The very first Claire Prosser bursary award was presented yesterday as part of the Journalism Diversity Fund’s annual reception, this year hosted by the London Evening Standard.
The award honours Claire Prosser, a diversity champion, who unfortunately passed away in 2014 following heart surgery. Her husband and daughter, Paul and Ellen Clabburn, established the bursary in her memory.
The presentation was led by an introduction from Mark Wray, managing director, Press Association Training. Mark, who had worked alongside Claire at the BBC.
After being introduced by Mark, Paul (and Ellen) presented the award. Ellen said: “That’s how I remember my mum as a journalist - someone who was incredibly hard working, but who was always there to offer her colleagues - and particularly her trainees - words of encouragement, a friendly smile or a listening ear for some juicy gossip. And that's how she was in her personal life too.
“So we wanted to do something that reflected her approach to life and a bursary seemed a very good way of doing that.”
Following Ellen, Paul continued: “The recipient of the Claire Prosser bursary, we have, we think, found a person who has a similar love of words to Claire. This person can write, can spot a story. They also have that indefinable ‘something’ that always attracted Claire. One quality is spelled out explicitly in the application form: ‘I rewarded myself with a large glass of wine’.
“Other qualities also shine through – a curiosity about life, a determination to overcome adversity, a sense of someone who will work hard and play hard. In short, what Claire was always proud to call herself - a hack, in the very best sense of the word.”
This year’s award winner is Katie Boyd, 34, who will begin studying her MA Journalism at Ulster University this September. Alongside a financial contribution towards her studies, the award also includes a work experience placement with BBC News and independent production company, WireFree Productions.
On receipt of her award Katie said: "I am beyond honoured to receive a bursary in memory of a woman who championed the careers of many in a field that she so clearly loved. Claire's family have worked tirelessly in order to keep the very essence of her spirit alive in the creation of this award. They have done so in such a beautiful and positive manner, that it can only be described as a legacy of love.
“The opportunities that have come as a direct result in becoming the first recipient of the Claire Prosser bursary have taken my breath away. They quite simply would never have been available to me otherwise. No words can express my gratitude to both Claire and her family for this. In the words of her husband Paul "she was such a wonderful spotter of new talent for the industry because she was such a good journalist herself." I hope I can emulate the integrity and values that have become synonymous with her name in my own career."