“Prolific scoop-getter” Gabriel Pogrund, Whitehall editor at The Sunday Times, was recognised as the Journalist of the Year for work that ultimately helped lead to the resignation of BBC chairman Richard Sharp and chief whip Gavin Williamson.
Freelance journalist Ian Birrell was recognised for Public Service Journalism for his work for the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and the i due to his “incomparable” ability to bring public interest investigations to a mass audience.
The 12th annual British Journalism Awards continue to celebrate journalism that shows skill and rigour, is revelatory and serves the public interest.
The 30 winners were whittled down from 800 entries and 180 finalists by an independent panel of 80 judges.
Scroll down for the full list of British Journalism Awards 2023 winners and highly commended finalists
Other winners included ITV’s Tom Bradby as Interviewer of the Year for his sitdown with Prince Harry, The Times for Scoop of the Year with its exposure of British Gas debt agents breaking into the homes of vulnerable people, and The Times again for its Clean it Up campaigning work for Campaign of the Year.
Reach won Innovation of the Year for its work using WhatsApp Communities, The Independent’s Bel Trew won the Marie Colvin Award for her work from Ukraine and Antonia Cundy was named New Journalist of the Year for her investigative work at the Financial Times.
The winners were revealed at a sold-out awards ceremony hosted by comedian Kerry Godliman at London’s Hilton Bankside on Thursday night (14 December).
In his opening comments, Press Gazette editor-in-chief and chairman of the judges Dominic Ponsford said: “Our business is important because it is the one which holds all others to account.
“Squeezed as we are by the dark forces of online advertising technology, under attack by litigious oligarchs and in more danger than ever when reporting on conflicts overseas – tonight is a night to forget all that and celebrate a job well done.”
The awards were supported by headline sponsor Starling Bank along with Amazon, Camelot, Google News Initiative, RenewableUK and YouTube. They supported charity partner the Journalists’ Charity.
The Journalists’ Charity is devoted to assisting members of the profession who fall on hard times. If you can, please help a colleague by making a donation via this link.
Full list of British Journalism Awards 2023 winners and highly commended finalists
Social Affairs, Diversity & Inclusion Journalism
WINNER: Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Vanessa Bowles, Bettina Waked, Jasmine Bonshor, Liza Hodgson, Maria Caramelo, Mohamed Salah, Tim Awford, Rosie Garthwaite and Mustafa Khalili – BBC News
The judges said: “This was a really important piece of journalism with great bravery required by both reporters and sources.”
Highly commended: Maya Wolfe-Robinson, Joseph Harker, Jonathan Shainin, David Olusoga, Gary Younge, Lanre Bakare, Aamna Mohdin, Courtney Yusuf and others – The Guardian
The judges said: “Few publications would be brave enough to subject themselves to such scrutiny.”
WINNER: Mick Brown – The Telegraph
- Inside the private world of Freddie Mercury, with the woman who knew him best
- Phil Spector told me he had ‘devils inside’. One month later, he murdered Lana Clarkson
- The strange case of the British rugby player who disappeared without a trace
The judges said: “This work was shocking, insightful and full of fascinating details. It showed true journalistic skills in breaking down the reluctance of people to talk.”
Highly commended: Ian Birrell – Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday
- I’ve seen the fragility of our way of life, how precious is peace and the need for vigilance against tyranny: Over six gruelling months, IAN BIRRELL has reported on the worst of humanity and also the best – in the courage and heroism of ordinary Ukrainians
- Town of the damned: Few places in Ukraine have suffered more than Izyum, where citizens say they now ‘live in caves’. At least 1,000 have died… and, as IAN BIRRELL found, one brave surgeon worked in medieval conditions to save who he could
- The mothers having their names erased from their children’s birth certificates – by the state
Highly commended: Simon Hattenstone – The Guardian
- My mother, the troll: ‘I think she lost sight of the McCanns’ humanity’
- ‘The crowd were saying, “Kill him, kick him to death”’: what happened to the people who protested against King Charles?
- The man who walked around the world: Tom Turcich on his seven-year search for the meaning of life
The judges praised Birrell’s “exemplary feature writing” and Hattenstone’s “fine writing”.
WINNER: Chris Burn – The Yorkshire Post
- My seven years reporting on Sheffield’s tree scandal
- How campaigners saved 11,000 Sheffield trees from the axe after council tried to jail them
- Sheffield Council misled public and courts over efforts to chop down half of city’s street trees, inquiry finds
The judges said: “The sheer scale of this story is extraordinary. This reporter showed huge tenacity to lift a veil of misinformation, misrepresentation and downright dishonesty.”
