The regional journalists shortlisted for their work in delivering public interest journalism

Sam McBride, Harriet Clugston, Conor Matchett, Charles Thomson and Joanna Morris are among the shortlisted regional journalists at the first Media Freedom Awards

Regional news journalists and titles from around the UK have been shortlisted at the inaugural Society of Editors’ Media Freedom Awards.

Announcing the shortlist, Dawn Alford, Executive Director of the Society said: “The nominees for the Media Freedom Awards not only illustrate the excellence of UK public interest journalism, but they also highlight the exceptional courage and determination of journalists both at home and abroad to go to extreme lengths to ensure a story is told despite the difficulties, dangers and barriers they often face in doing so. We look forward to welcoming all those shortlisted — and their colleagues — to the ceremony on 9 November to honour their achievements.”

Other awards presented on the night will include the International News Media Organisation of the Year and the Bob Satchwell Award in memory of the Society’s founding director who was considered a great champion of press freedom before his death last year.

Launched earlier this year, the Awards set the benchmark for a celebration of UK public interest journalism and shine a light on the crucial role that UK journalists play in promoting media freedom, championing the public’s right to know and holding power to account.

Charles Thomson, from Archant’s investigations Unit, is shortlisted in the regional category, along with Conor Matchett from the Scotsman, Harriet Clugston from National World, Joanna Morris from the Northern Echo, Sam McBride from the Belfast Telegraph and Tanya Fowles, who works for Newsquest in Northern Ireland.

The work led by Charles into paedophile rings in East Anglia is also shortlisted in the Freedom of Information award, as is Harriet’s work on the Justice Gap, which exposed differences in conviction rates for sex crimes based on the victim’s race. The two regional entrants will compete against national investigations from Channel 4, the Daily Mail and the Independent.

In the regional campaign of the year campaign, The Glasgow Times is shortlisted twice, once for its Beat the Squeeze campaign aimed at helping people save money, while the Save our Venues campaign was aimed at ensuring a number of buildings which closed during Covid would be re-opened.

Three other Scottish titles are shortlisted too — The Courier and Press and Journal share a nomination for their work to expose sexism in football, while the Greenock Telegraph’s Time to Talk campaign which encouraged people to discuss mental health challenges they were facing, completes the shortlist.

The Portsmouth News campaign to stop a controversial electricity link between the city and Normandy is shortlisted, while the Northern Ireland social affairs site VIEW is shortlisted for a campaign exposing digital exclusion in the area.

The regional investigation of the the year category also shows the power of the local press.

The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday is shortlisted for its work on COP26, while the Scotsman’s Covid Care Home Deaths investigations also make the list. Completing a hat-trick of nominations for regional publisher NationalWorld, its UK-wide website of the same name is shortlisted for its Part-time Parliament campaign which looked at how little time some MPs and peers spend on the full-time jobs.

The Argus in Brighton is shortlisted for its investigation into Sussex police officers being kicked out in secret, while the Sunday Life in Northern Ireland is shortlisted for its work on the South Antrim UDA.

In the broadcast investigation of the year, ITV News Central’s Children In Crisis — Are we Failing Young Minds? is shortlisted.

In the young campaigner of the year award, Sophie Goodwin of the Press and Journal in Aberdeen is the sole regional shortlisted entrant in a field of national rivals, including journalists from the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Metro and Mail on Sunday.

In the young producer of the year category, Rosie Dowling of ITV News Central is shortlisted.



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