As the event’s guest speaker and the charity’s 2018 President, Lionel Barber spoke engagingly about his four decades in the news business, starting as a cub reporter at The Scotsman where he valued the skills learnt as an apprentice, before moving to The Sunday Times, followed by his appointment as editor of the Financial Times in 2005.
He went on to talk about the evolution of the printed word in the digital world, saying: “Our world has been turned upside down by the digital revolution. It has led to an explosion of creativity and new forms of storytelling. Opportunities for pursuing our craft have never been greater. Working on multiple platforms, we code, compose, and collaborate in ways unimaginable a decade ago. The FT has navigated the transition from print to digital by being bold, not complacent; global, not parochial; evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
“In an age of information overload, there is still plenty of mileage in print. I believe the printed newspaper is a great marketing tool. It offers a deeper reading experience, a snapshot of a moment in time of the stories of the day.
“The press should have the freedom to get it right and to get it wrong. As editor, I am deeply aware of journalists’ responsibility to get it right and from time to time we will get it wrong. Long live print and long live the printed word.”
Jon Wright, the charity’s Chairman, paid tribute to the late Baroness Dean, who passed away earlier this year. She was the charity’s 2017 President and guest speaker at the 2017 Annual Luncheon. He described her as an inspiration to everyone in the industry and will be remembered for her tremendous support, great humour, and energy. Baroness Dean’s husband, Keith McDowall CBE, was guest of honour at this year’s event.
Updating industry guests on the charity’s work, Jon Wright said: “Last year we helped nearly 1,300 people and have already exceeded that number this year. We work on multiple levels, encompassing financial support, two excellent sheltered homes, signposting to specialist services, and being a friendly voice at the end of the phone. Our charity is nearly 200 years old but we are still very relevant and, with your support, will continue fulfilling a very real need.”
Demonstrating the value the charity places in young people gaining practical experience in the sector, the finalists’ work in its live brief to capture the meaning of print in today’s society run in collaboration with UAL/LCC for photojournalism degree students was exhibited at the event.