26 June 2018: Last night, FT reporter Sarah O’Connor, interactive data journalist John Burn-Murdoch and photographer Chris Nunn were awarded the highly coveted Orwell Prize for their widely acclaimed story about the impact of globalisation on small towns.
The award-winning article - Left behind: can anyone save the towns the economy forgot? - revealed the critical links between the health of Blackpool’s local economy and the mental health of its people.
Judge and author Nick Timmins said the article’s “brilliant combination of ice cold analysis, real human interest [and] great use and presentation of data... takes the problems of one seaside town and sets them in a far wider context." Fellow judge and CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Campbell Robb described the piece as “vivid, hard-hitting journalism.”
FT editor Lionel Barber said: “The tale of Blackpool, the English seaside town left behind by globalisation, is a fine example of deep, data-led, original reporting. I am immensely proud of Sarah and the team for their efforts in producing what has become one of the FT’s most impactful and insightful stories this year”.
The piece was also recognised at the Wincott Foundation Awards last month, with O’Connor winning the Financial Journalist of the Year accolade.
Widely regarded as one of the top prizes in UK journalism, The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils is supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and designed to reward and encourage insightful, impactful reporting on social issues in the UK.
A full list of winners can be found here.
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Photo credited to Kevin Lake