Jennifer Williams

Financial Times

The FT’s northern correspondent tells complex stories of national significance through the lens of the political, economic and social reality of life in the region. The issues she tackles may seem unglamorous, but she discusses them with a relish that engages readers and leaders alike.

From the heart-rending account of the effects of the cost-of-living crisis on pupils in Oldham, related through interviews with an impressive head teacher, to a forensic examination of the political, financial and policy issues at play in Teesside – one of the poorest regions in the country and a testbed for English devolution – Jennifer Williams demonstrates both versatility and a dogged determination to uncover facts many would prefer stayed hidden.

Another feature highlights the disparity between the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda and the “existential crisis” councils face after a decade of budget cuts – a crisis that has huge and sometimes hidden implications for communities across the country, with the vulnerable most at risk, she points out.

Williams, whose Teesside story triggered a government inquiry, “holds power to account in the best tradition of journalism,” said the judges. “She’s a thorn in the side of many who would prefer to keep the issues she covers out of the spotlight.”