Prestigious new prize for social issues journalism announced

21st May 2014

Prestigious new prize for social issues journalism announced

Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is delighted to announce its support for “The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils” – to be awarded next year for the first time.

The new prize is a collaboration between Joseph Rowntree Foundation and The Orwell Prize, the UK’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Named in recognition of the task Joseph Rowntree gave his organisation; “to search out the underlying causes of weakness or evil” that lay behind Britain’s social problems, the prize will support and encourage original, insightful and impactful reporting on social issues in the UK. 

The award will enable The Orwell Prize to dig deep into the way social issues are reported in the UK. From exposing abuse in care homes to in-depth investigations into the rise of food banks, it aims to reward a  new trend in journalism; reporting that uses and extends the reach of traditional media, giving people access to the tools and evidence to make up their own minds. It will also be the first Orwell Prize award to take entries from both broadcast and social media.

In addition to the award of a prize, it is hoped that the new award will spark discussion on the issues it raises, and a series of events will be held throughout 2014/15 to reflect on the themes highlighted by the prize. 

Claire Ainsley, JRF Director of Communications and External Affairs, said: “Journalism has always played a role in uncovering inconvenient truths.

“And today, with poverty predicted to rise to one in four families by 2020 there has never been a more important time for journalists to unearth the very real problems facing our country. From Benefits Street to Panorama, poverty and social issues in the UK have become mainstream reporting.

“It therefore feels timely to establish an award that rewards, encourages and supports original, in-depth journalism. Journalism that reflects and exposes the reality of people’s lives, and has impact on the UK’s social problems.” 

The prize will be free to enter and open to journalists of any age, regionally and nationally throughout the UK, for work produced in 2014. More information available at: