The Private Eye Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism has been awarded to ROBERT SMITH AND TEAM, FINANCIAL TIMES for their entry on The Unravelling of Lex Greensill. The competition was so close this year that Jack Shenker, Tortoise, was also Highly Commended by the judges for his report Death at the Ministry.
The Financial Times’s compelling reporting brought the revolving doors of politics and finance to life and documented former prime minister David Cameron’s dubious role lobbying for financier Lex Greensill to have access to Treasury Covid relief schemes.
Ian Hislop, the Editor of Private Eye, said: “Great winner. I certainly didn’t lobby for it, and I never rang any of the judges at home or on their mobiles, and if I did it certainly wasn’t more than ten times a day.”
Padraig Reidy, Chair of Judges, The Private Eye Paul Foot Award, said: “This year’s judging meeting was perhaps more keenly argued than ever, with close-run votes and even demands for recounts. The judges in the end decided that Robert Smith and his colleagues at the Financial Times had uncovered an undeniable scoop that says so much about politics and finance in modern Britain – making them worthy winners. But we felt it was also imperative to acknowledge Jack Shenker’s meticulous and compassionate reporting on the plight of migrant workers during the pandemic. The stories reflected, in different ways, Paul Foot’s beliefs about the methods and purpose of journalism.”
As the traditional awards ceremony at BAFTA was unable to take place due Covid-19 restrictions, the awards presentation was broadcast online and can be viewed at www.private-eye.co.uk/eyeplayer, on the Private Eye YouTube Channel and Private Eye Facebook pages. A piece on the winner will run in print issue 1550 of Private Eye, out on Wednesday 23rd June. Interviews with the winner and all the shortlist will also be available to listen to on the Private Eye Page 94 podcast.
THE SHORTLIST NOMINATIONS, IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER BY JOURNALIST, ARE:
Jonathan Calvert & George Arbuthnott Sunday Times
Failures of State: Britain’s coronavirus scandal
Harriet Clugston and team JPIMedia
Modern slavery in the UK
Peter Geoghegan, Jenna Corderoy & Lucas Amin, openDemocracy
How the UK government is undermining FoI
Guardian Investigations Team, with lead reporters Felicity Lawrence and David Conn Guardian
Covid and the Conservative chumocracy
Jack Shenker Tortoise
Death at the Ministry
Robert Smith and team, Financial Times
The unravelling of Lex Greensill
Matthew Weaver, Pippa Crerar & Jeremy Armstrong Guardian/Mirror
Dominic Cummings/Barnard Castle
This year’s judging panel, chaired by Padraig Reidy, Little Atoms, comprised Julia Langdon, Political Journalist and Broadcaster; Sir Simon Jenkins, The Guardian; Helen Lewis, New Statesman; Francis Wheen, Private Eye; Amol Rajan, BBC; Matt Foot, criminal defence solicitor; Kim Sengupta, independent.co.uk; Janine Gibson, FT and Alexandra Heal, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism who won the 2020 Paul Foot Award.
Set up in memory of revered journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004, the award honours the UK’s most brilliant, talented and determined journalists working in the fields of investigative and campaigning journalism today.
www.private-eye.co.uk @PrivateEyeNews #paulfootaward
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