Sir Harold Evans, one of the most significant journalists of recent times, has been presented with an honorary doctorate from The Open University.
He was at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on Friday 6 November to receive his award of Doctor of the University for exceptional contribution to education and culture, and was conferred alongside more than 700 graduating students. Director of OU Communications Lucian Hudson presented the award to Sir Harold, the journalist who inspired his own career.
Born in Eccles and raised in Manchester, at the age of sixteen Harry began working for The Reporter in Ashton-Under-Lyne. After national service in the Air Force, he studied politics and economics at Durham University, before returning to journalism to work on The Manchester Evening News.
Appointed to run The Sunday Times in 1967, Harry brought together some of the most talented writers and photographers to pioneer national investigative journalism in Britain. Their efforts to get to the bottom of the Thalidomide tragedy – a scandal that killed 100,000 babies worldwide – was a shining example of what journalism can achieve.
Moving to the US, Harry editorially directed US News and World Report, The Atlantic Monthly and The New York Daily News. In 1986 he founded Conde Nast Traveller and was President of Random House from 1990 to 1997. He continues to contribute to The Guardian and the BBC and his bestselling and critically acclaimed books include two histories of the United States: The American Century and They Made America, a study of innovation. His book Good Times, Bad Times shows how he took on Rupert Murdoch, and has been described as ‘the best non-fiction book ever written about journalism’. His memoir is My Paper Chase.
Lucian Hudson, Director of Communications, said during the ceremony: “I am especially pleased to present Harry for this honorary doctorate because he has been such a defining influence in my own career. He was the reason I became a journalist in the first place, and had the honour of joining Harry and his investigative journalists at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Thalidomide campaign. I am only one example of the many journalists working today who has been inspired by Harry: his influence shaped the outlook of an entire generation.
“Harry has worked with integrity, tenacity, and grace throughout his career to protect the freedom of the press, to uphold the highest standards of journalism, to uncover injustice and search out truth. He was knighted in 2004 for services to journalism and I am delighted we are adding our own tribute to his unparalleled contribution to British and international journalism.”