism. “Our partnership with Reuters will develop countless opportunities for students, researchers and professionals alike around the world.”

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