Third year Film Studies student and investigative journalist Fran Hughes reports from the screening of Lyra (2022) at Coventry Cathedral:
Last year I was chosen to participate in the Centre for Investigative Journalism's Lyra McKee Bursary that was founded in memory of murdered journalist Lyra Mckee. I received valuable free journalistic mentoring and training. It was an amazing experience that made me believe in myself. This experience has further fuelled my desire to pursue journalism after graduation. At the end of the scheme, I pitched an idea to open Democracy about the negative effect of Disabled Students' Allowance changes which was subsequently published.
On Saturday 18th of March 2023 I watched the new documentary Lyra (2022) at Coventry Cathedral where Professor Helen Wheatley and Professor Michele Aaron were part of a panel discussion uncovering the origins and the making the documentary. When Lyra was killed, so much of the media coverage focused on the details of her death. By watching the documentary, I learned more about Lyra's life, passions, tenacity as a journalist and infectiously optimistic personality. Her motivation to amplify unheard voices really resonated with me. The use of videos and audio of Lyra working made the documentary so vivid. I got to understand her drive in her own words, as well as accounts from the people that knew her best.
Fran Hughes with Nichola McKee Corner and John Corner
After the panel discussion I met Lyra's sister Nichola and Nichola's husband John. It was so special to be able to meet her family and connect with them. I thanked them for the work they are doing to channel their grief into creating positive change. They are truly continuing her legacy by breaking down barriers into Investigative Journalism. I hope to use the skills I learned from the scheme in my future work.
Applications for the 2023 Lyra Mckee Bursary Scheme are still open. Apply or share the opportunity with someone you know that is interested in investigative journalism. The deadline is 9th April.
If you want to learn more about Lyra, watch the documentary when it becomes more widely available on Channel 4 and All 4 in May. Faber have also published a collection of her work called Lost, Found, Remembered which is so important in keeping her memory alive.