Highly commended: Sam McBride – Belfast Telegraph
- Crime scene documents show police were using illegal dump
- PSNI anti-corruption officers accused of corruption over £120 breakfasts, mysterious hotel stays and wine
- PSNI data slipped past FIVE key checks
The judges said McBride’s work showed “defiance of authority and sheer courage”.
Highly commended: Liam Thorp – Liverpool Echo
The judges said Thorp successfully “lifted the lid on a shamefully warped culture in a local authority”.
Health & Life Sciences Journalism
WINNER: Mark Hedgecoe, James Rogan, Simon Gilchrist, Lesley Shields, Xinlan Rose and John Moffat – ITV Exposure
The judges said: “This was journalism which got to the heart of a huge current topic, cutting through the noise and making a difference.”
Crime & Legal Journalism
WINNER: Emily Dugan – The Guardian
- ‘I started shaking’: Andrew Malkinson on being told he is a free man
- Police and CPS had key DNA evidence 16 years before Andrew Malkinson cleared of rape
- Case review chief was in Montenegro during Andrew Malkinson revelations
The judges said: “This was exemplary campaigning work taking place over a number of years and revealing an appalling miscarriage of justice. The story came to represent the failure of the law enforcement, oversight and judicial systems.”
WINNER: Matthew Holehouse – The Economist
- The Conservative Party faces a mutiny in Metroland
- The Conservative Party’s morbid symptoms
- Thatcher, Sunak and the politics of the supermarket
The judges said: “This writer has provided unrivalled and influential coverage of the undercurrents driving the Conservative Party’s languishing poll ratings.”
Highly commended: William Hague – The Times
- Boris Johnson and Liz Truss should fess up to failure
- Stop smartphones stealing kids’ childhoods
- HS2 has gone from shambles to red alert
The judges praised Hague’s “incisive writing and original thinking which often impacts public debate”.
WINNER: Peter Blackburn and Ben Ireland – The Doctor magazine/British Medical Association
The judges said: “These were meaty investigations with a great blend of data and powerful personal stories. They pull few punches but always keep focus on sustaining a strong narrative.”
Highly commended: Samantha Booth – Schools Week
- The Great SEND School Robbery
- ‘Disturbing neglect’ as severely disabled children left to go hungry
- How inclusive are mainstream schools?
The judges praised Booth for “huge investigative effort on a topic which rarely features in national headlines”.
Foreign Affairs Journalism
WINNER: Handa Majed, Ben Ferguson, Nechirvan Mando, Jamie Welham and David Modell – ITV Exposure
The judges said: “This was an absolutely immaculate piece of filmmaking providing forensic reconstruction of a historic maritime disaster with powerful testimony from the family of the victims.”
Technology Journalism, sponsored by Amazon
WINNER: Siân Boyle – The Sunday Times/Daily Mail
- Televisions, smart meters, fridges, doorbells… and even light bulbs: The very real fears Beijing has filled Britain’s homes with gadgets that China can use to spy on us
- Why China doesn’t let its kids loose on TikTok
- Is Big Brother Britain about to become the world’s ultimate surveillance state?
The judges said: “This is a journalist who is ahead of the pack in terms of bringing the big technology themes to a mainstream audience and is completely on top of her brief.”
Built Environment Journalism
WINNER: Jessica Hill – Schools Week
- The ‘ticking time bomb’ leaving schools ‘liable to collapse’
- Councils dawdle on surveying collapse risk building material
- UK public buildings feared to be at risk of collapse as concrete crumbles
The judges said of the winner: “A fantastic piece of journalism and a reminder that sector specialist magazines can and should scoop the national media. Jessica highlighted the problem of aerated concrete in schools with a story that became at national obsession nine months later.”
Personal Finance Journalism
WINNER: Andrew Picken – BBC Scotland News Online
- Tenant urges others to follow after deposit win
- Paramedics say people are getting ill because their homes are so cold
- Parents’ anguish as Dargavel school 1,000 places short after £75m blunder
The judges said Picken had “gone the extra yard with his reporting and provided a voice for people who are often overlooked by the media”.
Highly commended: Katie Morley – The Telegraph
- ‘My partner was scammed out of £500,000, but is he hiding a deep dark secret?’
- Surprising new twist for autistic scam victim who lost £500,000
- ‘I lost £400k after a NatWest wealth adviser referred me to a Ponzi scheme’
The judges described Morley as an “excellent example of a consumer champion”.
