Best in a decade of British Journalism Awards revealed - Press Gazette

Best scoop, journalist and investigation in a decade of British Journalism Awards revealed

best british journalism decade awards

To mark ten years of the British Journalism Awards Press Gazette invited newsletter subscribers and former attendees to cast their votes for three special “of the decade awards”.

The categories were: Investigation of the Decade, Scoop of the Decade and Journalist of the Decade. All past winners in these categories were shortlisted.

Launched in 2011 in the wake of the hacking scandal and with the ink barely dry on the Leveson Report, the British Journalism Awards have had serving the public interest at the heart of what they seek to celebrate from the start. Winners also need to show revelation and journalistic rigour.

The event has sought to provide an annual reminder of the huge benefit British society derives from having a robust and probing press.

Our first journalist of the year, David Walsh of The Sunday Times, was recognised for a 13-year investigation which revealed that one of the world’s most celebrated sportsmen – cyclist Lance Armstrong – was a drugs cheat.

The awards were initially dominated by the broadsheets, but in recent years winners have become more diverse – with broadcasters and tabloids entering in bigger numbers.

Over the past two years, Press Gazette has worked hard to ensure the awards are more diverse in other ways. More female judges were recruited as well as those from more varied backgrounds. And helped by funding from Google, Press Gazette has made the event free to enter for women and journalists who are in an ethnic minority who do not have a publisher willing to pay for their entry.

2021 was the first year in which women made up 50% of British journalism Awards winners.

Unlike other major journalism prizes, the British Journalism Awards are open to all journalists wherever they work.

The finalists and winners for our Journalist of the Decade categories are as follows.

Scoop of the Decade finalists:

  • 2012 – Channel 4 Dispatches: Plebgate
  • 2013 – Daily Mirror: Oliver Letwin ‘dumped secret papers in park bins for months’
  • 2014 – Mail on Sunday: Crystal meth shame of bank chief’
  • 2015 – Sunday Times: Swiss prosecutors target Blatter as Prince William demands clean-up’
  • 2016 – Daily Telegraph: My secret father, DNA tests reveal Archbishop of Canterbury’s astonishing family past
  • 2017 – Sunday Mirror: “Labour MP Keith Vaz and the prostitutes in his flat”
  • 2018 – The Times: Oxfam in Haiti: ‘It was like a Caligula orgy with prostitutes in Oxfam T-shirts’
  • 2019 – The Times: ‘Bring me home’, exclusive interview with Shamima Begum
  • 2020 – Daily Mirror/The Guardian: Pressure on Dominic Cummings to quit over lockdown breach
  • 2021 – The Sun – Hancock’s affair with aide

British Journalism Awards Scoop of the Decade winner:

The Times for Oxfam in Haiti

The judges said: “This story was an earthquake created by The Times which is still rumbling on for Oxfam in the UK and around the world. It took brilliant journalism to unearth this story and courage to expose uncomfortable truths about one of the UK’s most popular charities.”

Investigation of the Decade finalists:

  • 2012 – The Times, Tax avoidance schemes of rich and famous exposed
  • 2013 – Sunday Times, The Untouchable: Exposure of gangster David Hunt
  • 2014 – Sunday Times FIFA Files investigation corruption around Qatar World Cup bid
  • 2015 – The Guardian, HSBC Files revealing use of tax havens to avoid paying tax
  • 2016 – The Guardian, The Panama Papers
  • 2017 – Channel 4 Dispatches, Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad
  • 2018 – The Observer, 50m Facebook files taken in record data breach | Channel 4 News, Cambridge Analytica Uncovered
  • 2019 – The Telegraph, Britain’s #MeToo Scandal
  • 2020 – BBC Panorama (with The Sunday Times), War crimes scandal exposed
  • 2021 – Financial Times, Greensill Capital

British Journalism Awards Investigation of the Decade winner:

2016 – The Guardian and BBC Panorama, The Panama Papers

What the judges said:

“The Guardian revealed secret billion-dollar deals linked to Vladimir Putin and David Cameron’s links to a secret offshore fund. This was another vast investigation by The Guardian which shone a light in some of the darkest corners of international finance.”

“The BBC exposed a billion-dollar money laundering ring in Russia and a criminal conspiracy with links to Vladimir Putin. It also showed how Mossack Fonseca helped launder the proceeds of the Brinks Matt robbery and it prompted the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister by revealing his secret offshore company. They managed to break down a vast investigation into a series of compelling stories which had global impact.”

Journalist of the Decade finalists:

2012 – David Walsh, Sunday Times
2013 – Michael Gillard, Freelance/Sunday Times
2014 – Andrew Norfolk, The Times
2015 – Jonathan Calvert, Sunday Times
2016 – Laura Kuenssberg, BBC
2017 – Nick Ferrari, LBC
2018 – Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian
2019 – Robin Barnwell, ITV/Hardcash Productions
2020 – Dan McCrum, Financial Times
2021 – Robert Moore, ITV News

British Journalism Awards Journalist of the Decade Winner:

Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian

Judges said: “Amelia’s work exposing the scandalous treatment of Windrush immigrants was astonishing. It set the agenda for weeks and brought down a Home Secretary (even though the policy came straight from Mrs May). The detail and the case studies were brilliant and everyone followed this story up.”



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette