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Award launched in honour of renowned journalist open for entries

Ian BellAn award launched in honour of a former regional journalist following his death in 2015 is open for entries for its second year.

Ian Bell, who worked for all of Scotland’s major titles during the course of his career, was described by the BBC’s Andrew Marr as “Scotland’s finest journalist” after his death aged 59.

The National Union of Journalists Edinburgh Branch, of which Ian was a longstanding member, set up the Ian Bell New Writing Award together with his family in his memory last year.

The inaugural prize of £500 went to writer, cartoonist and poet A.K. Thaysen for a piece entitled ‘In Defence of of the Hitchhiking Woman.’

Now budding writers who have yet to break into professional journalism are again being urged to enter for the award.

Organisers say entries should be written in the “critical spirit” of Ian Bell and in a style – lively, taut, provocative but thoughtful – suitable for online and newspaper publication.

This year’s judging panel will comprise author and journalist Neal Ascherson, freelance journalist and former Sunday Herald features editor Susan Flockhart, and activist, writer and curator Layla-Roxanne Hill, head of engagement at the investigative journalism platform The Ferret.

Said Neal: “More than a new wave of politicians, or a fresh flight of hungry entrepreneurs, Scotland today desperately needs young journalists.

“In times of political chaos and fear for the future, the media are weakening – often shirking their task of speaking truth to power and betraying the diversity of Scottish opinion. Ian Bell was a brilliant warrior for truth, and

“Scotland has for a century produced great journalists with his combination of fearless eloquence and respect for the facts. We know that the talent is still out there, and the Ian Bell Award challenges young journalists to speak loudly and be heard.’

Entrants should be aged 30 or under at 30 November 2018, and be living, working or studying in Scotland.

Each entrant may submit up to two entries, each of between 1,500 and 2,000 words, which should be submitted by email, together with the contestant’s name, date of birth and place of work/study to by 30 November 2018. The winner will be announced in early February 2019.