Energy & Environment Journalism, sponsored by RenewableUK
WINNER: Jess Kelly, Owen Pinnell, Carole Bertinet, Mohamed Boteen, Nour Altounji, Inam Talib, Azhar Al-Rubaie, Rosie Garthwaite, Mustafa Khalili and Tim Awford – BBC News
The judges said: “This was prescient, influential and thorough. It had the wow factor and was investigative journalism which got results.”
Highly commended: Elisângela Mendonça, Andrew Wasley, Misbah Khan, Grace Murray and Josephine Moulds – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
- Collagen craze drives deforestation and rights abuses
- Polish meat giant supplied superbug-infected chicken to UK shelves
- Mines, pipelines and oil rigs: what HSBC’s ‘sustainable finance’ really pays for
The judges said this was “impactful public interest journalism where the reporters got their hands dirty”.
Highly commended: Rachel Salvidge and Leana Hosea – The Guardian/Watershed Investigations
- Revealed: scale of ‘forever chemical’ pollution across UK and Europe
- Buncefield: the PFAS legacy of ‘biggest fire in peacetime Europe’
- Firm releases almost 800kg of ‘forever chemical’ a year into Lancashire river
The judges said this was “important journalism which involved vital original scientific research”.
Arts & Entertainment Journalism
WINNER: Rachael Healy – The Guardian
- David Walliams recorded making derogatory remarks about BGT contestants
- ‘We’ve had to stop people fighting and urinating in their seats’: the ugly new side of theatre audiences
- Was it worth it? Edinburgh fringe acts give their verdict on the festival
The judges said: “A big talking point at the time and well executed. This was the definition of a good story, something a powerful person does not want in a newspaper.”
Highly commended: Ashleigh Rainbird – Daily Mirror
- David Jason exclusive: The daughter I didn’t know I had
- David Jason’s daughter shock: I’m tickled pink that he’s my dad
- David Jason’s wife: It’s lovely to embrace David’s daughter into our family
The judges said this was a “strong news story, well written and sensitively landed”.
New Journalist of the Year
WINNER: Antonia Cundy – Financial Times
- Oxford university stuck with Sacklers as opioid deaths led others to cut ties
- How Crispin Odey evaded sexual assault allegations for decades
- The fishermen
The judges said Cundy’s work was “powerful journalism, exposing unseen truths” and praised her for taking on “the rich and powerful with fearless reporting”.
Marie Colvin Award
WINNER: Bel Trew – The Independent
The judges said: “Marie would have admired Bel’s self-starting courage. Bel is a journalist who has become one of the leading foreign correspondents in the world in recent years. She began her career as a freelance covering the Arab Spring, based in Egypt until she was detained and expelled by the Egyptian authorities for her reporting.
“We particularly admired her steadfast reporting from Ukraine and her excellent feature documentary on the country’s missing war dead put together without the budget of big broadcasters.”
WINNER: William Ralston – The Guardian
The judges said Ralston’s winning work was “wonderful, professional and in-depth reporting of an issue that is growing in massive significance but has previously been given superficial coverage”.
Highly commended: David Walsh – The Sunday Times
- Why Gareth Southgate has chosen to stay as England manager
- How dementia stole my rugby star husband Fergus Slattery
- Caster Semenya: It is right to insist runner suppresses hormones
The judges said Walsh “consistently covers difficult issues in a sensitive and professional manner, always making his readers think – year after year”.
Campaign of the Year
WINNER: Clean It Up – The Times
The judges said: “Excellent use of data and strong graphics backed up a strongly organised campaign which has made clear progress on tackling a long-standing UK environmental problem.”
Highly commended: The Bruno and Dom project – The Guardian
The judges said: “This was a mighty reporting effort in a noble cause, to ensure that killing a journalist did not kill the story of criminal environmental destruction they uncovered.”
WINNER: Christopher Occhicone – 1843 Magazine, The Economist
The judges said: “These were challenging images documenting the human cost of conflict, captured with subtlety, empathy and honesty.”
Highly commended: Victoria Jones – Press Association
The judges praised Jones’s portfolio of “impactful, elegant historic images”.
Interviewer of the Year
WINNER: Tom Bradby – ITV1
The judges said: “This was a scoop interview that has stood the test of time – and will continue to do so for, probably, years to come. Executed under tight deadlines with no editorial control and great professionalism despite the interviewer’s closeness to the subject. This interview made headlines around the world.”
WINNER: John Ferguson – Sunday Mail
The judges said: “This was a huge piece of investigative journalism which has made a huge difference to the whole leadership of the SNP and so to Scotland itself and will likely have ramifications for the next Westminster general election.”
Highly commended: Steven Swinford – The Times
- Kwasi Kwarteng flew back to UK not knowing he was out
- Boris Johnson deliberately misled parliament on partygate, MPs find
- Tougher transgender guidance for schools is unlawful, Sunak told
The judges praised Swinford’s “great breadth of stories including one real toast-dropper”.
