Untitled design 2024 06 17 T151317 446

Karl Flinders - Computer Weekly

Individual Excellence Awards
Journalist of the Year

Sometimes, you have to wait for great journalism to have an impact. For Computer Weekly and chief reporter Karl Flinders, it’s taken 15 years. In May 2009, Computer Weekly were the first to expose the Post Office scandal – to silence from national media and politicians. Since 2010, Karl has written over 400 stories, from exclusive revelations to small but vital steps towards exonerating thousands of victims. Now, finally, the rest of the UK shares the outrage that motivated them all along.

National media are only now covering the public inquiry into the scandal, following the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office – but Karl has been reporting on the near-daily revelations since the inquiry began in early 2022. No other journalist has covered this scandal in such depth, so frequently, and with such insight and access to the key players – including victims who have become household names, such as Alan Bates, Lee Castleton and Jo Hamilton. Over the years, Karl has faced down an aggressive Post Office press operation to investigate and expose the truth behind the Horizon IT scandal.

Karl’s Post Office scoops have been cited in Parliament, in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and now in the public inquiry. Without the resources of a national newspaper, Karl has led coverage of this continuing story, even when national media largely ignored it.

Karl deserves this award for over a decade of dedication, diligence and determination alone. But let's look at what he achieved in 2023:

  • The only journalist featured in the documentary Mr Bates vs the Post Office: The Real Story, that was released alongside the ITV drama
  • Revealed in January that Alan Bates had turned down an OBE – a full year before a national newspaper claimed the news as an “exclusive”
  • Revealed in February that Horizon IT supplier Fujitsu had been given an extended contract by Post Office
  • Written more articles about the public inquiry than any other journalist
  • Has continued to cover his regular reporting beat throughout.

Karl has also personally championed a remarkable story about a data breach involving NatWest, where his support for the whistleblower involved led to the bank making an embarrassing U-turn in its denials. Perhaps most importantly for Karl himself, he has received the personal thanks and appreciation from the victims of the Post Office scandal - many of whom he has befriended - for what he has helped them to finally achieve.

Fifteen years of Post Office scandal stories paid off – not only with an enormous traffic boost since the TV drama, but also national recognition and praise for Computer Weekly’s campaigning, investigative journalism and its pivotal role in exposing the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history. Karl has appeared on nearly every major UK broadcast news programme to talk about his work in the context of the Post Office scandal, and has even been profiled in national newspapers. His achievements are a triumph of good, old-fashioned, boots-on-the-ground, contact-book reporting. Long-term, patient, diligent, dogged and relentless journalism has helped Computer Weekly to attain the highest public profile in their 57-year history – and, most importantly, brought victims of the scandal closer than ever to exoneration, compensation and justice.

Return to Case Studies