A City alumna who won the Modern Slavery Media Award for exposing the UK’s failure to protect victims of trafficking has been shortlisted for this year’s XCity Award.
Jenny McCall (Science, 2014) is an independent journalist. Last year, Ms McCall wrote an article for openDemocracy, titled: ‘Just how badly does the UK protect victims of trafficking?’
The piece explored serious failings in the National Referral Mechanism, the Home Office’s system for protecting victims of human trafficking. Ms McCall explained that it was “one of the most difficult pieces of work” she has done.
The article won the Modern Slavery Media Award award for best news story, which was presented to her by Home Secretary Theresa May on Anti-Slavery Day.
The 2014 graduate is the first of five shortlisted candidates to be revealed.
Ms McCall explained how honoured she felt to be nominated for the XCity Award: “The ability to work hard and gain momentum in a tough industry like journalism is not easy. To be recognised alongside these journalists is an incredible achievement and one that I am very proud of.”
Ms McCall believes that research is vital to journalism. When she wrote a piece on the Colombian civil war, she produced background research for four months before pitching it. She said: “I found the story by reaching out to a non-governmental organisation (NGO), who put me in touch with so many different people.”
Ms McCall has also raised awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM). Recalling meeting a victim, she said: “Hibo Wardere, a campaigner, had been cut at the age of six. She transferred her pain into campaigning against the practice and recognised that she may have physical and psychological scars, but she also has the power to prevent others from going through the same thing.”
Though winning the XCity Award would be “a brilliant personal achievement” for Ms McCall, it would not only be about her. She said: “The benefit of things like this is always for others. I hope it inspires other young women of colour and women in general to enter journalism.”
Ms McCall spoke about women in journalism and how they might feel “discouraged” or “overwhelmed” at the task of being in a male-dominated industry, saying: “Stake your claim and mean it. If you have ingenuity you can really have an impact in journalism.”
Ms McCall is one of five people to be shortlisted for the XCity Award and £500 prize, which recognises an outstanding contribution to journalism in the past year by a City alumnus.
#XCityAwards16 – Let us know what you think of our shortlist