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The 2017 Geddes Prize was won by Tony Diver, a second-year History and Politics student at Christ Church. He was joined at a awards ceremony in the Principal’s Lodgings at St Edmund Hall by Marianna Spring (Pembroke College), winner of the Ronnie Payne Prize for Foreign Reporting, and Vincent Richardson (Brasenose College), winner of the Clive Taylor Prize for Sports Journalism.
The three students met some of the Geddes trustees and received their certificates from Ian Hislop, Editor of Private Eye. Everyone then crossed the road to the Exam Schools where this year’s Geddes Lecture took place, in a slightly different format from usual, with Ian Hislop in conversation with Helen Lewis, Deputy Editor of the New Statesman. It proved to be a very popular and entertaining event, and a podcast of the ‘conversation’ will be available online soon.
Applicants for the Geddes awards must submit between three and six pieces of journalistic work completed whilst they have been at the University. Tony’s winning portfolio included an opinion piece about Oxford for The Telegraph and an article about Michael Gambon for the Radio Times. With the prize money, Tony plans to go to India to write an investigative piece for The Economist on the Indian government’s anti-leprosy campaign.
Marianna, who is studying French and Russian ab initio, had already reported for her local newspaper for four years before coming to Oxford, and is currently editor of student newspaper Cherwell. She reported for the Moscow Times, as well as the Local France in Paris and Le Tarn Libre during her year abroad last year. More recently, she has reported for Private Eye and worked at the Guardian News Desk. The articles she submitted included a Cherwell front-page story about the Oxford Union allegedly negotiating a sponsorship deal with Imperial Tobacco and an interview with Gina Miller.
"I am delighted to have been awarded the Ronnie Payne Prize," said Marianna. "I loved reporting in both France and Russia during my year abroad and so it is brilliant to be recognised for this. More importantly, the prize money enables me to continue doing what I love and I hope to continue reporting abroad long after I finish. With global harmony in jeopardy, it is increasingly important that we know and understand what is going in countries other than our own in order to understand both their politics and people. It's for that reason that I plan to conduct a series of interviews with Russian women for the Moscow Times or the Guardian. I would like to thank The Geddes Trust for the award; I am very grateful."
Vincent, winner of the sports journalism prize, is a third-year Chemist. He plans to use the money to finance some journalism in the US over the summer. He has applied for an internship with a media company in LA and is also considering doing some freelance work in the Carolinas covering the NFL. Vincent’s winning application included an interview with two-time Superbowl Champion Carl Banks and a piece about cyclist Mark Cavendish.
The Philip Geddes Memorial Prize has been awarded since 1984, to encourage promising student journalists at the University of Oxford. It is named after Philip, an alumnus of St Edmund Hall who was a very promising young journalist when he was sadly killed by an IRA bomb, aged only 24. The Clive Taylor Prize commemorates the distinguished cricket writer, while the Ronnie Payne Prize for Foreign Reporting was established by Ronnie’s widow, Celia Haddon, and honours his work as an acclaimed foreign correspondent and war reporter.