Paul Foot Award

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The Paul Foot Award is an award given for investigative or campaigning journalism, set up by The Guardian and Private Eye in memory of the journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004.

The award, which was first given in 2005, is for material published in print or online during the previous year. The prize fund totals £10,000, with £5,000 given to the winner and £1,000 to each of five runners-up.[1] The award was discontinued in 2015, but other journalistic awards offered by The Guardian and Private Eye in Paul Foot's name are expected to be offered in 2016.[2]


2005: John Sweeney of the Daily Mail for his investigation into "Shaken Baby Syndrome" which led to the wrongly imprisoned mothers Sally Clark, Angela Cannings and Donna Anthony being freed and resulted in the exposure of the prosecution's chief witness, the eminent paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow.

2006: David Harrison for his investigation into sex trafficking in Eastern Europe published in The Sunday Telegraph.

2007: Shared by Deborah Wain (Doncaster Free Press) for her exposé of corruption in the Doncaster Education City project and by David Leigh and Rob Evans (The Guardian) for their investigation into bribery in the British arms trade.[3]

2008 The top prize of £3,000 each was awarded to Camilla Cavendish of The Times for an investigation into the many injustices which have resulted from the Children Act 1989 and the professional cultures that have grown up around child "protection"; and Richard Brooks (journalist) of Private Eye for his investigation into the mismanagement and financial irregularities surrounding the sale of the UK government's international development business, Actis. Four runners-up, including Andrew Gilligan of the London Evening Standard, were each awarded £1,000.[4]

2009: At a presentation ceremony at the Spin Bar in London's Millbank Tower on 2 November 2009, the £5,000 Paul Foot Award for Campaigning Journalism 2009 was awarded to Ian Cobain of The Guardian for his long-running investigation into Britain’s involvement in the torture of terror suspects detained overseas. Five runners-up received £1,000 each.[5]

2010: Clare Sambrook for her investigating, reporting and campaigning against the government policy of locking up asylum-seeking families in conditions known to harm their mental health, and scrutinising the commercial contractors who run the detention centres for profit. A Special Lifetime Campaign Award of £2,000 was also presented to Eamonn McCann for his 40 years of campaigning journalism on behalf of the victims of Bloody Sunday. Each of the runners-up on the shortlist received £1,000. These were, in alphabetical order:

Jonathan Calvert and Clare Newell (Sunday Times) on MPs and peers seeking cash for influence.
David Cohen (Evening Standard) on the plight of the poor in London, including children's poverty and the continuing existence of paupers' graves in the capital.
Nick Davies (Guardian) on phone-hacking conducted by the News of the World when Andy Coulson, later the government's director of communications, was editor.
Linda Geddes (New Scientist) on evidence that DNA tests are not always accurately interpreted.[6]

2011: Nick Davies (The Guardian and guardian. for a series of articles that helped to expose the scale of phone-hacking at the News of the World, beginning in July 2009 with the first report that phone hacking went beyond a single jailed journalist. Two years later, Davies, with colleague Amelia Hill, revealed that the News of the World had targeted voicemails left for the missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler, which led to a public backlash against the Sunday tabloid. The award organising committee praised Davies for his "dogged and lonely reporting" the impact of which forced "a humbled Rupert Murdoch to close the News of the World and abandon his planned buyout of the satellite broadcaster, BSkyB, and forced the country's most senior police officer to resign.[7] The judges commented that "This award is recognition of the cheering truth that the best journalism exposed the worst." [8] Runners-up were Jonathan Calvert and Claire Newell for their The Sunday Times articles exposing corruption in FIFA.[8] Also nominated were:[9]

Jon Austin (Basildon Echo) - Dale Farm evictions.
Katherine Quarmby (The Guardian, The Times, Mail on Sunday, Prospect magazine and others) - Disability hate crime awareness.
David Rose (Live magazine, Mail on Sunday/Mail Online) - UK aid to India.
Zoe Smeaton (Chemist + Druggist magazine, UBM Medica) - Government payment errors to community pharmacists.
Jerome Taylor (The Independent) - Open justice and the Court of Protection.
Mark Townsend (The Observer) - Exploitation of women and children trafficked into the UK.

