Lionel Barber receives The Media Society Award

The editor of the Financial Times, Lionel Barber, received The Media Society Annual Award for his outstanding contribution to financial journalism at The Millennium Hotel last night in front of a host of media personalities, editors, political figures and special guests.

Hosted by BBC Media Editor, Amol Rajan, the evening celebrated a Lionel's journalistic career, in which he has become one of Britain’s most well-known media figures.

Lionel was appointed as Editor of the Financial Times in 2005 after 20 years in various posts across the FT. Before the FT, Lionel held positions at The Scotsman, The Washington Post and The Sunday Times.

A Legacy Newspaper to a Modern, Global, Multi-Platform One

Peter York, President of The Media Society, told the audience of Lionel: "Lionel’s great achievement has been to bring the FT from a great legacy newspaper to being a modern global multi-platform one. At the same time as maintaining standards with a scrupulous regard for truth."

On receiving his award from Sir Nick Clegg, Lionel said: “Truth is I don’t see myself as a financial journalist, but as a courageous newsman trying to connect the dots between financial, politics and business. Being editor is part rock band manager; part guardian of the gold standard. My job is to keep creative people happy, but also to protect editorial integrity and quality. I’m deeply flattered, thank you.”

As the FT's editor, Lionel has interviewed the world’s leading personalities, including Barack Obama,Donald Trump and Angela Merkel. During his time as editor the FT's paid-for readership has surpassed 900,000.  

A Soaring Readership

Among those who spoke at the evening to recognise Lionel's work as editor were Sir Peter Bazalgette, a lifelong friend and Chairman of ITV; The Rt. Hon. Sir Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister; Dame Carolyn McCall DBE, CEO ITV; Sarah Sands, Editor of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4; and Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO WPP plc. Friends who were unable to attend on the night joined a video tribute to Lionel from around the globe. 

Lionel now joins previous winners of the the prestigious accolade, including Sir David Attenborough, David Dimbleby, Dame Ann Leslie, Sir David Frost, Dame Jenni Murray, Sir Michael Parkinson, Jeremy Paxman, Clare Balding and founding member of The Media Society, Sir Harold Evans. The award was launched by the late Russell Twisk – the editor of The Listener – who presented it to its first recipient, Alistair Cooke, in 1990.

This year’s award is a specially handcrafted glass work by artist Peter Layton. The award was commissioned to represent both Lionel’s media career and the team he has built at the FT. It consists of a solid core with outer glass containing colourful veins that circle the award, symbolising the role of trusted journalism in disseminating news across the globe.

The Media Society would like to thank:

Producers: Geraldine Sharpe-Newton & John Mair

With assistance from Dan Seamarks

Design – Peter Walker and the team at WonderlandWPA

Social Media – Jem Collins

From the Financial Times – Oliver Stannard & Vicky Taylor, FT Press Office
Sally Kennedy & Alice Hancock, Lionel Barbers Office

Logistics – Laura Dugdale and High Spirits Events

 Millennium Hotel – Antonio and team

 Tribute Film – Dean Stockton and Balazs Koszta

 Special thanks to Colin Morrison, Susan Morton, Paul Charman and The Media Society Council

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