The Department of Journalism’s Susie Boniface is among the shortlist for this year’s Private Eye Paul Foot Award
Visiting Lecturer Susie Boniface – best known to many as @fleetstreetfox on Twitter – has been nominated for Private Eye’s 2022 Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism. She is nominated for her ongoing campaign in the Daily Mirror for recognition for the survivors of Britain’s nuclear testing programme.
Around 22,000 men were a part of the Cold War experiments in Australia, and at Christmas Island in the South Pacific, as Britain raced to build the bomb. Boniface has been reporting on the campaign since 2002 (and the Mirror has been covering it since 1983).
The aim of these experiments was to simulate the immediate effects of nuclear warfare, but scientists were yet to understand the effects of radiation on the participants. These came in various forms, such as cancer and genetic damage.
In 2018, Boniface [pictured] provided extensive writing for a special Mirror microsite, titled ‘The Damned: The human fallout of Britain’s nuclear bombs’.
Spearheaded by Boniface, the Mirror’s campaign, ‘Look Me in the Eye’, is in partnership with Labrats International, a community interest company that “promotes the work of the Individuals and Organisations who represent the Atomic and Nuclear Test Communities across the world”.
The campaign aims to bring to light the true impact of nuclear testing and identify the contributions and sacrifices made by nuclear test veterans during the Cold War. The campaign was directly acknowledged by the Prime Minister in April, who said survivors would get “the recognition they deserved”. And last June, Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, met with representatives of the Nuclear Community, which included Boniface. He pledged to do “all we can” to recognise the veterans.
Boniface’s campaign is part of an eclectic shortlist of six stories whose qualities have been described by Chair of judges Padraig Reidy as being as “high as it has ever been.”
About the Paul Foot Award
The Private Eye award is named in memory of investigative journalist Paul Foot. He was involved in many high-profile campaigns throughout his career, including the Birmingham Six, the Bridgewater Four and the John Poulson scandal. His accolades include the Journalist of the Year, the Campaigning Journalist of the Year, the George Orwell Prize for Journalism and in 2000 he was honoured as the Campaigning Journalist of the Decade.
The overall 2022 winner of the £5,000 prize will be revealed at a ceremony in London on Tuesday 14 June.
About Susie Boniface
Susie Boniface has been a journalist on national and local newspapers, broadsheet and tabloid, dailies and Sundays, since leaving school.
She started work at the Kent & Sussex Courier aged 18 and was the first female Defence Reporter for the Plymouth Evening Herald. She has worked almost everywhere in Fleet Street, including 10 years at the Sunday Mirror.
Under the @fleetstreetfox pseudonym, Boniface has offered her opinions on topics such as the marriage of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry and the Grenfell Tower tragedy as well as revealing the inner workings of the journalism industry. The Twitter account was started in 2009 and the blog in 2011, staying anonymous until Boniface released her tabloid exposé book, The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox (2013).
Words: Ruth Almodal