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Statisticians honour regional investigations team at annual awards

Statisticians have honoured a regional publisher’s central investigations team at an annual awards ceremony.

The Johnston Press investigations unit was highly commended at the Royal Statistical Society’s Statistical Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The commendation from the society came in the Investigative category, for the team’s work on the company-wide Drive for Justice campaign, which revealed not a single person had been handed the maximum 14-year sentence for death by dangerous driving since Parliament lengthened the sentence from 10 years in 2004.

The team used Freedom of Information requests and analysed and dissecting existing data to produce its findings, which were published in JP dailies and weeklies across the country – with each title bringing the figures to life with their own local case studies.

How Portsmouth daily The News covered the campaign on its front page

How Portsmouth daily The News covered the campaign on its front page

RSS judges described the team’s work as a “great collection of articles with some solid investigative journalism which highlights an important issue and campaigns for change”.

Members of the unit who worked on the investigation are Aasma Day, Chris Burn, Ruby Kitchen, Philip Bradfield, Cahal Milmo, Ben Fishwick.

Aasma, who leads the team and is based at the Lancashire Post, said: “It is wonderful that the hard work of the Johnston Press investigations team has been recognised by these awards which look at the way journalists use statistics to question, analyse and investigate the issues that affect society.

“Drive For Justice was the team’s first project so it is an honour to be Highly Commended in the Investigative Journalism category.

“However, the most heartening thing for the team was to give the many bereaved families affected by this issue a voice and we are glad we were able to use statistics in a powerful way to raise awareness of an issue that is so important to our readers and communities.”