Waylon Cunningham

Sir Harry Evans Fellow in Investigative Journalism – 2023

Headshot of Waylon CunninghamTexas-based journalist and photographer Waylon Cunningham is the first recipient and first fellow of the Sir Harry Evans Global Fellowship in Investigative Journalism which involves pursuing a six-to-nine-month investigative project from inside the Reuters newsroom in London.  He will be mentored by top Reuters editors in the field and have access to Durham University academics and research resources. His Fellowship concludes in October 2023.

Waylon Cunningham is an award-winning investigative journalist with an eye for “conceptual” scoops. His approach weaves together data analysis and traditional shoe-leather reporting. All the best stories come from tips.

He has has published his work in the Los Angeles Times, the Austin Chronicle, the Texas Observer, the Liberty Hill Independent and the Maryville Daily Times. His beat at the San Antonio Report is business and technology.  

For the Los Angeles Times, he unmasked a secret gang inside the sheriff’s department. His longform feature showed how the department had fired these deputies, then was forced to rehire most of them with backpay, even while one deputy faced felony criminal charges. In San Antonio, Texas, he chronicled how amateur investors exploiting regulatory loopholes caused chaos in working class apartment complexes across the city. His work was credited with reforms to the city’s inspections process. In East Tennessee, he won the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Reporting from the Tennessee Associated Press, for his series showing how a local government’s new insurance program inadvertently pushed mom-and-pop pharmacies to the brink of bankruptcy. His coverage of the ongoing opioid crisis also won recognition from the Tennessee Press Association.

He graduated summa cum laude with a master’s degree from the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California, and was the recipient of the 2020 Selden Ring Fellow for Investigative Journalism. He was award a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Oberlin College in 2016.

About the Sir Harry Evans Global Fellowship in Investigative Journalism

The Sir Harry Evans Global Fellowship in Investigative Journalism is part of a program honouring celebrated British-born journalist, editor and author Sir Harry Evans, one of the pioneers of modern investigative journalism. Sir Harry (1928-2020) was an undergraduate at University College, Durham, and became internationally celebrated as the crusading editor of The Sunday Times under the paper’s ownership by Lord (Roy) Thomson. The work he spearheaded throughout his career, from corporate investigations to revelations of government wrongdoing and incompetence, created a model for reporting in the public interest and demonstrated the real-world impact journalism can have.

The fellowship launched in Sir Harry’s honour is designed to give promising early-career journalists the opportunity to develop rigorous, fact-based reporting skills. The fellow will be supported by Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study, which hosts projects and international fellows working across academic disciplines

Alongside the investigative journalism fellowship, the Sir Harry Evans Memorial Fund will launch an annual, agenda-setting forum on the journalism profession, the Sir Harry Evans Global Summit in Investigative Journalism. The first takes place on May 10 and 11, 2023 at RIBA London.

Find out more about the Sir Harry Evans Memorial Fund.