Editorial Campaign of the Year

Editorial Campaign of the Year

Winner: #Bloodwithoutbias, LADbible Group and Elvis 

UNILAD, which became part of LADbible Group in 2018, wanted to highlight a relatively unknown issue:  one in four of us will need donated blood in our lifetime, but every year millions of pints of life-saving blood go to waste. This is due to outdated UK legislation that prevents gay and bisexual men from giving blood, unless they abstain from sex for three months, even if their blood is perfectly safe to use, and even though all blood is tested anyway.  

UNILAD has a history of using its editorial power to shed light on provocative issues affecting minority groups, whereas sister brand LADbible tends to cover more universal topics with levity, and campaigning against current blood donation policy was a strong editorial stance. 

UNILAD partnered pressure group FreedomToDonate and launched The Illegal Blood Bank – the world’s first blood donation clinic for gay and bisexual men. Donors were recruited using hard-hitting video content across UNILAD’s social channels, encouraging gay and bi men to donate a real pint of their own blood in protest. There was more information on a microsite bloodwithoutbias.com.

The Illegal Blood Bank also acted as a proof-of-concept for a proposed, new "individualised risk assessment" questionnaire that screened donors based on their individual behaviour – such as number of sexual partners – not their sexual orientation.

There were 900,000 video views of the video content on UNILAD’s channels and generated coverage on the ITV and BBC. The campaign changed people’s minds: 62% of those who saw UNILAD’s content were "extremely in favour" of changing the policy, compared with a benchmark of 46% in a control group; UNILAD’s audience contributed 61,000 signatures to a petition; and the NHS said it would consider "individualised risk assessment" in 2020. 

Highly commended:

"The lost billions", i

This far-reaching investigation examined public finance initiative (PFI) contracts and their impact on people’s lives around the country. The i investigations team used the results of 320 separate Freedom of Information requests to compile exclusive statistics about PFI costs and exposed £5bn in extra money that public services were having to spend on legacy contracts. This included eye-watering maintenance prices for hospitals and schools and huge waste as maternity units and custody suites were mothballed despite costing millions. 

The then shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted the front page of i and declared "there will be no PFIs under Labour", prompting a war of words with the Conservatives. The judges commended this editorial campaign as a good example of journalism in the public interest.

Shortlisted:

British Airways 100, Cedar 

Future London, Evening Standard 

Telegraph Women’s Sport, Telegraph

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