Shortlists for Orwell Prize announced

The shortlists for this year’s Orwell prize were unveiled yesterday at The University of Westminster, Regent’s Street.

Six journalists were shortlisted for the Journalism Prize, emerging from a longlist of 12, from of a record field of 140 hopefuls.

Brian Cathcart (journalist, winner of the Orwell Prize for Books 2000, professor of journalism at Kingston University) and Ian Hargreaves (former editor of The Independent, former director of BBC News and Current Affairs, professor of digital economy at Cardiff University) will be judging the entries which include pieces on 9/11, the London riots and state welfare.

The Shortlisted journalists are:

  • Edward Docx, Prospect Magazine; The Guardian
  • Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian
  • Simon Kuper, Financial Times
  • Paul Lewis, The Guardian; Twitter
  • David James Smith, The Sunday Times

Amelia Gentleman is shortlisted for a third consecutive year and Paul Lewis was also shortlisted in 2010.

Director of the Prize, Jean Seaton, said: ‘Journalists and journalism have had a bruising even shaming year. Yet it has also had a remarkable year of consequential stories told in quite new ways bringing new evidence to bear on important issues. Our shortlist represents the moral heart of reporting at its best.”

This year’s Blog Prize saw seven bloggers shortlisted – instead of the usual six – and included entries on broken bureaucracy, generation vexed and defying the economy.

18 bloggers were longlisted from a record 226 entries and will be judged by Suzanne Moore (journalist at The Guardian and the Mail on Sunday), Hopi Sen (blogger, previously shortlisted and longlisted for the Orwell Prize) and Sean Dodson (Guardian contributor and senior lecturer of journalism at Leeds Metropolitan University).

The shortlisted bloggers are:

  • Alex Massie, Alex Massie (www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassie)
  • Ms Baroque, Baroque in Hackney (http://baroqueinhackney.com)
  • BendyGirl, Benefit Scrounging Scum (http://benefitscroungingscum.blogspot.com/)
  • Lisa Ansell, Lisa Ansell (lisaansell.posterous.com)
  • Rangers Tax-Case, Rangers Tax-Case (http://www.rangerstaxcase.com)
  • Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi (http://rebeccaomonira.wordpress.com)
  • Wiggy, Beneath the Wig (http://beneaththewig.com/)

Six of the seven shortlisted bloggers were writing independently without any formal alignment to a publication. All seven are shortlisted for the first time.

Director of the Prize, Jean Seaton, said: ‘Blogging has a vocal and enthusiastic community. The form is evolving – experts let light into dark professional corners and despite the dominance of the mainstream media (and its accomplishment) blogging still provides a venue for differerent and independent voices.”

Every year, the Orwell prize is awarded for the journalism, book and blog which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition “to make political writing into an art”.

The winners of the Orwell Prizes – each worth £3000 – will be revealed at an awards ceremony at Church House, Westminster, on Wednesday 23rd May, 6.30 for 7pm.

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