2012: Andrew Norfolk (The Times) for "a two-year investigation into the grooming and sexual exploitation of teenage girls". The runner-up was Rob Waugh (Yorkshire Post) for his exposure of mis-spending by senior officers of Cleveland Police and abuse of power by ACPO and CPOSA. A Special Campaign Award was made to Stephen Wright (Daily Mail) for his "tireless reporting over 15 years" on the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation and Justice for Stephen campaign.[10] Also nominated were:[11]

Tom Bergin (Thomson Reuters) - Corporate tax avoidance by Vodafone and Starbucks .
Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake (Sunday Times) - Tory treasurer sells access to PM/Retired generals lobby for defence contracts.
Ted Jeory (Blog: - Corruption in the borough of Tower Hamlets.
Alexi Mostrous and Fay Schlesinger (The Times) - Secrets of the tax avoiders.
Claire Newell, Graeme Paton, Holly Watt and Robert Winnet (Daily Telegraph) - GCSE and A-level examiners advising teachers on how to improve pupils’ results.

2013: David Cohen - (Evening Standard) for his work on gangs, which was part of the Standard’s Frontline London campaign. The Guardian’s Snowden team (James Ball, Julian Borger, Nick Davies, Nick Hopkins, Paul Johnson and Alan Rusbridger) received a Special Investigation Award for its investigation into the extent of mass surveillance undertaken by GCHQ - The Snowden Files: How GCHQ watches your every move. Also nominated were:

Tom Bergin (Reuters) - Corporate tax practices.
Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake (The Sunday Times) - Westminster for Sale.
Aasma Day (Lancashire Evening Post) - Life on the margins of society: Preston Twilight Investigation.
James Dean (The Times) - Fakes, fraud and forgery in Lloyds selling scandal.[12]

2014: (joint winners) - Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake (Sunday Times) for the Fifa Files as well as Richard Brooks and Andrew Bousfield (Private Eye) for "Shady Arabia and the Desert Fix".[13] Also nominated were:

Richard Pendlebury (Daily Mail) - "Migrant Lives".
Claire Newall, Holly Watt, Claire Duffin and Ben Bryant (Daily Telegraph) - Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid.
George Monbiot (The Guardian) - "How farmers caused the floods".
Mark Townsend (The Observer) - "Sexual abuse of women at Yarl's Wood".
Dominic Ponsford and William Turvill (Press Gazette) - "Save Our Sources".


  1. ^ The Paul Foot Award for campaigning journalism (archive). Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  2. ^ Greenslade, Roy (13 November 2015). "Paul Foot investigative journalism award discontinued after 10 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Greenslade, Roy (16 October 2007). "Foot award winners keep investigative journalism light burning bright". Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Camilla Cavendish and Richard Brooks win Paul Foot award". London: The Guardian. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "The Paul Foot Award for Campaigning Journalism 2009". Private Eye. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Paul Foot Award for Campaigning Journalism 2009". Private Eye. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Dan Sabbagh, "Nick Davies wins award for hacking exposé", The Guardian, 29 February 2012, p5.
  8. ^ a b "Paul Foot Award 2011", Private Eye issue 1309, 23 February 2015, p6
  9. ^ "The Paul Foot Award 2011", Private Eye issue 1308, 24 February 2012
  10. ^ "The Paul Foot Award 2012", Private Eye, issue 1335, 8 March 2013
  11. ^ "The Paul Foot Award 2012", Private Eye, issue 1334, 23 February 2015
  12. ^ "The Paul Foot Award 2013", Private Eye
  13. ^ "The Paul Foot Award 2014", Private Eye

See also[edit]