Entries open for 2008 Paul Foot Award

Investigative print journalists across the country are being called on to enter the fourth Paul Foot Award, in memory of the campaigning Private Eye and Daily Mirror writer.

The awards, due to take place on 3 November, celebrate the work of individuals, teams of journalists or entire publications. Single pieces or campaigns published between 1 September 2007 and 31 August 2008 can be submitted in the race for the £5,000 overall prize. The five runners-up get £1,000.

Last year’s joint winner of the award, Deborah Wain of the Doncaster Free Press, said that journalists do not need huge resources to win.

“I thought, as a reporter on a weekly in Yorkshire, I’d have little chance of making it on to the shortlist let alone finish up joint winner,” she said.

“My success showed me that reporters on local papers are doing important work every day to hold those in power to account – but often don’t realise its significance to their community and beyond. I’m proof you don’t need a big budget, just a nose for a story and determination.”

Wain’s investigation found that Doncaster Council had mispent £100m on a failed education project. The other joint winners were The Guardian’s investigations team Rob Evans and David Leigh who uncovered that British arms firm BAE Systems had secretly paid more than £1bn to a Saudi prince to maintain the lucrative al-Yamamah arms deal.

The judging panel for the award includes Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, and Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, whose publications are sponsoring the event.

The closing date for entries is 1 September. For more information, including a downloadable application form, go to www.private-eye.co.uk

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