Last month marked the first anniversary of the death of Wyngate Harness, assistant editor of The Independent, and one of the most important and best-loved figures in the newspaper's history. Today, The Independent is pleased to announce the creation of a lasting memorial: the Wyn Harness Prize for Young Journalists.
For more than 20 years, Wyn was a huge influence on The Independent. He cared deeply about the quality of writing and reporting in its pages, and how these were presented to the world. He was a guide and mentor to dozens of young journalists who began their national newspaper careers in its newsroom, many of whom went on to reach the top of the profession. His death from an inoperable brain tumour, at the age of 47, was a huge shock to his colleagues and friends on the paper, and he continues to be much missed by all those who worked with him.
Everyone who knew Wyn appreciated his dry, irreverent wit, and his affection for the quirkier and more bizarre aspects of British life. And it is this that has inspired the format of The Wyn Harness Prize for Young Journalists.
The competition is open to anyone aged 25 or under who is embarking on a career in newspaper journalism, either in training or in their first paid employment. To take part, candidates must write a news report of between 500 and 700 words about an aspect of Britain or British society that rarely makes the headlines. The judges will be looking for a subject that is unusual and eye-opening. Entries must be accurate, well researched and stylishly written.
The winner will receive a cash bursary of £1,000. They will have their story published in The Independent, and they will be offered a two-week work placement in the paper's London newsroom.
The prize is open to young journalists of any nationality who will be under the age of 26 on 31 December 2008.
Submission of entries:
Entries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Sunday 23 November 2008.
Election and notification:
The judging panel will include Sue Royal (Wyn Harness's widow, also a journalist), Simon Kelner (managing director and editor-in-chief of The Independent), Helen Boaden (director of BBC news, and friend of Wyn Harness), Martyn Palmer (showbusiness journalist and friend of Wyn Harness), and Jason Burt (football correspondent of The Independent). The winner will be notified by email by 8pm on Monday 15 December.
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