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Sir Tom Hopkinson Lectures

Tom Hopkinson

The Sir Tom Hopkinson Lectures honour one of Britain’s journalistic pioneers and the founder of the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University.

Henry Thomas Hopkinson began his journalistic career at Weekly Illustrated, which pioneered the introduction of photojournalism into the UK press and later Picture Post, where he was appointed Editor in 1940.

Picture Post was a hugely successful international news magazine, carrying ground-breaking photo essays of World War Two and catalysing public debate around progressive postwar reconstruction.

In 1950, early in the Korean War, Hopkinson tried to publish a story critical of the South Korean government’s inhumane treatment of POWs; the magazine’s proprietor first attempted to kill the story and then sacked him.

Widespread press coverage defended Hopkinson’s effort to fulfil his ‘public duty’ in publishing the facts of a controversial story.

Subsequently, he moved to South Africa, becoming Editor of Drum magazine and an ardent critic of apartheid.

In 1960, he published the first photographs of the Sharpeville massacre, where police opened fire on unarmed protestors, killing 69 and injuring hundreds more.

After he left Drum, he taught journalism in universities before becoming founding director of the Centre for Journalism Studies at University College Cardiff from 1970-to 1975. He was knighted in 1978.

Hopkinson advocated for journalism’s function in a democratic society, saying: “A free press is the most watchful sentry of the state. A ‘yes’ press is fatal to good government”. These words are writ large on the exterior of the school and formative in our research and teaching.

Laura Trevelyan 2024

Dr Matt Walsh - Laura Trevelyan
Dr Matt Walsh and Laura Trevelyan

Journalist, reparative justice campaigner and Cardiff University alumna Laura Trevelyan delivered the inaugural Sir Tom Hopkinson Lecture on Wednesday 6 March 2024.

The talk, ‘Confronting the Past - the importance of acknowledgement and repair’, discussed why it’s been important for members of the Trevelyan family to confront their ancestors’ past as slaveowners on the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Laura challenged Britain’s institutions to openly discuss their connections to the slave trade and move swiftly to safeguard the future of rare historical documents.