I was delighted to read in Private Eye that Jim Oldfield of Rossington Community Newsletter, South Yorks Newspapers, has been nominated for the Paul Foot Award 2008. This is an annual award for campaigning journalists.
Here is some of the explanation of why he was nominated:
Before Britain had ever heard of eco-towns, Rossington Community Newsletter was featuring the activities of a group of landowners and speculators to plant one in the village of Rossington - apparently against the wishes of 13,000 odd residents. In month by month reporting the Community Newsletter:
- "Outed' one local councillor for helping frame this and other developments while not declaring his interest as a significant landowner, in partnership with former Metro Centre developer and Newcastle United Chairman, Sir John Hall
- Ran a village poll which showed the residents to be overwhelming against development in their village
- Exposed the government's short-listing of the Rossington bid as having a huge number of houses planned for green belt land. After the resultant national newspaper publicity, the government u-turned and said that no green belt land would be used for eco-towns... and the Rossington bid was cut from 15,000 to 5,000