[Amsterdam, September 26, 2023]: After being in charge for over a decade, Thomas van Neerbos will resign as Director of the European Press Prize on October 1st. He leaves an organisation that, thanks to him, grew stronger both in name and in numbers, becoming one of the most relevant awards for journalism in the world.
Nienke Venema, Chair of the Board of the European Press Prize: “Thomas has shaped The European Press Prize almost since it was founded. With great talent, hard work and a devotion to quality journalism Thomas has been the centre of developing the organisation, the prizes and their standing in European journalism. Thomas can hand over a true success to his successor, who will be announced shortly.”
Thomas applauding the winners during the 2018 Award Ceremony in Budapest.
11 years supporting journalists
The European Press Prize was founded in 2012 to support and celebrate the journalistic profession, in jeopardy due to external pressures and a changed market.
Thomas van Neerbos was asked by the founding organisations in 2013 to lead this, at the time, small venture into international waters. He did so by focusing on the human side of journalism, on the people who make this profession: journalists. He explains: “By focusing our attention on people we could care for them individually, applaud their individual bravery or sacrifice, their struggles and the results of that struggle: the beautiful work they produced.”
His approach made the Prize grow year by year, starting from a few hundred submissions to reaching over a thousand, coming from everywhere in Europe. The Prize is now a well of stories and talent, with at its core a Community made of passionate professionals who carry on the organisation’s mission: contributing to independent quality journalism in Europe.
Again, Thomas van Neerbos: “Together with that treasure chest of eleven years worth of winning and nominated articles, our Laureates are the true wealth of the European Press Prize. A group of people connected by being the best, being involved in a project selected out of hundreds of entries. Quality journalists that can help each other with new projects and insights, help with collaborations, help each other become better journalists.”
Thomas introducing the 2022 ‘ten year anniversary’ Award Ceremony in Madrid.
Continuing on an established course
The Bureau of the Prize has become, over the years, together with the Preparatory Committee, the core of the organisation.
Building a team of engaged professionals to support quality journalism is what Thomas has called his greatest achievement for the Prize: “I am leaving now to focus on ‘that other job’: speechwriting and speaker coaching – the art of persuasion in all shapes and forms. But I could have never left if the Press Prize was not in very capable hands. I leave next week in the firm knowledge that the Bureau is more professional than ever, and will be able to handle everything thrown at them with care and conviction, and grow this Prize in ways I could never have imagined.”
It is following his teachings that the Bureau of the Prize will continue to work on making this organisation stronger and, above all, sustaining quality European journalism and supporting the community of hundreds of journalists that grew around the Prize.
The Prize Bureau: “Working together with, and under the lead of, Thomas was a privilege, both because of the kindness and the dedication he put into his work and the relationship with his colleagues as well as the Prize’s stakeholders. He will be missed. We learned a lot from him, and we will continue to work following the course that he charted so well.