JOHN LISTER, who lectures in Health Journalism at Coventry University, has just been awarded his second professional award in six months, landing second prize in the prestigious Guild of Health Writers 2009 awards in London last night.
John was one of five journalists shortlisted for Best Online Feature in a contest which was open to all health journalists and attracted a record 300 entries for the six categories. His feature article “The Beginning of the End” was the first of a series of three published by the Morning Star newspaper in March, throwing the spotlight on to controversial new policies in the National Health Service that even now have still not been widely covered by other newspapers.
Presenting John with the runner-up award of a certificate and a cheque for £300 at a Champaign reception, the Guild’s new President, Dr Michael Dixon of the NHS Alliance, praised the article’s clear explanation of complex issues for a general readership.
This prize follows on John’s success six months ago for the other main professional organisation of health journalists, the Medical Journalists Association, where his book ‘The NHS After 60: for patients or profits?” won the Tony Thistlethwaite award.
Delighted at this success, Dr Lister said last night:
“I have been a heath journalist for 25 years, but only this year have I entered for any awards – and won a prize in two out of two! It means a lot to have my professional peers say that I have succeeded in making complex issues readable and understandable to a wide audience.
“This Guild’s award is also very special, because so many of the other contenders were offering much less controversial medical and human interest stories written in very lively and engaging style, and I was not sure that against that competition I could win the judges to give an award to a very political piece.
“I hope this success will help focus more attention on these policies which are taking shape without proper public scrutiny or debate. The role of a health journalist is to inform, enlighten but also sometimes to alert their audience to issues which may affect them, and which otherwise might be missed.”