The Steve Hewlett Memorial Fund has been established in memory of the celebrated broadcaster who died earlier this year. Hewlett shared his experiences of cancer – from its discovery, through treatment of and coping with the disease, until ultimately, and tragically, it could no longer be suppressed – in a series of taboo-breaking interviews with presenter Eddie Mair on Radio 4's PM programme.
The fund, which is backed by an appeal organised by the Media Society and the Royal Television Society, will provide a scholarship initiative for young people from low income households along with other associated activities to support Hewlett’s legacy. It was launched by his three sons – Freddie, Billy and Bertie – on PM earlier this week (12 June).
Hewlett's honest, plain-speaking and sometimes even humorous interviews with Mair over a number of months inspired the nation, and did much to explain and engage the audience with the terminal illness.
Steve's sons Freddie, Billy and Bertie said: "We are so proud to launch this scholarship in dad's name. He knew about it before he died and was involved in the early planning of how it would operate, and the young people from lower income families it will help into journalism."
Clive Jones, who chairs the appeal and appointed Hewlett to be director of programmes when he was CEO of Carlton Television, added: "These scholarships will be a worthy memorial to a brilliant, inspirational journalist that so many of us were proud to work with and call a friend."
Theresa Wise, chief executive of the RTS, said: “Steve was a vehement campaigner for improving access to the media industry for those with geographically diverse and low income backgrounds, so the fund offers a great way to celebrate his life and support his legacy.”
The Hewlett Scholarship will be presented each year to one deserving recipient studying an undergraduate broadcast journalism course in the UK. The recipient will receive £2,000 per year for three years to fund their living expenses, as well as membership of the RTS and access to the affiliate Hospital Club in central London while studying. They will also receive mentoring from industry professionals to help them make a confident start to their career.
Steve Hewlett will also be remembered through an annual memorial lecture, the first of which
will be given by his friend Nick Robinson of the Today programme on 28 September 2017
at the University of Westminster.
Many organisations and individuals have been swift to back the initiative, including the BBC, Brunel University, Channel Four, Directors Cut Films, Google UK, ITN, ITV, Sky News, The London Press Club, Women in Journalism, Alex Graham (chairman of the Scott Trust) and Peter Taylor OBE.
www.rts.org.uk/education-training/rts-bursaries (for more general info on available bursaries)