Campaigning journalism honoured at Media Freedom Awards

Posted on: November 9, 2022 by Claire Meadows

Excellence in campaigning and investigative journalism was last night honoured at the Society of Editors’ inaugural Media Freedom Awards.

Held at the prestigious Globe Theatre in London and attended by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michelle Donelan MP, the high-profile awards brought together more than 200 journalists from all sectors of the UK news media industry.

Presented by ITV News’ Lucrezia Millarini and held in partnership with WeShop, the big winners of the evening included the Daily Mirror (pictured) which was crowned the News Media Organisation of the Year while open-source platform Bellingcat was named the International News Media Organisation of the Year.  The evening also saw PA Media presented with the Judges’ Media Freedom Award by the Culture Secretary for its championing of open justice on behalf of the wider news industry.   

Announcing the winners Dawn Alford, Executive Director of the Society said: “The winners of the Media Freedom Awards highlight not only the exceptional standard of public interest journalism but also the courage, dedication and bravery of journalists in the UK who often operate in dangerous and life-threatening situations both at home and abroad. We are honoured to recognise their outstanding achievements and thank them for the vital work that they do to hold power to account and report on behalf of the public.”

The Daily Mirror dominated the awards with former Political Editor Pippa Crerar named the Journalist of the Year National and Political Journalist of the Year for her Partygate scoops. The paper also won Investigation of the Year national for its headline-dominating reports into Covid lockdown-breaking at the heart of government.

The Daily Mail took home the Campaign of the Year National for its exposé into the dangers of Smart Motorways as well as the Young Campaigner Award for reporter Isaan Khan for his investigations into allegations of racism at Yorkshire Cricket Club.

The Freedom of Information Award – given for the best use of an application under the Freedom of Information Act – was also awarded to the Mail for its exclusive into gaping cracks in the justice system that had allowed more than 22,000 outstanding warrants to go unchecked for individuals that had failed to turn up at court.

Big regional winners included The News, Portsmouth which won the regional Campaign of the Year for its campaign against proposals for the controversial £1.2bn Aquind interconnector between France and Portsmouth while

Belfast’s Sunday Life took home the Regional Investigation of the Year for its Remembrance Sunday exclusive into a “show of strength” by one of Northern Ireland’s biggest crime and paramilitary groups, the South East Antrim UDA.

The Scotsman’s Connor Matchett was named Regional Journalist of the Year for work that included the exclusive that ministers had intervened in the publication of Covid care home death figures ahead of the 2021 Holyrood election.

Broadcast winners included the BBC’s Panorama programme for its investigation into the Post Office Scandal while Sky News’ Alex Crawford was awarded the Foreign Correspondent of the Year accolade for reports from Afghanistan and Ukraine. ITV’s Rosie Dowsing took home the Young Producer of the Year Award while Channel 5’s Katie Goodman and Christina Michaels were jointly awarded the News Producer of the Year prize.

Other big winners on the night included The Voice Newspaper which was bestowed the Judges’ Special Award in honour of 40 years of campaigning for the community. Founded in 1982, the paper remains Britain’s only surviving black newspaper and continues to champion diversity across all industries.

The Bob Satchwell Award – in memory of the Society’s founding director who died in 2021 – was awarded to the individuals and organisations behind the campaign for cameras in the crown courts which earlier this year saw sentencing remarks broadcast from the Old Bailey in a landmark legal-first.

Supporters for the event included Camelot, the Google News Initiative and Newsworks.

Photos from the event can be downloaded here. Credit: SWNS

Media Freedom Awards 2022

Bob Satchwell Award
Winner: Cameras in Crown Courts

Judges’ Special Award
Winner: The Voice Newspaper

Investigation of the Year – National
Winner: Partygate, Daily Mirror
Highly Commended: Agnes Wanjiru, The Sunday Times

Investigation of the Year – Regional
Winner: South East Antrim UDA, Sunday Life
Highly Commended: Shoebury Paedophile Ring, Newsquest South East

Investigation of the Year – Broadcast
Winner: The Post Office Scandal, BBC Panorama
Highly Commended: Maternity Scandal: Fighting for the Truth, BBC Panorama

Podcast of the Year presented by the Google News Initiative
Winner: Bed of Lies, The Telegraph and Hot Money, Financial Times
Highly Commended: Silenced, Article 19 and War on Truth, BBC Radio 4

Freedom of Information Award
Winner: Police let 22,000 suspects roam free, Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Paedophile ring files, Newsquest South East

Campaign of the Year – National presented by Newsworks
Winner: Smart Motorways, Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Asylum and immigration, The Guardian and War on Food Waste, The Mail on Sunday

Campaign of the Year – Regional presented by Camelot
Winner: Aquind campaign, The News, Portsmouth
Highly Commended: Beat the Squeeze, Glasgow Times

Journalist of the Year – National
Winner: Pippa Crerar, Daily Mirror
Highly Commended: Gabriel Pogrund, The Sunday Times

Journalist of the Year – Broadcast presented by WeShop
Winner: Alex Crawford, Sky News
Highly Commended: Paul Brand, ITN

Journalist of the Year – Regional
Winner: Conor Matchett, The Scotsman
Highly Commended: Charles Thomson, Newsquest South East

Young Campaigner of the Year
Winner: Isaan Khan, Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Emily Braeger, Daily Express

Young Producer of the Year
Winner: Rosie Dowsing, ITV News Central
Highly Commended: Marta Santiváñez, Times Radio 

Foreign Correspondent of the Year
Winner: Christina Lamb, The Sunday Times
Highly Commended: Alex Crawford, Sky News

Political Journalist of the Year
Winner: Pippa Crerar, Daily Mirror
Highly Commended: Paul Brand, ITN

Freelance journalist of the Year
Winner: Ian Birrell, Daily Mail, UnHerd and The i
Highly Commended: Lucy Osborne, The Guardian

Commentator of the Year
Winner: Marina Hyde, The Guardian
Highly Commended: James Marriott, The Times

Photo Journalist of the Year
Winner: Jack Hill, The Times
Highly Commended: Simon Townsley, The Telegraph

News Producer of the Year
Winner: Katie Goodman and Christina Michaels, Channel 5 News

Judges’ Media Freedom Award
Winner: PA Media

International News Media Organisation of the Year presented by WeShop
Winner: Bellingcat
Highly commended: Bloomberg

News Media Organisation of the Year presented by WeShop
Winner: Daily Mirror
Highly Commended: The Sun and The Sunday Times