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The Paul Foot Award 2021
CONGRATULATIONS to the seven teams and reporters shortlisted for the Paul Foot Award 2021 for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism. The overall winner of the £5,000 prize (named after the great campaigning journalist, who died in 2004) will be announced in a live online ceremony on Tuesday 15th June at 6.00 PM, broadcast here:

You can also watch the ceremony live on our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Don't forget to tune in at 6.00 PM!

The list again reflects the diverse nature of modern media, with online outlets joining familiar national and local newspaper titles. Unsurprisingly, the government's handling of the pandemic featured strongly among the topics covered in the entries, although there was also a broad range of quality non-Covid reporting, from lobbying scandals to modern slavery and more.

"The judges were delighted to receive a record number of entries this year," says Padraig Reidy, chair of the judges. "The extremely high standard of the stories put before us, from established outlets and upstart publications alike, made for a rigorous and intense judging process. It was so heartening to see that in a year of unimaginable difficulty for so many, there are journalists across the spectrum committed to finding the stories that make a difference to how we understand the world."

Judge Sir Simon Jenkins added: "Reading the entries, I thought how impoverished we would all have been this past year without those stories being told. They were a vignette of how government needs oversight."

Joining Reidy and Jenkins on the judging panel were Matt Foot, Janine Gibson, last year's winner Alexandra Heal, Julia Langdon, Helen Lewis, Amol Rajan, Kim Sengupta and Francis Wheen. They have selected the following shortlist:

The Shortlist

Robert Smith and team
Financial Times
The unravelling of Lex Greensill
The Financial Times's compelling reporting brought the revolving doors of politics and finance to life and documented former prime minister David Cameron's dubious role lobbying for financier Lex Greensill to have access to Treasury Covid relief schemes.

Matthew Weaver, Pippa Crerar & Jeremy Armstrong
Dominic Cummings/Barnard Castle
A joint entry by the Mirror and the Guardian, the discovery that Dominic Cummings had travelled the length of England in contravention of lockdown rules dominated the news agenda for days and exposed a double standard at the heart of government.

Guardian Investigations Team, with lead reporters Felicity Lawrence and David Conn
Covid and the Conservative chumocracy
The Guardian team's detailed investigation into the Covid-19 procurement practices exposed a chaotic system where cronyism appeared to trump experience in the awarding of millions of pounds of government money.

Harriet Clugston and team
Modern slavery in the UK
Johnston Press's investigations team created a series of stories for local media highlighting the disturbing shortfalls in application of modern slavery legislation, bringing the story home to local newspaper readers across the UK.

Jack Shenker
Death at the Ministry
Focusing on the death due to Covid-19 of Ministry of Justice cleaner Emanuel Gomes, Jack Shenker crafted a compelling story of how government outsourcing and the gig economy combined to condemn migrant workers to suffer some of the worst effects of the pandemic.

Peter Geoghegan, Jenna Corderoy & Lucas Amin
How the UK government is undermining FoI
OpenDemocracy discovered the government's secret Freedom of Information request "clearing house", which singled out unwanted requests from "nuisance" reporters, undermining the free press, government accountability and the entire FoI system.

Jonathan Calvert & George Arbuthnott
Sunday Times
Failures of State: Britain's coronavirus scandal
The Sunday Times's Insight team pulled together a devastating account of how the government overlooked warnings and ignored advice in the first weeks of the pandemic, with catastrophic consequences.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Among this year's record number of entries, the following successfully made it on to the judges' longlist for the Private Eye Paul Foot Award 2021:

The Longlist

Mirren Gidda
Liberty Investigates
BAME people disproportionately targeted by coronavirus fines
Liberty Investigates dived into the data to reveal how enforcement of lockdown laws disproportionately affected members of ethnic minority groups.

Louise Tickle
Young lives in lockdown
Louise Tickle spoke to social workers, teachers and carers to uncover the terrible toll lockdown has taken on the UK's most vulnerable children.

Cahal Milmo & Chris Green
i news
Pontins' travellers blacklist
After a tip from a call centre whistleblower, i news revealed that holiday camp company Pontins kept a secret blacklist of "traveller names" to be discouraged or prevented from making reservations. The Equality and Human Rights Commission ruled that Pontins had broken the law.

Emma Howard
The oil lobby's plan to push plastics across Africa
As revenues from fuel oil look set to decrease, Unearthed told the story of how the global oil industry has identified plastics as the next great battleground, with a global lobbying effort to prevent any restrictions on plastic production.


Queries should be directed to:

Amelia Knight
Midas PR
Tel: 020 7361 7860

The Paul Foot Award was set up in memory of revered investigative journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004.

Paul Foot, an investigative journalist, editor and left-wing campaigner, worked variously for the Daily Record, the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and Private Eye. He was involved in many high-profile campaigns throughout his illustrious career, including the Birmingham Six, the Bridgewater Four and the John Poulson scandal. His accolades include the Journalist of the Year, the Campaigning Journalist of the Year, the George Orwell Prize for Journalism and in 2000 he was honoured as the Campaigning Journalist of the Decade.

Paul Foot died in 2004 at the age of 66.

Private Eye Issue 1549
In This Issue
Arse coverings may still have to be worn after 21 June, confirms health secretary Matt Hancock… England manager calls for pre-match boos ban ahead of Euros… Satire to sue as pro-Leave Wetherspoon boss calls for new visa scheme for EU workers… Newspaper editors regret becoming hooked on filler… Damehood for pandemic heroine who rolled out Strictly Come Dancing across Britain… Tennis star says it’s unfair to see government figures struggle as they refuse to answer questions after poor performances… Closure of Holby City ‘a slap in the face for the fictional NHS’… I’m proud to show off my flabby articles about Kate Winslet, writes Philippa Page… Bob Dylan at 80, as told to Craig Brown

Canine cons
The dodgy dog dealers faking Kennel Club papers

Bashirgate, Pt 94
Hussey, Birt and a BBC blame game

Pandemic update
MD on freedom and that Cummings evidence

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23rd June 2021
Private Eye Issue 1548