Barbara Fountain, the editor and publisher of New Zealand Doctor, has won the nib senior health journalism scholarship at the Voyager Media Awards.
Judges Donna Chisholm and Lorelei Mason said Fountain’s proposal to investigate secrecy at district health boards was a standout. They were impressed not only with her strength of writing but her proposal to investigate DHB accountability – “an area where sunlight is sorely needed,” they said. “She has the experience in health and depth of knowledge to pull it off.”
The scholarship, sponsored by nib New Zealand, allows a $6000 grant towards travel, research and interviews.
The $4000 nib junior health journalism scholarship was won by Sasha Borissenko, Newsroom.co.nz. Judges Chisholm and Mason said Borissenko’s clever, stylish writing and her detailed investigative proposal on obesity was a winner formula. Her proposal to look into the stigma attached to weight and associated discrimination was an important issue. Borissenko’s entries displayed a mature and deep-seated understanding of her subject matter.
Awards director Jane Phare said the nib scholarships enabled good journalists to have the time and resources to research and write about important health-related subjects.
Last year’s joint senior scholarship winner, Stuff journalist Aaron Leaman produced an interactive feature and animated video as part of a series on organ donation. The other winner, Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald, will travel to the United States to interview key experts in the field of sport-related concussion and the link with dementia.
Last year’s junior scholarship winner, Stuff journalist Rachel Thomas travelled to the US to look at the efficacy of sugar tax on health statistics, comparing American states with and without a sugar tax.
Staged by the Newspapers Publishers’ Association in association with Voyager Internet as premier sponsor, the awards attracted more than 2000 entries. The awards, celebrated on Friday at a gala dinner at Cordis, Auckland recognise excellence in journalism across newspapers, magazines, digital media, TV and radio.