Hannah Thaxter, Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post and Sally Joynson, Chief Executive Officer of Screen Yorkshire have been awarded Honorary Fellowships at Leeds Trinity University for their contributions to the local community.
They received their awards at Graduation ceremonies on campus, alongside students from the University's School of Arts and Communication and School of Social and Health Sciences today (Thursday 18 July).
Hannah receives Honorary Fellowship for her contribution to the local community, having spent 30 years working in newspapers across the region and since 2017, Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post. Over the last five years, she has been greatly involved with Leeds Trinity University to train the next generation of journalists. She's taken students on professional placements, welcomed graduates as trainee reporters and supported the University's student newsroom project. This week, Hannah announced that she would be stepping down as Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post in September.
Hannah said: "I was so shocked when I received the letter about being presented with this award – I didn't do a degree, I didn't go to University and the only qualification I have is for journalism. I've now spent 30 years working in this industry so to receive an Honorary Fellowship is just the icing on the cake – particularly as I step down as Editor; it's the perfect ending for this chapter of my career.
"Although the newsroom and the industry has changed over 30 years, what we do on a day-to-day basis is the same. The technology might change but finding the story, speaking to people and asking the right question remains the same. One of the highlights of my career is seeing young journalists coming through the ranks and being able to help them, develop and reach their potential – and I'm lucky to have been able to do this throughout my career."
Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire Sally Joynson also receives Honorary Fellowship today for her instrumental part in growing Yorkshire's screen industries. Since 2012, under her leadership, Screen Yorkshire has supported 50 productions across film and television within the region. The industry has grown faster in Yorkshire than any other part of the UK and she has played a fundamental role in attracting top-class feature film and drama companies to the region.
Sally said: "It's a great honour – and a surprise – to receive this Honorary Fellowship. So much of my work at Screen Yorkshire goes on behind the scenes, and to see it recognised in this way – and by a Yorkshire-based institution – means a great deal to me. It's a real privilege to be the recipient."
Hannah and Sally are two of six outstanding individuals in their fields receiving Honorary Fellowships from Leeds Trinity University this week. Other recipients include Priest and broadcaster Reverend Kate Bottley, entrepreneur Ben Lawton, Professor Edward Spiers and educator Simon Gallacher.
Professor Margaret A House OBE, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, said:
"It is an absolute pleasure to present Hannah and Sally with Honorary Fellowships, and to formally recognise their services to the local community and our institution. They are huge advocates for Yorkshire and we are grateful for the ongoing support they continue to offer to our institution. They are both fully deserving of the award of Honorary Fellow of Leeds Trinity and we are honoured to present them with the award today/"
Hannah and Sally received their Honorary Fellowships from the Rt Hon John Battle, Pro-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University.