The 2023 Cudlipp Award, sponsored by the British Journalism Review in memory of former Fleet Street editor Lord (Hugh) Cudlipp, has been won by Sky News in collaboration with Tortoise Media for their investigation into the extra-parliamentary earnings of MPs.
The trophy was presented at The Press Club awards lunch, at Stationers’ Hall in the City of London.
A panel of judges chaired by Bill Hagerty, chairman emeritus of the BJR, discussed a strong entry of campaigning and investigative pieces, looking particularly for a winner that brought some of the spirit of Lord Cudlipp. As The Independent put it in its obituary of 1998, he was “the superstar of Fleet Street, the editor with the greatest charisma. Over a span of 40 years, he poured into the Mirror newspapers all his passion, his abrasive charm, his crusading zeal and his exuberant personality… All his life he was fired by his faith in the unique social purpose of the popular newspaper. A newspaper, Cudlipp said, must be inspired by a mission”.
The Sky Tortoise entry combined meticulous research and digital and graphic devices to display detailed data about MPs, their sources of revenue, and connections among bodies providing funding. The material allowed voters to use a searchable database to explore how much their MP earned from outside earnings and more about the people providing the funding. It was, said the judges, full of “Cudlippian enterprise”.
Shadow culture, media and sport secretary Thangam Debbonaire was keynote speaker at the awards. She praised journalists and pledged to support their constant work for freedom of the press.