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Inside Housing journalist Sophie Barnes wins XCity Award

Sophie Barnes, deputy news editor at Inside Housing, was recognised for her reporting of the Grenfell Tower fire

by Department of Journalism

Sophie Barnes, a journalist at the magazine Inside Housing, has won the 2018 XCity Award.

She was chosen in recognition of her reporting of the Grenfell Tower disaster and investigations into fire safety, welfare reform and the effects of the benefit cap on vulnerable families.

The City, University of London alumna, who completed the MA Investigative Journalism course at the university in 2012, said she was honoured to win the award.

The annual £500 prize is presented to a City graduate who has made an outstanding contribution to journalism.

Speaking to XCity magazine, she said: “It’s a real honour. I really enjoyed my time at City and it has produced some brilliant journalists, so it’s really nice to be recognised by people who are going to be journalists in the future.”

Sophie, who is deputy news editor at Inside Housing, has been actively involved in the magazine’s Never Again campaign, which puts pressure on landlords and the Government to make fire safety a number one priority.

This was public interest journalism at its finest, delivered by a dedicated reporter.
XCity Award judge Barbara Rowlands

She has also undertaken an in-depth investigation in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, in which she has analysed more than 600 fire risk assessments.

Barbara Rowlands, a judge on the XCity Award panel and programme director of the MA Magazine Journalism course at City, said: “Sophie is very much a worthy winner. She produced one of the most detailed analyses of high-rise fire safety ever conducted, putting out a vast number of FOI requests and meticulously sifting through the results.”

She added: “This was public interest journalism at its finest, delivered by a dedicated reporter.”

The XCity Award was established in 2011 to mark the 25th anniversary of XCity magazine, which is produced once a year by City journalism students and sent to alumni.

The winner is selected by the XCity editor, the publishers and the head of the Department of Journalism, Professor Suzanne Franks.

Past winners include Oliver Shah, City Editor at The Sunday Times, freelance foreign correspondent Iona Craig and former BuzzFeed and Guardian journalist James Ball.

The 2018 nominees were: Ramita Navai; Megan Lucero; Matt Dathan; Eve Simmons; Charlotte Hawkins; Billy Kenber; Selena Randhawa; Salma Haidrani; Hannah Ewens; Sophie Barnes; Lucie Morris-Marr; May Bulman; Jordan Milne; Kaine Pieri; Isabelle Gerretsen; Dolly Alderton; Victoria Seabrook.

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