MoS journalist wins first Sunday Times Colvin scholarship

The Mail on Sunday’s George Arbuthnott has been named winner of The Sunday Times’ inaugural Marie Colvin scholarship.

The scheme was set up last year shortly after Colvin was killed in a rocket attack in the besieged Syrian city of Homs in a bid to carry on her legacy by giving young journalists the chance to become foreign correspondents.

The application process began in September last year when more than 400 applications were received from around the world.

Arbuthnott (pictured), a reporter with the MoS, will start the scholarship in mid-March. He joined the MoS in May 2010 as part of its graduate trainee scheme, and during his time at the paper he covered stories from the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe.

He described winning the scholarship as a “huge honour”, telling Press Gazette: “I have always been a huge admirer of Marie’s work and her type of fearless public interest journalism inspired me to enter the profession in the first place.

“The scholarship was a unique and unmissable chance to try to learn some of the skills she used to such powerful effect.”

The scholarship will include a stint shadowing one of paper’s foreign correspondents. Arbuthnott commented: “Working on the foreign desk with the paper’s fantastic correspondents positioned around the world should give me a terrific insight into how they go about obtaining, developing and constructing their stories – I hope I can learn from their example.

“Working on some of The Sunday Times’ other sections is also an exciting opportunity and will be a further great learning experience. I am keen to develop a specialism in a region and the opportunity to shadow one of the correspondents might hopefully give me a chance to do that.

“I am going into the scholarship with an open mind, so we’ll see what happens. I hope the scholarship will stand me in good stead in terms of securing a job afterwards, but, in the current climate, I am not taking anything for granted. I’m just going to focus on making the most of the next year and will then see what options are available when I get near to the end of it.”

The paper’s deputy managing editor Kathleen Herron said: “It was an incredibly hard decision to reach but we feel George Arbuthnott embodies the spirit of the scholarship.”

Earlier this month Colvin’s life was celebrated with the official opening for the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting at Stony Brook University in Long Island,

Howard Schneider, dean of the School of Journalism, said: “The mission of this centre will be to inspire, nurture and train the next generation of foreign correspondents.

“Students will learn how to report, produce and write from overseas. This centre will be a beacon that will continuously shed light on the need for vigorous, courageous, independent and accountable reporting about what’s happening in the world.”

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