Previous Geddes Prize winners include journalists now working for The Economist, The Times, The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, Reuters, ITN, and BBC radio and television.
Winner of the 2013 St Edmund Hall Prize
Deputy comment editor, the Daily Telegraph and Trustee of the Geddes Prize
It would only be fair to credit the Geddes prize with giving me a foothold on the journalistic ladder. After a brief period working in new media I was hired as the leader writer at the Daily Express and it was actually one of the trustees of the Geddes Prize who first put me in touch with the editor of the Express.
I received very kind words from the judges that helped to convince me I was on the right track when I (very occasionally) felt like abandoning hopes of Fleet Street. Sticking with it is a decision I will never regret. Without the prize I would not be working in journalism today. On a personal level I can think of no better way than that of summing up how much it has done for me.
Winner of the 2012 Clive Taylor Prize for Sports Journalism
I am lucky enough to be able to combine my two great interests, politics and cricket. I was formerly an assistant comment editor at The Daily Telegraph and am currently a contributing writer for The New Statesman. I write on cricket for ESPNCricinfo, The Daily Telegraph and The Cricketer. My first book, ‘The Second XI: Cricket in its outposts’, analysing the sport in countries including Afghanistan, Ireland and China, is due for release in January 2015.
I used my award to fund several months of freelance reporting on county cricket. I was able to get work for ESPNCricinfo in the summer of 2012, writing both match reports and a Twenty20 round up based upon my experiences attending matches. Building this link proved invaluable for my career, and I am still a regular writer for Cricinfo today.
Winner of the 2006 Philip Geddes Prize
Former Egypt Correspondent at the Guardian
Of all the shortlisted applicants to the Geddes Prize in 2006, I was the last to be interviewed. I remember heading through the door and thinking that my pitch was going to have to be pretty lively to make any impression. In the end we just had a really engaging discussion about my idea: a journey out to New Orleans on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, to assess the pace of reconstruction and to delve into the local man-made disasters that accompanied the natural one. The Geddes Prize gave me the opportunity to get out there and test my abilities as a journalist to the limit in a way that would not otherwise have been possible.
My trip to Louisiana gave me the confidence to throw myself into unfamiliar environments and start unpicking the tangled threads within. The following year, partly thanks to the Geddes Prize, I was awarded a paid internship at the Guardian. After leaving university I travelled overland down to Egypt and set up there as a journalist – soon I was reporting regularly for the Guardian from Cairo and I’m now their Egypt correspondent, with the privilege of being able to cover seismic events like the 2011 revolution, as well as pursuing my own projects.
The journey here has been hard, fun, often farcical, always intoxicating. The Geddes Prize was a great springboard for it all, and there are few better ways to take a gamble and throw yourself into something new.
Winner of the 2004 Philip Geddes Prize
Deputy Editor, the New Statesman and Trustee of the Geddes Prize
I always knew I wanted to be a journalist – it’s a licence to ask nosy questions. But at Oxford, I was a slow starter and only got involved with the student paper in the last term of my second year, rising to the dizzying heights of Features Editor the term after that. So when the opportunity came in my third year to apply for the Geddes Prize, I leapt at it.
I was jealous of the Teddy Hall winner that year, Mary Morgan, who used her winnings to go to Africa and work on something extremely worthy – while I stayed in Oxford and used the money to produce my own magazine, Oxide. It involved cajoling a lot of my student journalist friends into writing pieces after they’d just finished their finals and had sworn never to put a single word to paper again, so it certainly taught me how to be more persuasive.
It also taught me a lot about the craft of magazine production – paper weights and glosses, font styles and sizes, leading and kerning, and all the other minutiae that you don’t notice unless it’s done wrong and you can’t work out why your beautiful publication is now an eyesore. All those skills I still use today in my job as deputy editor of the New Statesman.
Winner of the 2001 Philip Geddes Prize
UK Economics Correspondent, Reuters
Winning the Geddes Prize gave a real boost to my confidence, and helped convince me that I should try to make a professional success of a university passion. I'm sure it was invaluable in getting me work experience at major national newspapers, and ultimately my first job as a graduate trainee at Reuters. Since then, I've worked as a foreign correspondent in Brussels and Frankfurt, reporting on the EU and the European Central Bank. Now I'm back in London - and still with Reuters - covering the latest travails of the British economy. I'd strongly recommend any Oxford student with a commitment to journalism to put in an entry for the prize.
