Category: Bevins Prize
A busy fortnight for End Child Detention Now began with a post by Simon Parker on 16 November in OpenDemocracy – On Her Majesty’s Deceitful Service: The Woolas Case and the Ignoble Lies of the British State.
This was followed by a letter in reply to MP Tom Brake’s defence of the Lib Dem’s role in ‘ending child detention’ – without actually ending it in The Guardian on 18 November.
The Media Show on Wednesday 24 November featured an interview with Clare Sambrook on the ECDN media campaign and winning the Foot and Bevins prizes for investigative journalism. Clare also published a long feature on the history of the End Child Detention Campaign, Children seek the final exit from house of nightmares, in today’s Times (Saturday 27 November) [requires subscription].
At a ceremony in London this evening (Tuesday 9 November) Clare Sambrook was awarded the Bevins Prize for Investigative Journalism and collected its Rat Up a Drainpipe trophy for 2010, for her reports on the website openDemocracy and its UK section, OurKingdom.
Last week she won the 2010 Paul Foot Award and its £5,000 prize. This is the first time a web journalist has won either award.
See Clare’s latest article published on Monday this week here.
For a list of her openDemocracy coverage see here.
Clare is part of the campaign to End Child Detention Now see here.
Read Anthony Barnett here on the originality of her journalistic method of ‘Investigative Comment’ and openDemocracy’s policy of openness.
Clare Sambrook said,
Anthony Bevins set a terrific example of journalism keeping a distance from power, finding his own stories with tenacity and a sense of mischief. I am stunned to find my name linked to his. This is especially welcome to the campaign at a time when the government has completely reneged on its commitment to end child detention.
Anthony Barnett, her editor on the UK section of openDemocracy, OurKingdom said,
Journalism is going to be improved by the best of the web, as shown by Clare’s brilliant writing and sharp and brave reporting. She shows that an outsider with a mind of her own, supported by a great team at ‘End Child Detention Now’ can produce really effective reporting of the highest standards, in a tradition that goes back to William Cobbett.
Oliver Luft, reporting on behalf of the Press Gazette described the presentation:
Presenting her with her prize at the ceremony, in London last night, award trustee Andrew Marr praised the “huge amount of reporterly work” conducted by Sambrook, who he said had straddled the online, printed and the broadcast worlds to “thrust her campaign as hard as she could up the nether regions of those in power”.
“We chose somebody who has operated through newspapers, online and has turned her journalism into a huge campaign,” he said.
“In this country, which is allegedly civilised, at this moment children of people who have come in completely as of right to seek asylum are incarcerated in a way that is utterly against all our best traditions.
“This was a cause that was championed by our winner, which effected the general election campaign… including eminently the Liberal Democrats whose leader denounced the practise and who now as deputy prime minister appears to have done very little about.”
The Bevins Prize is awarded in honour of Anthony Bevins, the leading political journalist who worked for a wide range of newspapers during his career: the Liverpool Post and Echo, the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Times, the Independent, the Observer and the Daily Express. Bevins often seemed to represent an almost one-man stand against what Nick Davies, the journalist and author who appears on this year’s shortlist, has called ‘churnalism’. Wherever he worked, Bevins researched rigorously, and regularly broke otherwise untouched – even ‘untouchable’ – stories. This award in his name aims to encourage and promote that relentless pursuit of truth. The Prize is a bronze statue of a ‘Rat up a Drainpipe’, Bevins’s favourite phrase, capturing the essence of his approach to journalism.
This year’s shortlist included David Cohen who wrote in the Evening Standard about the tragic fate of newborn babies buried four to a plot in paupers’ graves. Sean O’Neil and David Brown who investigated the child sex abuse scandal centred on the Benedictine Monastery and St Benedict’s school for The Times. Nick Davies who wrote extensively on the “dark arts” of phone tapping for the Guardian. Clare Sambrook for openDemocracy, the Guardian and New Londoners on the detention of children in the immigration system. Finally, Jerome Starkey reported on the uncovering of botched action in Afghanistan for The Times.
The judges were: Shami Chakrabarti, Director, Liberty
Colin Hughes, Director, Business and Professional, Guardian News and Media
Paul Lewis, Journalist, The Guardian, 2009 Bevins Prize winner
Ken Livingstone, Former Mayor of London
Andrew Marr, Journalist and Broadcaster
Heather Brooke, Writer, Journalist & Activist
The Bevins Prize was founded in memory of Tony Bevins, the first political editor of The Independent, who died in 2001 after a short illness, to recognise outstanding achievement in investigative reporting. For the first time in the history of the prize, a non-newspaper nominee, End Child Detention Now’s Clare Sambrook has made the shortlist for her investigative reports into the detention of children in the immigration system for openDemocracy.net
On hearing news of the announcement, Clare Sambrook said, ‘This is brilliant news for the campaign and a real credit to the doctors who gathered the evidence of harm to children. All I’ve done is report on how the government and civil servants tried to bury the evidence.’
The award of the Rat Up a Drainpipe trophy will be presented at a reception in central London on 9 November. The six judges include last year’s winner, Guardian journalist Paul Lewis for his reports into the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 riots, journalist Heather Brooke; Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty; Colin Hughes, director of Guardian News & Media; Ken Livingstone and journalist and broadcaster Andrew Marr.
Read the full story in the Press Gazzette.
Clare Sambrook’s campaigns page (contains links to the many end child detention stories she has written and generated).