The shortlist for this year’s Paul Foot Award includes nominations for Guardian, Private Eye and three regional newspaper journalists plus a Salford based local title.
David Leigh and Rob Evans of the Guardian were nominated for their campaign to expose the issue of bribery in the British arms trade. The judges commended their ‘pioneering website’The BAE Files, which access to hundreds of documents from government archives as well as video and audio clips of key players, pictures of the weapons involved and maps.
Other nominations included Phil Baty, of The Times Higher Education Supplement for his exclusives on corrupt behaviour at universities. Baty’s work included revealing a marking scandal at Bournemouth University where the examination papers of students were re-marked so that only three instead of the original 13 students failed.
Deborah Wain, The Doncaster Free Press was nominated for her investigation into corruption at the centre of a new education system in Doncaster. The judges said Wain had unearthed ‘corrupt inner circles have systematically siphoned off funds to serve their own ends”.
Paul Keilthy of the Camden New Journal got an exclusive on Camden Council workers who were running an illicit industry illegally selling the possessions of the aged or infirm who had been transferred to nursing homes or hospitals.
Also nominated was Yorkshire Post journalist Rob Waugh, whose 18-month investigation into wrongdoing in council children’s homes culminated in six whistleblowers who were sacked after talking to the Yorkshire Post, winning a £1 million settlement.
Richard Brooks of Private Eye was commended for a number of stories including revelations about the National Audit Office Controller Sir John Bourn’s travel expenses – which resulted in Bourn having to accept the same spending limits as civil servants.
The final nomination was for the Salford Star publication, a free magazine for Salfordians which the judges said had ‘so irritated’Salford Council for its ‘dogged and proactive approach’that the Council blocked its funding applications and removed minutes from its website to stop the Star reporting on council decisions.
Private Eye and The Guardian set up the Award in memory of Paul Foot, the journalist and left-wing campaigner who died in 2004. The prize of £5000 will be presented on Monday 15th October at The Spin Bar, Millbank Tower, London, with each of the runners up receiving £1000.
The judges for this year’s Award were Brian McArthur (Chair), Ian Hislop, Alan Rusbridger, Bill Hagerty, Clare Fermont, Jeremy Dear and Richard Ingrams.
The shortlist for the Paul Foot Award for Campaigning Journalism 2007 is:
· Deborah Wain of the Doncaster Free Press
· Rob Waugh of the Yorkshire Post
· David Leigh and Rob Evans of The Guardian
· Phil Baty of the Times Higher Education Supplement
· Paul Keilthy of the Camden New Journal
· Richard Brooks of Private Eye
· The Editorial team of the Salford Star