I have word from Millbank that white smoke has just emerged from chimney above the glass box in the Sky News studio, meaning that this year's Bob Friend scholar has been chosen.

Many congratulations to Year 2 student Laerke Christensen, who has emerged just ahead after what I'm told was an incredibly difficult decision by the final judging panel: Peter Diapre of Sky News, and Tim Luckhurst and Angela Harrison from the Centre for Journalism.

Finalists Alex Crean, Isabel Muller Eidhamar and Frazer Norwell should also be incredibly proud of their performances today in what is a very high pressure situation. They have all enhanced the centre's reputation greatly.

And thanks too to all students who submitted such high quality pitches for the first round.

Laerke's award will be formally presented next Thursday 22 February at the annual Bob Friend Lecture, to be delivered this year by the BBC's media editor Amol Rajan. We look forward to seeing you all at the Historic Dockyard Church in Chatham. The lecture starts at 7pm.

This year's Bob Friend Scholar is... Laerke Christensen