The Hackney Gazette has seen off competition from The Times, Guardian and Daily Mail to win this year’s Paul Foot Award for campaigning and investigative journalism.
Emma Youle of publisher Archant’s investigations unit won the £5,000 prize for: “The hidden homeless: £35m to keep the homeless homeless“.
The east London-based weekly has circulation of just under 2,000 copies per week – roughly a thousand times smaller than the daily circulation of the Mail.
The campaign ran over five weeks, revealing the borough’s enormous but hidden homeless problem and highlighting the thousands who are living in temporary accommodation.
The awards citation said: “Emma Youle used a combination of freedom of information requests, undercover reporting, witness testimony and digging through records to reveal human stories and institutional failing.
“The campaign resulted in the Hackney Gazette securing commitments from local politicians and authorities to devote more energy to solving the borough’s problems, rather than hiding them. Every one of the hostel residents who featured in articles for the campaign have since been placed in more suitable rented accommodation.”
Paul Foot Awards chair of judges Padraig Reidy said: “Emma Youle’s Hidden Homeless campaign combined investigation and campaigning to shed light on a problem many people don’t realise is happening right in front of our faces.
“She has made a difference to people’s lives, which is the best a journalist can hope for. It’s also important to recognise that in an age of squeezed resources for local papers, a brilliant journalist like Emma is given the support to pursue a story like Hackney’s Hidden Homeless.”
This year’s other finalists (each receiving £1,000) were:
- Daniel Balint-Kurti & Leigh Baldwin, Global Witness – The Deceivers Katherine Faulkner, Daily Mail – How Royal Mail helps conmen defraud the elderly
- Will Hurst, The Architects’ Journal – The Garden Bridge investigation
- Billy Kenber, The Times – Drug company profiteering
- Maeve McClenaghan & Crina Boros, Energydesk – Big fish barons squeeze out small-scale fishermen.
- Daniel Taylor, The Guardian/The Observer – Football’s sexual abuse scandal.
The Paul Foot Awards are run by Private Eye magazine in memory of the campaigning journalist of the same name. Youle is pictured (top) with Private Eye editor Ian Hislop.