Six investigating teams and individuals shortlisted as finalists for the Paul Foot Award 2020.
They are now in the final phase for the £5,000 prize award and the overall winner will be announced at an online awards presentation on Tuesday 9 June, hosted on the Private Eye website and YouTube.
Reidy’s panel which comprises Francis Wheen, Simon Jenkins, Helen Lewis, Emily Dugan, Janine Gibson, Julia Langdon and Matt Foot – selected the following as the finalist for the awards:
• Kit Chellel, Joe Light & Ruth Olurounbi – Bloomberg Businessweek
Investigation Title: Is one of the world’s biggest lawsuits built on a sham?
Bloomberg Businessweek’s investigation of a case that went from the dancehalls of Ireland to the high court in London via the oil fields of Nigeria was an intriguing account that spanned decades and continents. With clear explanations of complex scams, it told an important tale about how London’s status as a hub of global corporate law can lead to UK politicians lobbying on behalf of the shadier end of international business.
• Charles Thomson – Yellow Advertiser
Investigation Title: Investigation into paedophile police informant
Tenacity on the part of local newspaper the Yellow Advertiser exposed how Essex police protected a known predatory paedophile and police informant, and then tried to stifle the results of an inquiry into the force’s behaviour. The fact that this investigation took place even as the paper faced closure (it has since relaunched) underlines the dedication of its reporter and editor.
• Alexandra Heal – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism/various outlets
Investigation Title: Nowhere to turn: Women say domestic abuse by police officers goes unpunished
Alexandra Heal’s shocking investigation revealed how police forces close ranks when a domestic abuse complaint is made against one of their officers, leaving vulnerable women with no recourse to justice and even more fearful than before. Heal’s reporting has led to a “super complaint” being lodged with the police inspectorate, detailing alleged sexist mishandling of domestic abuse cases perpetrated by officers at 30 out of 43 forces in England and Wales.
• Tom Warren and Katie JM Baker – BuzzFeed News
Investigation Title: WWF’s secret war
Over the course of a year, the BuzzFeed investigations team revealed how one of the world’s biggest and wealthiest wildlife charities, the World Wide Fund for Nature, was complicit in torture and killing by rangers and guards at wildlife reserves, and how the organisation continually tried to ignore or deflect criticism, including through internally commissioned reports. The WWF’s allocation of funds to individuals and organisations suspected of abuses is now being investigated by authorities in the UK and the US.
• Nadine White & Emma Youle – HuffPost UK
Investigation Title: SPAC Nation investigation
Religious movement SPAC Nation was endorsed by politicians and local authorities for its apparently innovative approach to leading young people away from crime. But an in-depth investigation by HuffPost UK found many people who said that the church’s charismatic leaders were living the high life while junior church members were forced to take out loans they could not afford, and even pressured to donate blood to medical trial companies in order to boost the church’s finances.
• Frances Ryan – Guardian/Tribune
Investigation Title: Britain’s disability scandal
Frances Ryan’s reporting has revealed how thousands of people with disabilities have been damaged by years of cuts to welfare. Ryan spoke to women in a range of extreme circumstances, from mentally ill women forced into sex work, to vulnerable people pressured into haggling with social services for legitimately claimed benefits.