It’s a red-letter day here at 22 Old Queen St: Miles Goslett’s exposé of Kids Company has just been named Scoop of the Year. The awards, by the London Press Club, differ from the others in that you can’t nominate and you can’t pay to enter: the shortlist is drawn by a distinguished judging panel. It’s a huge credit to Miles that he won, and an even bigger compliment considering who he beat: the Sunday Times’ Insight investigation into athletics doping, the Sun’s exposé of Lord Sewel’s cocaine habit, and the Daily Mirror’s scoop about how the diamond heist thieves got away with it.
For a tiny magazine to beat competition from the well-resourced titans of Fleet St can be put down to one thing: the tenacity and the courage of the reporter. Miles Goslett went after Kids Company at a time when its founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, was seen as a secular saint – and to subject her to scrutiny was seen as a kind of sacrilege. As Miles said in his acceptance speech, he did approach other newspapers with this story but they weren’t interested. He then came to The Spectator because we have a reputation for – how should I put it? – not being the sort of publication to turn down a story because it was too controversial. Miles also generously thanked Mary Wakefield, our commissioning editor, who worked with him on the story.
Even after we published his scoop, newspapers didn’t follow it up. It’s not as if any ingredients of the scandal were missing: Miles had them all. He revealed that money was being frittered away by Batmanghelidjh, to the alarm of former staff and donors. He revealed that civil servants were nervous about funding Kids Company and wanted to cut its resources, but – deplorably – they’d been overruled by the Prime Minister. For all the ink subsequently spilled about Kids Company, the basic (and worst) facts as we know them now are exactly as Miles Goslett revealed first time around.
Freelancers seldom get the credit they deserve in this industry, and are quite used to seeing the credit stolen by others. That’s why I’m so pleased that Miles won today: an honour made all the greater by the quality of the other extraordinary stories in that category. He secured an agenda-setting scoop with none of the resources deployed by newspapers who can set teams of investigators onto a topic. I’m delighted that the London Press Club has today acknowledged Miles’s achievement.
And it’s a reminder why you should subscribe to The Spectator and read it every week: yes, we give the best analysis and reviews alongside the funniest cartoons. But our scoops can also beat the very best of what Fleet St has to offer. To sign up for just £1 a week, click here.
And, again, our congratulations to Miles Goslett: it really was the scoop of the year.