Laurence Stern Fellowship

The fellowship sends a young British journalist to work on the national desk of the Washington Post for three months in the summer. This year’s dates will be here a a few days. Below the history and below that details of the previous fellows.

When Laurence Stern died of a heart attack on August 11th 1979, aged only 50, his old friend and editor, Ben Bradlee, said: “His paper and his friends will be a long time getting over the loss of Larry Stern. He was a world class journalist. He wrote like a dream, with grace and precision. His commitment to excellence, to his staff, to his friends and to the Washington Post will be an example for all of us.” More pithily he has said in his speech to many Stern parties. ‘Struck down in his prime. Stung by a goddam bee.’

Larry Stern had worked for twenty five years on the Washington Post, starting as a national reporter, then becoming national editor, foreign correspondent, editor of the Style section and finally assistant managing editor for national news. He wrote a much admired book, The Wrong Horse, about the Cyprus conflict. He also received many awards including the George Polk Award, the American Political Science Association Award, the Newspaper Guild Award and the fellowship of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Larry was committed to the Anglo-American tradition of journalism. He was also aware of the differences between American and British styles and believed that each had something to learn from the other. He particularly admired the work of the Sunday Times Insight Team and in the late 60s he set up his own Insight unit at the Washington Post. He had a huge capacity for friendship. He found time to help many young reporters on the Post. He also helped many young British reporters and other Brits find their way around Washington.

After Larry’s death, Godfrey Hodgson, editor of the Sunday Times Insight Team, and a former Washington correspondent, suggested to Ben Bradlee setting up a fellowship in his memory. Ben agreed to establish a special fund to finance the US end. Godfrey Hodgson and Felicity Bryan set about raising funds in London to help finance the fellowship. The list of Larry’s friends who contributed included Harold Lever, who had been befriended by Larry in the 1960s during his many visits to Washington as a cabinet minister. But the majority of contributors were the British journalists Larry had helped in their stints in Washington, including Anthony Sampson, Victoria Brittain, David Watt, William Shawcross, Bruce Page, Gus MacDonald and Andrew Knight. Several news organisations contributed, including The Financial Times, The Economist, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, London Weekend Television, Granada Television, Thames Television and, in later years, News International. Much of this money came in thanks to the work of Felicity Bryan, the literary agent, whose boundless energy has made the annual fellows’ party an unmissable event .

The form of the fellowship was dictated by his friends’ wish to find a practical way of continuing the things which Larry had worked for. The fellowship was to include three months working as part of the reporting team on the Washington Post on the national desk in Washington, followed by a month’s travel in the United States. The short list for the fellowship was to be drawn up by a panel comprising Larry’s British friends and the final selection was to be made by Ben Bradlee, or another senior Washington Post editor.

To ensure the continuity of the fellowship the administration was located at City University, where Bob Jones had just gone to build up the fledgling journalism section. Four ex-fellows are now part of the selection panel

Throughout, the fellowship has been sustained by the willingness of the Washington Post to provide help, advice and hospitality. Ben Bradlee has frequently made the trip to London himself to choose the fellow. Len Downie, who was Washington Post London correspondent when the fellowship was set up and is now the executive editor, has given it his unstinting support. And Katherine Graham, the owner of the Post, gave it her unstinting support in the early years.

I am updating this list as soon as I have time.

1980. David Leigh: then on The Guardian. Moved to The Observer and worked on major investigations there and at Granada‘s World in Action. Now Assistant Editor, investigations of The Guardian.

1981. James Naughtie: then, on The Scotsman, now one of the best known voices on Today and other BBC programmes.

1982. Penny Chorlton: then on The Guardian, now rearing two children, writingcolumns and writing novels.

1983. Ian Black: then, on The Guardian and still on The Guardian. After a long stint in Israel, he came home to be Diplomatic Editor. Now he is European Editor.

1984. Mary Ann Sieghart: then, on The Financial Times, now political commentator on The Times.

1985. Lionel Barber: then, and now, on The Financial Times; after working in Washington and Brussels, and in London as news editor, he is now in New York as managing editor of the US edition.

1986. Ewen MacAskill: then, on The Scotsman, he joined The Guardian in the lobby and later became chief political correspondent. Now he is Diplomatic Editor.

1987. Sarah Helm: then, on The Independent. Now, after a long period as Israel correspondent, is tending a baby and writing a novel.

1988. Edward Vulliamy: then, on The Guardian, now, the New York correspondent for The Observer.

1989. Adela Gooch: then, on The Daily Telegraph, later The Guardian correspondent in Madrid. Now Economist correspondent in Spain and foreign affairs analyst for a TV programme, La Mirada Crítica.

1990. Keith Kendrick: then, on The Birmingham Mail, now, the editor of Loaded.

1991. Liz Hunt: then science correspondent of The Independent, now on the Daily Mail.

1992. Jonathan Freedland: then, at the BBC, now a leading columnist on The Guardian.

1993. Ian Katz: then a reporter on The Guardian and now the features editor of The Guardian.

1994. Rebecca Fowler: then, on the Sunday Times, now a feature writer for the Daily Mail.

1995. Sarah Neville: then, on the Yorkshire Post, now on The Financial Times.

1996. Gary Younge: then, and now, on The Guardian. Known for his provocative articles on a wide range of subjects.

1997. Audrey Gillan: then, in the Glasgow office of Scotland on Sunday, now on The Guardian.

1998. Caroline Daniel: then, on The New Statesman, now on The Financial Times.

1999. Will Woodward: then and now on The Guardian, recently as Education Editor.

2000. Cathy Newman: then and now on The Financial Times.

2001. Glenda Cooper: then and now on the Daily Mail. While at the Washington Post last year, spent a month after September 11 covering Ground Zero.

2002. Helen Rumbelow: The Times





2007. Anuska Asthana: The Observer

2008. Holly Watts: Sunday Times