Hosted by BBC Media Editor, Amol Rajan, the Media Society’s 45th anniversary gala dinner celebrated Lionel's journalistic career in front of a host of media personalities, editors, political figures and special guests.
Media Society president, Peter York, said: "Lionel’s great achievement has been to bring the FT from a great legacy newspaper to being a modern global multi-platform one. At the same time as maintaining standards with a scrupulous regard for truth."
On receiving his award from Sir Nick Clegg, Lionel said: “Truth is I don’t see myself as a financial journalist, but as a courageous newsman trying to connect the dots between finance, politics and business. Being editor is part rock band manager; part guardian of the gold standard. My job is to keep creative people happy, but also to protect editorial integrity and quality. I’m deeply flattered, thank you.”
Among those who spoke at the event were Sir Peter Bazalgette, a lifelong friend of Lionel’s and Chairman of ITV; The Rt. Hon. Sir Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister; Dame Carolyn McCall DBE, CEO ITV; Sarah Sands, editor of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4; and Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO WPP plc. Figures who were unable to attend on the night but joined a video tribute to Lionel included former Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger; Ed Balls; Channel 4 News presenters Jon Snow and Cathy Newman and ITV News political editor, Robert Peston.
Lionel was appointed as editor of the Financial Times in 2005 after 20 years in various posts across the FT, including Brussels correspondent, Washington correspondent and US managing editor. Prior to joining the FT, Lionel held positions at The Scotsman, The Washington Post and The Sunday Times. As the FT's editor, Lionel has interviewed some of the world’s most important figures, including Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin. During his time as editor, the FT's paid-for readership has surpassed 910,000.
Lionel joins previous winners of the prestigious accolade including Sir David Attenborough, David Dimbleby, Dame Ann Leslie, Sir David Frost, Dame Jenni Murray, Sir Michael Parkinson, Jeremy Paxman, Clare Balding and founding member of The Media Society, Sir Harold Evans. The award was launched by the late Russell Twisk – the editor of The Listener – who presented it to its first recipient, Alistair Cooke, in 1990.