Winner of the 1997 Philip Geddes Prize
Former Nairobi correspondent, Reuters
The Geddes Prize gave me a huge break in starting a career in journalism by helping to fund a summer internship with Reuters in Kenya. I found myself covering riots in Nairobi, pitching questions to Rwanda’s president and learning to survive the round-the-clock trench warfare of wire reporting at the elbow of some of the best journalists I have met. Those hectic and memorable weeks opened the door to a traineeship at Reuters in London, and an eventual return to Nairobi as a staff correspondent. I remain immensely indebted for the Prize.
Co-winner of the 1996 Philip Geddes Prize
Author, contributor to the Guardian, NY Times, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle
It meant in the first instance that I could afford go to New York for a month and meet with editors I had been trying to persuade to commission me; obviously more persuasive than trying to do it remotely. More generally, it was a great confidence boost prior to getting stuck into job hunting, which can be tough after the 1,000th meeting. It's not as if you come out of Oxford with any relevant qualifications to the job per se; so winning the Geddes Prize felt like a vital recommendation. On a personal level, it was very heartening to meet senior journalists on the judging panel who were so encouraging to winners.
Co-winner of the 1996 Philip Geddes Prize
International editor, Newsweek
I won the Geddes Prize in 1996 while studying Classics and Italian at Corpus Christi and editing the Oxford Student newspaper. I used the money to fund a summer working for Reuters in Rome, an amazing experience that helped me get hired as a trainee at Reuters in 1997.
When you’re trying to break into journalism, internships are crucial for proving that you can do the job as well as making contacts in the industry. But we all know they don’t pay much, if at all. An award like the Geddes Prize can make the difference between a summer as a waitress or a summer learning and building up a file of great clippings to help you win that job when you graduate.
In Rome, I was lucky enough to work for a talented and generous bureau chief who became my mentor for the next 10 years. I worked at Reuters for 16 years in London, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Iraq and the United States. I transitioned from reporting to editing in 2010, working on enterprise and investigations and then as deputy top news editor for the Americas. In 2014 I moved to Newsweek where I am now the International Editor, based in New York.
Winner of the 1995 Philip Geddes Prize
Special Correspondent, BBC News
It is always exciting to win a prize. But even more so when you are just a student with no contacts in journalism, hoping to make it in a fiercely competitive world. The Philip Geddes Prize gave me my first mention in a national newspaper. "A lawyer's daughter from Leeds" was the description in The Daily Express, I think. That meant more to me than others, possibly, as it was the paper my mum read. But more importantly it gave me something significant to put on my CV. It told all the newspapers and TV programmes that I wrote begging letters to that maybe I was someone to look at. And for that I am enormously grateful. It was also, I think, recognition for all those late nights in The Cherwell offices, all the essays that had to be written at 4am because the paper wasn't finished. Justification that after all the moans from friends and boyfriends that the paper came before them, that someone in the form of this prize had recognised what I knew. That it was all worth it.
Winner of the 1991 Philip Geddes Prize
Africa correspondent, the Guardian
I knew I wanted to be a reporter - or a photographer - or something similar, but was unsure exactly what and how and when. None of my family were journalists, nor any friends, so I had no contacts in the business. I'd done work experience at local newspapers but that was all. I won the Geddes Prize after heading off to Iraq in 1991 to try and cover the aftermath of the war during my second year summer break. It was a daft thing to do and I was lucky to get away with it unscathed. But the prize not only encouraged me to keep going, but gave me the means to do so.
A year later I had taken my finals and, with the money from the prize and the earnings of a summer job, was on my way to India where, 20 years later, I'm now based. I still have one of the pictures I took on my Iraqi trip on the wall of my office.
Winner of the 1989 Philip Geddes Prize
British journalism can still feel like a club for famous family surnames. So the Geddes Prize was a wonderful vote of confidence in talent and ambition over connections. Winning it only a few years after Philip's murder, and going on to work in Northern Ireland soon after joining the BBC as a News Trainee, I have always sought to keep up awareness of the past in my coverage of the present. And in 22 years, at ITN, the BBC and in national newspapers, I have never taken for granted the privilege and pleasure of being a journalist.
Winner of the first Philip Geddes Prize in 1985
Editor, Foundation Programmes, BBC College of Journalism
It seems such a long time ago... er, that's because it is. I can remember being stunned and delighted, in that order, on being told I'd won the Philip Geddes Memorial Prize. I was also astonished that, once some news of the award filtered out, a couple rather well connected people contacted me about my project which was the invasion and partition of Cyprus in 1974. They wanted to talk to ME! So, a huge boost to my confidence and it confirmed my vague notions of venturing into journalism.
In a purely pragmatic sense, it's fantastic thing to put on your CV, an excellent and relevant talking point, especially when venturing into the trade for the first time and being sucked into that chicken-and-egg vortex of "we're looking for experience - how do I get that? - through a job in journalism - how do I get THAT? - with experience". It's proof of commitment.