“Anyone who thinks investigative journalism is dead, should remember the name Alison Cahn” – The Journalists Handbook
How it all started
My 25 year career in journalism began in Birmingham, as a trainee reporter on the Post and Mail regional newspaper group. I have written for national newspapers including the Guardian and the Telegraph, and magazines such as the Economist, Health Services Journal and Green World.
In 1989 I won a BAFTA for my work as researcher of Death on the Rock, the This Week investigation into the shooting of three IRA terrorists in Gibralter, which Mrs Thatcher tried to ban. In the 1990s I became a freelance producer/director making factual films for most of the terrestial including the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 on a range of subjects covering current affairs, religion, childcare and social issues.
I travelled the globe as a current affairs and documentary film maker, filming with chief executives in the public and private sector, prostitutes on inner city estates and the Prime Minister in Downing Street.
I eventually specialised in access based documentaries on politics and political policy including News from Number Ten, where I spent three months filming with Alastair Campbell when he was Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Director of Communications in 10 Downing Street, and When Michael Portillo became a Single Mum, where the former Conservative cabinet minister took on the role of a low wage single mother of four for a week.
More recently I have been using my journalistic skills to gain media coverage for Lancaster Cohousing, the eco community which I have helped to create. I have also been writing and editing for stakeholder and alumni magazines at Kingston University, where I used to head up the communications department.
Passing on my expertise
I have been a panel speaker at the Edinburgh International Television Festival and given lectures on journalism and film making at Kingston University, the London College of Printing, the Department of Health and the BBC.
I received four awards for Death on the Rock, including a BAFTA and a special National Union of Journalists award for my contribution to press freedom. News From Number Ten was shortlisted for the Royal Television Society and Broadcast awards. From Walpole’s Bottom to Major’s Underpants, my two part series on politicians seen through the eyes of cartoonists, won a prestigious American award for its titles sequence. When Michael Portillo became a Single Mum was nominated for the BAFTA and Broadcast awards.
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