The 84 journalism entries for the 2010 Orwell Prize include some of the year’s top scoops.
They include Robert Winnett on MPs’ expenses (Daily Telegraph), David Leigh on Trafigura, Paul Lewis on policing, Ian Cobain on torture, Iran and British hostages in Iraq (all The Guardian), Cathy Newman on British politics (Channel 4 News) and Jonathan Calvert and Claire Newell on the House of Lords (Sunday Times).
There were also entries for campaigning journalism, including Rachel Cooke on library closures ( The Observer) and Stefan Simanowitz on the people of the Western Sahara (freelance).
A record 164 bloggers – nearly double last year’s total of 83 – will do battle in the Blog Prize.
Professional journalists, including BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders and Sky News foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall, will compete with blogosphere heavyweights including Iain Dale and Hopi Sen.
Organisers of the Orwell Prize say there appears to be a ‘Nightjack’ effect after last year’s Blog Prize was won by a pseudonymous detective, with a postal worker (‘Roy Mayall’), a teacher (‘Mr Teacher’), a social worker (named after the main character from 1984, ‘Winston Smith’), a police officer (‘PC Bloggs’) and even a dominatrix (‘sensory regulation’) putting themselves forward anonymously.
They don't seem to be put off by the fact that Nightjack was outed by The Times.
Joining a number of local councillors are MEPs Dan Hannan and Mary Honeyball, and MPs John Redwood and Douglas Carswell. Legal campaigner Jack of Kent (http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/) and exiled Jersey senator, Stuart Syvret (http://stuartsyvret. blogspot.com/) are among the more campaign-oriented entries.
Jean Seaton, director of the Orwell Prize, said: ‘'This year, every journalist who has had a big scoop wants an Orwell Prize as well. At a moment when many revile politicians but are increasingly turning back to politics (because that’s where the big problems we face are solved), the deep books, penetrating journalism and on-the-pulse blogs entered for the Orwell Prize should be on the reading lists of public and politicians alike."
The longlists – of 18 books, 12 journalists and 12 bloggers – will be announced at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival on Wednesday 24th March 2010, where the Prize will be organising a week of political discussion. The shortlists (of 6) will follow on 15th April, and the winners will be announced on 19th May.
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
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