Online Media Awards shortlists Exaro for best breaking story

Exaro is nominated for revealing details of Smith review into Sir Jimmy Savile and BBC

By Exaro Team | 5 May 2016

“The Drum Online Media Awards identify the cleverest, boldest and most original purveyors of news and views from around the world” – Online Media Awards

Exaro has been nominated for ‘breaking news story of the year’ in this year’s Online Media Awards for revealing the findings of the Smith review.

We have been shortlisted in the awards for online journalism, covering the year to March 2016, for revealing details of the leaked report of the review into sexual abuse by the late BBC star, Sir Jimmy Savile, at the broadcaster.

The story set the news agenda as the rest of the media, including the BBC itself, followed the devastating disclosures from the report by Exaro.

The leaked report revealed how Dame Janet Smith, the retired judge who led the review, condemned BBC culture over Savile’s paedophile activities at the Corporation. She slated the BBC for a “very deferential culture”, its “untouchable” stars and “above the law” managers.

In a series of articles, Exaro revealed how BBC employees were too afraid to report Savile to managers, and how BBC people feared blowing the whistle even more now.

We also exposed a BBC culture where celebrities were treated with “kid gloves” while managers drank heavily, and how the Smith review warned that “a predatory child abuser could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC even today.

The series of 22 stories published on the same day revealed how more than 100 BBC employees told Smith that they heard about Savile’s predatory sexual conduct, and how the review raised evidence of sexual abuse at Top of the Pops that went far wider than Savile.

In addition, Exaro published more than 37,500 words of extracts from Smith’s entire report.

Four Exaro journalists (and one lawyer) worked on the expose:  David HenckeAlex Varley-WinterTim Woodand Mark Watts.

The other nominations for ‘breaking news story of the year’ are BBC News, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, ITV News, RTE News, New York Times and the Scottish Sun.

The organisers said: “The Drum Online Media Awards identify the cleverest, boldest and most original purveyors of news and views from around the world.”

We were nominated in the Online Media Awards last year – again, for ‘breaking story of the year’ as well as ‘best campaigning or investigative journalism’ and ‘online editor of the year’.

Exaro has managed to keep setting the news agenda despite having only an average of five full-time equivalent journalists: a small team that has a massive impact.

Since its launch four-and-a-half years ago, Exaro has repeatedly been shortlisted for its investigative journalism and agenda-setting stories in the industry’s most significant awards. Its first big scoop on how Ed Lester, then chief executive of the Student Loans Company, worked off payroll won David Hencke ‘political journalist of the year’ in 2012.

The winners of this year’s top honours at the Online Media Awards will be announced on June 7.

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