Business, Finance and Economics Journalism, sponsored by Starling Bank
WINNER: Anna Isaac – The Guardian
- ‘I could barely speak. I felt like a ghost inside my own skin’: the month that shook the CBI
- Tesco chair accused of inappropriate behaviour by four women
- Nadhim Zahawi ‘agreed on penalty’ to settle tax bill worth millions
The judges said Isaac’s CBI investigation “was a real scoop which has had wide-ranging impact. It also required long, and very sensitive, research”.
Highly commended: Gordon Rayner – Telegraph Media Group
- Coutts closed Nigel Farage’s account because he didn’t ‘align with their values’
- Bank chief Dame Alison sat next to BBC journalist night before he tweeted claim about Nigel Farage
- Head of NatWest embroiled in Nigel Farage bank scandal
The judges said Rayner’s work featured “detailed reporting and fantastic presentation and helped lead to the boss of one of Britain’s biggest financial institutions resigning”.
WINNER: Sophie Pinkham – 1843 Magazine, The Economist
The judges said this was “brilliant investigative journalism with a kick in the solar plexus. It took headlines, soundbites and government propaganda around immigration and turned into a deeply human story that gets to the heart of the issue”.
Online Video Journalism, sponsored by YouTube
WINNER: Jean MacKenzie – BBC News
The judges described MacKenzie’s work as “engaging, different and distinct, using a great use of online storytelling techniques to provide a voice for oppressed people in one of the most unreported parts of the world”.
Investigation of the Year
WINNER: Dan Neidle – Tax Policy Associates
The judges said: “This was a determined and forensic investigation carried out in the face of continual legal intimidation.”
Highly commended: Ellie Flynn and Alice McShane – Channel 4/Kalel Productions
The judges described this as “culture shifting work which shed light on an important subject”.
Highly commended: Handa Majid, Ben Ferguson, Nechirvan Mando, Jamie Welham and David Modell – ITV Exposure
The judges described this as “an immaculate piece of film-making which movingly gave a voice to some of the most forgotten and vulnerable people in the world”.
Scoop of the Year
WINNER: Exposed: How British Gas Debt Agents Break into Homes of Vulnerable – The Times
The judges said: “This was the big scoop around one of the biggest stories of the year, the cost of living crisis. A big story that mattered to people and made a difference to the way things were done.”
Innovation of the Year, sponsored by Google News Initiative
WINNER: Dan Russell, Jenna Thompson and Rachel Gorman – Reach
The judges said: “This was pioneering use of a tech platform, which is ubiquitous yet under-used by publishers, to deliver meaningful audience engagement.”
Highly commended: Sam Coates, Joe White, Katie Riley, Tom Larkin, Tom Rayner, Edward Clowes and David Mapstone – Sky News/Tortoise Media
The judges described this as a “brilliant way of displaying a complex story with huge public interest”.
News Provider of the Year
WINNER: The Guardian
The judges said: “This title has shone a light on under-reported parts of the world and campaigned for social justice and environmental change with its investigations this year. And it has even investigated difficult truths from its own past while delivering a mass audience and achieving financial sustainability.”
Public Service Journalism
WINNER: Ian Birrell – Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday/the i
The judges said Birrell has “managed to shine new light on the untold stories of victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine with vivid reporting from the frontline of that conflict.
“He has also shown intellectual courage challenging orthodoxies around coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic and championed the rights of same-sex parents in Italy in the face of a far-right government crackdown.
“His range is incredible and his ability to bring public interest investigative journalism to a mass audience incomparable.”
Journalist of the Year
WINNER: Gabriel Pogrund – The Sunday Times
The judges said Pogrund is a “prolific scoop-getter whose reporting helped topple the chairman of the BBC after exposing murky financial details involving the prime minister.
“He also revealed the presence of a paid lobbyist as a close aide to short-lived UK premier Liz Truss and prompted the resignation of chief whip Gavin Williamson over bullying allegations.
“He has also shown his range with deep reporting on an untold tragedy at the heart of Britain’s secret intelligence community.”
Women in Journalism Georgina Henry Award, sponsored by Wiggin
WINNER: Rhiannon Davies – The Scottish Beacon
The judges said: “At a time when local news publishers are under real pressure, The Scottish Beacon gives underserved communities a much-needed voice. It is a truly collaborative project that brings community-based outlets together to hold the powerful to account and to help strengthen democracy. Having already achieved an impressive amount in the short time it’s been running, we can’t wait to see what it brings next.”
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