Camilla Cavendish of The Times and Richard Brooks of Private Eye have been jointly awarded the Paul Foot Award for campaigning journalism.
Cavendish was awarded for her report on injustices which have resulted from the 1989 Children Act and the professional cultures that have grown up around child protection.
Brookes was recognised for his investigation into the financial irregularities and mismanagement behind the sale of the governmental development business Actis.
The Paul Foot Award was set up by Private Eye and The Guardian in memory of Foot, the journalist and left-wing campaigner who died in 2004.
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said Foot would have admired the two winners for very different reasons.
He said: ‘Richard Brookes is a digger and a troublemaker who niggles away at difficult subjects in a meticulous, punchy and highly effective way.
“Camilla Cavendish would have appealed to Paul’s campaigning heart for the way in which she pursued one story through thick and thin. Both are extremely worthy winners in the Foot tradition.”
Private Eye editor Ian Hislop added: ‘The standard was so high this year that the judges had to give a joint award, shared by a forensic financial investigation into a government scandal and a dogged critical campaign against legal injustice.
“Both are firmly in the tradition of first-rate journalism that Paul Foot exemplified.”
The prize was presented at The Spin Bar, Millbank Tower, London last night, with the winners splitting £6,000 and the four runners up receiving £1,000 each.
The judges for this year’s award were Clare Fermont, Bill Hagerty, Ian Hislop, Richard Ingrams, Brian MacArthur, Alan Rusbridger and Michelle Stanistreet.