Slugger Awards 2008: Journalism…

Right from the very beginning, good journalism has been the lifeblood of Slugger O’Toole. Northern Irish journalism has faced many Troubles challenges in the past that have required courage and integrity. But we’re just as interested in those who have gone out of their way to explain the transition towards parliamentary democracy. And the winner is…Winner: David Gordon.

David was very a popular choice for Slugger’s readers. HIs dogged determination over a long number of years has been well noted by politicians and civil servants over their years, causing some to quake in fear when he lodges a well aimed Freedom of Information request. He is widely held to played a critical role in uncovering the detail that led to the resignation of Ian Paisley from the job of First Minster. He followed a line of inquiry that required great personal courage.

Commended: Ken Reid.

Quite simply Ken has been consistently reliable and particularly well connected. Over the Blair years, he delivered much of the breaking news and giving the inside track well ahead of the pack. It was his interview in March this year in which Ian Paisley announced he would stepping down as First Minister and leader of the DUP.

Commended: Frank Millar.

Frank probably does not have the highest profile in the Northern Irish press, since he’s the London editor of a Dubin newspaper. But he occupies a unique position in having strong contacts in three cities. His journalism consists of clear and often challenging analysis and reputation for reliable reporting. His series of interviews in the lead up to the St Andrews deal uncovered a number of previously hidden contexts to the larger public game.

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  • Mark McGregor

    Another worthy winner.

  • Peat Blog

    Agreed

  • The Raven

    “when he lodges a well aimed Freedom of Information request”

    Journalism, ye say….?

  • Driftwood

    Newton Emerson well ahead of the pack, but maybe not cynical enough?

  • Edward Carson

    “He is widely held to played a critical role in uncovering the detail that led to the resignation of Ian Paisley from the job of First Minster. He followed a line of inquiry that required great personal courage.”

    Why great personal courage?

    FoI requests make him the best journalist? That seems odd. Like getting best chef for being able to open a tin of soup…

  • Belfast Gonzo

    To be fair, he’s one of the few who’ve picked up the tin opener. And probably the only one to know how to cook the contents.

    You’re not a vegetable, so I’m sure you understand.

  • Ed,

    That’s a rather reductive and disingenuous remark. f you have ever lodged a FOI you will know how important framing the question is, and important it is to have done your groundwork to get anything that was useful.

    That would be a reference to the kinds of routine pressure that journalists and newspapers come under when trying to ‘speak truth unto power’.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Mick,
    I’d go further to say that few journalists seem to be making the effort to fulfill their remit of scrutinising of those in public office and that’s why I was one of those who proposed David Gordon for the award.
    I once heard a journalist, who I respect quite a lot, referring to many of her colleagues as a bunch of “fax-munchers and paycheque-collectors who wouldn’t know how to dig for a story if they’d a pen the size of a spade.” David Gordon’s work over this last couple of years has shown exemplary skills and dedication in this field.

  • Peat Blog

    “f you have ever lodged a FOI you will know how important framing the question is, and important it is to have done your groundwork to get anything that was useful.”

    It also usually helps to know the answer in advance.

  • Local Government Officer

    It also helps if you had any idea how much time, effort and expense goes into answering one of them, when actually, we should be getting on with our jobs. I believe some central civil service departments have entire teams dedicated to this.

    It has singularly helped to ensure that the “nothing gets done” culture of the public sector – something, which believe it or not, many of us younger ones would like to see killed dead – gets to stay, and stay firmly in place.

    It has its merits. I’ve used it myself, but if you had any idea just how lazy local journalists especially, have become relying on this particular tool, you’d understand our frustrations. Especially when the questions are about the errant deeds of some Councillor, or MLA.