RUNNER UP

Linda Geddes
New Scientist

The truth about DNA

DNA is considered the gold standard in forensic science; and recent reports highlighting some of the failings in other forensic disciplines, such as fingerprints and bite-mark analysis, have only confirmed DNA analysis as the way forensic science should be practised.

Mock trials show that jurors are more likely to convict when presented with DNA evidence than with other kinds of evidence. And DNA profiling is generally viewed as objective, reliable and scientific. But is it infallible? And if not, could the growing reliance on DNA analysis trigger the same sort of miscarriages of justice that have clouded the reputations of other forensic disciplines?

Linda Geddes has investigated whether the interpretation of DNA profiles is truly objective, or whether subjectivity and bias could be an issue in certain cases. Although the potential for subjectivity in DNA analysis has been raised by defence lawyers and several prominent academics in recent years, this is the first attempt to actually quantify it in any formal way.

By demonstrating that DNA interpretation is subjective, she has shown that the difference between prison and freedom could rest on the opinions of a single individual. Her investigation has profound implications for criminal justice worldwide.

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The Paul Foot Award 2024

Open for submissions

The Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism is now accepting submissions for the year 2024.

The Award was set up in memory of revered investigative journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004. The winning entry will be awarded £8,000 at an Awards Ceremony on 11th June 2024.


Download the Entry Form [PDF] here

Entries to be received by 1pm on Tuesday 26th March 2024. The closing date for entries is final, no extension can be offered. Submissions received after the closing date will not be eligible for entry.

Entries should be submitted as PDFs by EMAIL only to: awards@private-eye.co.uk marked THE PAUL FOOT AWARD 2024.

No entries will be accepted by post.


Entry Details

Submissions will be accepted for material that has been published in a newspaper or magazine in the UK, or on a website, between 1st April 2023 and 26th March 2024. No broadcast material is eligible. Individual journalists, teams of journalists or entire publications may enter and entries will be considered for anything from single pieces to entire campaigns. Journalists are welcome to enter more than one campaign, but each campaign needs to be submitted using a separate entry form. Maximum of 2 entries.

Please submit all relevant material (including a covering letter, which should be no longer than two A4 pages, typed and providing an overview of your campaign, eg brief history/context, key challenges, key milestones etc). Please return this form with your submission. Copies of articles should be in the format the articles originally appeared (either in print or online).

If your campaign featured regularly throughout the year, you are not required to submit every story that was published – we would suggest sending in copies of a selection of key coverage that highlights campaign milestones, and listing the other stories that appeared on an A4 sheet, with the date on which they were published.


Queries

Queries should be directed to:

Emily Laidlaw
Midas PR
Tel: 07384 268 734
Email: Emily.Laidlaw@midaspr.co.uk


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.

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