The Prize is very grateful to its partners – the constituent bodies which are part of governing the Prize – and its sponsors.
Media Standards Trust
The Media Standards Trust is an independent registered charity which aims to foster high standards in news media on behalf of the public. We’re a ‘think-and-do-tank’, conducting research on important media issues but also running projects to promote quality, transparency and accountability in news.
We believe high standards of news and information are critical to the health of our democratic society. These standards are being challenged by the enormous, revolutionary changes in the production, funding, packaging, delivery and consumption of news and information. Although the radical transformation of the news ecosystem threatens standards as never before, there is also a real opportunity for innovation in journalism.
In addition to administering the Orwell Prize, the MST has published two influential reports about the system of press self-regulation in the UK; developed www.journalisted.com to help the public navigate the news and journalists to manage an online CV; launched the Transparency Initiative, in conjunction with Sir Tim Berners Lee and the Web Science Trust, to make searching and assessing online news easier and more intelligent; and organised a series of events on why journalism matters, the future of news and other topics.
The Orwell Trust – the George Orwell Memorial Fund – was founded in 1980. When approached by Sonia Orwell to write the authorised biography of George Orwell in 1974, Bernard Crick secretly granted the hardback rights in trust to Birkbeck College. When David Astor, Orwell’s friend and editor, matched Crick’s grant in 1980 (as the book was published), the first trustees of the George Orwell Memorial Fund were appointed.
At first, the Trust gave small grants for projects by young writers, but was diverted in 1985 to endow memorial lectures at Birkbeck and the University of Sheffield and to making grants for departmental Orwell occasions. The Sheffield Lecture was discontinued in 2000.
In 1993, in conjunction with Political Quarterly, the Trust launched the Orwell Prize in its current form. The Trust continues (with Birkbeck College) to run the annual George Orwell Memorial Lecture. D. J. Taylor succeeded Sir Bernard Crick as chair of the Orwell Trust in 2008.
‘The Political Quarterly plays host to some of the best writing about both topical issues and underlying trends in UK and European politics’
Professor Lord Raymond Plant
Since its foundation in 1930, the Political Quarterly has explored the key issues of the day from a centre left perspective and promoted debate about them. It is dedicated to political and social reform and has long acted as a bridge between policy-makers, commentators and academics. The Political Quarterly addresses current issues through serious and thought-provoking articles, written in clear jargon-free English.
Many of PQ‘s readers are academics, but the journal aims to address the interests of a broad readership of policymakers, politicians, journalists, students and the informed public.
Richard Blair is the adopted son of George Orwell. He writes: ‘I first became involved with the Orwell Prize many years ago. It had been set up and organised by Sir Bernard Crick for a number of years prior to my coming on board. The awards had grown in stature and were taking on a life of their own. It became obvious that more people needed to be involved in organising the whole affair. Whilst I was happy to allow those with better connections than I when it comes to recognising the right people to get involved with the awards, I am very much in favour of it going onwards and upwards as Orwell’s relevance is still as important today as it was when he was alive. It is to this end that I will do all in my power to help achieve the status that the awards deserve.’
Thomson Reuters also supported the Prize for a few years, up to the Orwell Prize 2011.