Former editor of The Times and Head of News at the BBC James Harding has been named as the Hugh Cudlipp Lecturer 2018.
By the time James delivers his lecture, this year to be delivered at a prestigious new venue – The British Library on March 21, 2018 – he will have left the BBC. He will be free to recall not only his role at The Times but also his work at the Corporation, which he leaves in January.
The Cudlipp Lecture is staged by the London Press Club, with sponsorship from the Daily Mirror and Cision.
Chairman of London Press Club Doug Wills said: “The roll call of previous speakers is outstanding, and their lectures have been forthright and challenging… and I am sure that James Harding’s talk will be one of the most memorable. The Press Club are thrilled that James has agreed to give the 2018 lecture at a time when he is embarking on a new project and we know that it will be a sell-out.”
By March, James will have embarked on his latest project – “a new media company offering a clear point of view”, a style of journalism, he has said, the BBC “can’t, and probably shouldn’t do”. He explained:
“I am going to start a new media company with a distinct approach to the news and a clear point of view. I know I will enjoy the chance to do some more journalism of my own and, at such a critical time, I’m seriously excited about the prospect of building a new venture in news. I look forward to being able to say more about it when we get started in the New Year,” he said.
The youngest editor in the history of The Times, James took a first in history at Cambridge after attending St. Paul’s School, in London, where he grew up. A year after taking the editor’s chair, The Times won Newspaper of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2008.
He masterminded the introduction of the pay-wall at The Times as well as famously allowing his northern reporter Andrew Norfolk to go “off diary” for more than two years to investigate and eventually expose the Rochdale sex abuse scandal.
After Leveson, Harding negotiated with government for independent press regulation, arguing against statutory control. While at the BBC Harding heavily promoted investigative journalism, saying BBC News often failed to “punch our weight”.
The annual Cudlipp Lecture was created in 1999 in memory of the late Lord Cudlipp, the former editorial director of the Daily Mirror and one of the great 20th century pioneers of popular tabloid journalism. The lecture was founded to provide a platform for a high-profile media figure to address major contemporary developments and issues in journalism.
Lecturers to date have included: James Naughtie, Kevin Maguire, Emily Bell, David Walsh, Sir Harold Evans, Jon Snow, Lionel Barber, Alan Rusbridger, Rebekah Wade, Alastair Campbell, Paul Dacre, Andrew Marr, Lord Grade, Felicity Green, Piers Morgan, Geoffrey Goodman, Derek Jameson, Bob Edwards and Peter Carter Ruck.
To book a place at this year’s lecture, go to londonpressclub.co.uk