Foot inspires investigative award

An annual journalism prize worth £10,000 is being launched to remember Paul Foot.

The campaigning journalist died last July, aged 66, after a career which included writing a campaigning column for the Daily Mirror and stints at Private Eye , The Guardian and Socialist Worker .

At Private Eye he exposed the Poulson affair, in which politicians were bribed to give lucrative contracts to builders and architects.

It led to the jailing of the leader of Newcastle City Council and the resignation of the Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling.

Foot also helped secure the releases of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, the Bridgewater Four, the Cardiff Three and the Swansea Two, and he long argued the innocence of James Hanratty, hanged in 1962 for the A6 murder.

The Paul Foot Award is being funded in perpetuity by Private Eye and The Guardian and the first is due to be presented in October.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop came up with the idea in consultation with the Foot family.

Rusbridger said: “We wanted to do something that would be true to his spirit and reward the kind of journalism that he believed in.We thought this would be the best way of remembering his life and perpetuating the kind of work that he did. We think it could especially appeal to freelances because investigative journalism is expensive and time consuming and it’s quite difficult for freelances to make an economic case for doing it.”

The award is likely to be judged by Rusbridger, Hislop, Bill Hagerty (editor of the British Journalism Review) and a representative from the NUJ. Entries should be sent to the offices of The Guardian or Private Eye , for the attention of Hislop or Rusbridger, by August.

By Dominic Ponsford

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