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BBC Economics Editor delivers 2013 Bob Friend Memorial Lecture

BBC Economics Editor Stephanie FlandersSpeaking at the fifth annual Bob Friend Memorial lecture at the University of Kent’s Medway campus on Thursday 28 February 2013, BBC Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders made a plea for people to ask ‘stupid questions’ when discussing economics.

During her lecture, ‘Lessons of the global financial crisis for economists and economics journalists’ - hosted by the University’s award winning Centre for Journalism - Stephanie Flanders spoke about the responsibility economics journalists have for engaging a wider audience and increasing public understanding of the economy.

She described how the lessons of history can guide journalists and politicians when economic crises develop - and defended economics journalists who are often accused of breeding pessimism during financial downturns.

Professor Tim Luckhurst, Head of the University's Centre for Journalism, said: ‘Stephanie is one of the BBC’s most senior journalists. Her understanding of economics is immensely impressive and she has an unparalleled ability to explain it. Her lecture has inspired our students to aspire to similar levels of expertise. Stephanie’s work displays the type of intellectual rigour and professional expertise we encourage our students to develop during their time in the Centre for Journalism.’

Sky News Bob Friend Memorial Scholar: (From left: Neil Dunwoodie, Sky News; Georgia Fry, University of Kent Scholarship winner; Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor.The event also saw Neil Dunwoodie, Executive Producer Sky News, present first year journalism student Georgia Fry with the 2013 Sky News Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is among the most prestigious prizes available to an undergraduate student of journalism in the United Kingdom.

The lecture and scholarship were established in 2009 in memory of Bob Friend, who was the original face of Sky News as well as a long-serving BBC journalist.

Congratulating Georgia Fry, Neil Dunwoodie said: ‘Georgia was a very impressive candidate. During the interview she showed an excellent grasp of how we handle breaking news across all of the Sky News platforms. She also displayed a confidence and a maturity of approach which I predict will see her do very well when she spends a month at the Sky News Centre in the summer.'

Bob Friend joined Sky News at its launch 24 years ago and quickly became the face of the news channel. In his 14 years with Sky News he won a glowing international reputation for his warmth, intelligence and humour, winning a number of awards for his presenting skills.

He died in October 2008 and is survived by his wife Marion and their two daughters. The annual lecture and scholarship were established by a partnership of the Friend family, Sky News and the University of Kent.

The scholarship is awarded to a student who has demonstrated outstanding academic and professional merit and shows great potential for a future career in journalism. Georgia Fry will receive £3,500 towards her tuition fees and is guaranteed a fully-funded four-week placement at Sky News later in the year.


Story published at 10:15am 5 March 2013

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Last Updated: 23/05/2013