Rosamund Urwin

Sunday Times

Rosamund Urwin, the media editor of The Sunday Times, led the paper’s recent investigation into allegations against the comedian and actor Russell Brand. It was the best-performing story online in the history of the paper and had almost a clean-sweep of all the other newspaper front pages the day after The Sunday Times published the story first on its website.

The investigation, which was in conjunction with colleagues at The Times including Charlotte Wace and with Channel 4, was described by Jon Sopel, host of The News Agents podcast and formerly the BBC’s North America editor, as “truly brilliant reporting: assiduous, tenacious and thorough”. It dominated the public conversation for a week, sparking debates around how much has changed since the MeToo movement was ignited six years ago, institutional culpability, wrongdoing in the TV, film and radio industry, and the possibility of introducing a staged age of consent. Urwin fought incredibly hard for the story, working on it for four years, including during two periods of maternity leave; the story was published while she was on maternity leave after the birth of her second son in May 2023. It was a story that many other journalists had looked into in the past but nothing had previously come to light about the allegations. The story required great sensitivity, and challenging work around corroboration of the accounts. Urwin was also involved in bringing on board Channel 4 in order to increase the power and reach of the story. Other major scoops Urwin delivered in this period included having the first account by a source who had read the Duke of Sussex’s memoir, Spare, of the contents of the book 10 days before its publication. Spare was one of the most secretive book launches in years and Urwin managed to find a source willing to share details including how critical the book was of Prince Harry’s brother, the Prince of Wales, that it contained details of the brothers’ fight and that the Princess of Wales would also receive criticism. This story again was a top performer on The Sunday Times’s website and was very widely followed by other newspapers the next day, crediting the paper’s reporting. A third story that Urwin also broke concerned the former chairman of the BBC, Richard Sharp, who was already in trouble for his relationship with the former prime minister, Boris Johnson. Urwin’s story, which fuelled allegations of cronyism both in politics and the media, revealed how Sharp helped a close friend - at whose wedding he was an usher - to become a paid advisor to the BBC on editorial standards and impartiality. Urwin’s scoops show a dogged reporter with an impressive contacts’ book, who is fuelled by a desire to hold the powerful to account.