British Journalism Awards: '6x9' Scoops VR Honour

British Journalism Awards: '6x9' Scoops VR Honour
December 7, 2016

Guardian scoops three prizes at British Journalism Awards - Prizes include investigation of the year for Panama Papers and honours for Sports Direct exposé and 6x9 virtual reality project.


The Guardian has won three British Journalism Awards – more than any other news organisation – including investigation of the year for its stories that exposed how the former prime minister David Cameron benefited from an offshore fund set up in a tax haven by his father.


Guardian journalists accepted the award jointly with a team from BBC Panorama for their reporting on a huge leak of emails from law firm Mossack Fonseca, billed as the Panama Papers, which exposed how Cameron and other world leaders, including Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, kept details of their wealth private from tax officials and the public.


Announcing the prize, which was sponsored by Transparency International, 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.”

Above: The front page that exposed how David Cameron benefited from an offshore fund set up in a tax haven by his father. Photograph: Guardian

The business, finance and economics journalism prize went to Simon Goodley, the Guardian’s business reporter, for his exposés of the retail chain Sports Direct’s underpayment of workers, which the judges described as “great public interest journalism”.


“Simon Goodley’s undercover investigation into life at Sports Direct’s Derbyshire warehouse was business journalism which got results, prompting the company to ensure staff were paid at least the minimum wage and make other concessions,” they said in their citation.


The third prize for Guardian journalists was for digital innovation, awarded for the groundbreaking 6x9 – a virtual reality experience of solitary confinement. “Crusading journalism at its 21st-century best, and very powerful storytelling indeed,” the judges said.


“The use of virtual reality was a genuine innovation and was accompanied by video, podcasts, personal narratives and long-form journalism to beautifully convey this story.”

Other Guardian journalists shortlisted for awards included the news reporter Jamie Grierson for scoop of the year; the chief sports correspondent, Owen Gibson, for sports journalism; and the Paris correspondent, Angelique Chrisafis, for foreign affairs journalism. Daniel Boffey, policy editor at the Observer, the Guardian’s sister paper, was shortlisted for the politics journalism prize, while Emma Graham-Harrison was shortlisted for foreign affairs journalism for her work for the Observer.


The annual awards ceremony, organised by Press Gazette, an industry magazine for journalists, took place at Stationers’ Hall in London on Tuesday night. Dominic Ponsford, the magazine’s editor, said: “As an industry we face a constant fight for survival – attacked by everyone from Google and Facebook (taking our ads) to the police who have been jailing our sources and spying on our phone records.


“The work on display helps explain why what we do is important and why it should be cherished and encouraged. This event aims to bang the drum for the best of what we do as the British industry which holds everyone else to account.”


The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, was named journalist of the year, the event’s top prize. “Kuenssberg deserves this prize for the sheer volume and scope of reporting on some of the biggest changes ever in British politics when she was just into the job of BBC political editor,” judges said. “In a tumultuous year she rose to the challenge and made the story of Brexit her own.”

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