"supporting and encouraging high quality economic, financial and business journalism"
The Wincott Foundation was set up in 1969 in honour of Harold Wincott, the most distinguished economic journalist of his day in the UK. The current chairman is Sir Geoffrey Owen, former editor of the Financial Times. Sir Geoffrey is supported by a group of trustees who have a background in business, journalism and academia.
Sir Samuel Brittan, 2013 winner
The purpose of this new award is to honour journalists who have produced consistently outstanding work over a long period. This is an award which will not be given every year, and is not one for which the trustees and judges will solicit applications. They will be looking across the whole media spectrum including broadcasting, on-line and print.
The Wincott Lifetime Achievement Award
The criteria which the Foundation's judges take into account are clarity, depth of understanding, objectivity and above all the ability to write about complex topics in a way that is intelligible to the lay person but also authoritative, so that experts in that topic as well as non-experts can learn from it.
Presenting the award at the annual Wincott awards for financial journalism at Mansion House, Sir Geoffrey Owen, chairman of he Wincott Foundation, said:
"In considering whether we should make an award this year the judges thought hard about several individuals whose contributions over a long period can reasonably be regarded as outstanding. But there was one individual who stood out above the rest, and he is Samuel Brittan of the Financial Times. Samuel began working for the FT in the 1950s and apart from three years on the Observer between 1961 and 1964 most of his journalistic work has been on that paper; he has also written a number of well-received books on British economic policy and other economic issues. His influence on policy makers has been considerable, as anyone who has read Charles Moore's biography of Margaret Thatcher will know, but what is remarkable about his journalism is his unfailing ability, over a period of more than fifty years, to illuminate economic issues in a way that is refreshing, insightful and often unexpected.
"One of his great strengths is his intellectual curiosity and his ability to apply his mind to moral, social and political issues that go well beyond economics. When we discussed with him the idea of giving him a book or set of books to mark today's award he opted not for an economics book but Macaulay's history of England - I am glad to say that we found an early five-volume version of Macaulay's work, and that has already been conveyed to his home - rather too heavy for Elizabeth to hand over today. While Samuel has stuck to his guns on some policy issues - such as his attachment to nominal GDP as a measure of economic performance, which seems finally to be gaining support in official circles - he is never boring or repetitive -- it is impossible to read his columns without learning something new - and the fact that it is written is such an engaging and accessible way makes it all the more rewarding. As a former colleague I would also like to mention Samuel's unfailing generosity to the people he has worked with - always considerate to subeditors who might suggest some slightly different phrasing for one of his sentences, and to young financial journalists who are eager to learn from the master of their profession. "Samuel Brittan was the first winner of the Wincott journalist of the year award in 1970, and we are delighted to declare him the first winner of the Wincott lifetime achievement award."