openDemocracy nominated for three prizes at 2020 British Journalism awards

From exposing ‘Covid cronyism’ in Boris Johnson’s government to a major misinformation network targeting women and girls, our journalism holds power to account worldwide.

17 November 2020, 8.42am
Tracking the Backlash were nominated for their project tracking abuses of women’s rights during COVID-19.

openDemocracy has received three British Journalism Awards nominations. 

We’ve been shortlisted in three award categories – investigation, foreign and health and life sciences – for work produced by over a dozen journalists. 

openDemocracy’s UK investigation team, led by Mary Fitzgerald and Peter Geoghegan, was recognised for its reporting on the government’s controversial outsourcing of pandemic response. 

Geoghegan uncovered that a £840,000 contract was awarded to a close ally of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove without a competitive tender. Caroline Molloy, Adam Ramsay and Seth Thévoz were also nominated for stories which revealed that private contractors like Deloitte and Serco had been handed fresh contracts despite failing to deliver results.

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openDemocracy's Tracking the Backlash global feminist investigative journalism project, which tracks organised threats to women's and LGBTIQ rights, received nominations for two of its investigations.

The team, led by Claire Provost and Nandini Archer, were shortlisted in the foreign category for a global expose of ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ that have targeted vulnerable women with “disinformation, emotional manipulation and outright deceit”.

The investigation was produced by a ten-strong team of feminist journalists including Diana Cariboni, Lydia Namubiru, Kerry Cullinan, Francesca Visser, Isabella Cota, Sian Norris, Claudia Torrisi and Khatondi Soita Wepukhulu, all of whom received nominations.

Tracking the Backlash was also nominated in the health and life sciences category for an investigation into the mistreatment of women giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team found evidence of World Health Organization childbirth guidelines being violated in 45 countries. 

Those nominated include Ani Hovhannisyan, Arya Karijo, Claire Provost, Diana Cariboni, Kerry Cullinan, Khatondi Soita Wepukhulu, Lydia Namubiru and Nandini Archer

Several of the Tracking the Backlash journalists nominated joined the team on fellowship schemes, and some had no prior experience of investigative journalism. 

Claire Provost, global investigations editor, said: “Our nominated investigations into anti-abortion misinformation, and the abuse of women's rights during childbirth, were produced by some of the hardest-working, most committed people I've ever met: feminist investigative journalists around the world, collaborating together across borders and backgrounds to give threats to women's rights the scrutiny they deserve."

“Five current and former fellows – young women developing their careers in journalism – are among those nominated. This is an extraordinary achievement for them and for openDemocracy's commitment to building the capacity of groups underrepresented in the media. Diverse women, their experiences, and threats to their rights, have been excluded from the media and investigative agenda for too long. These nominations reflect the hard work, and high ambitions, of openDemocracy's feminist investigative journalism team that is working every day to track threats to women's and LGBTIQ rights and build a more diverse and inclusive media ecosystem."

Around eighty judges spent three weeks reading more than 800 entries to come up with the shortlists for each award category.

Mary Fitzgerald, editor-in-chief of openDemocracy, said: “The fact that openDemocracy has been nominated for so many awards this year, mostly in competing against finalists at far larger media outlets, is a testament to this brilliant hardworking team. I’m so proud of their tenacity, and grateful to the many thousands of readers who’ve voluntarily chosen to support us this year – we can’t do what we do without all of you.”

To find out more and support openDemocracy’s public interest journalism, click here.

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