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Sarah Hughes Trust opens prize for journalism that exposes fake health news

Journalism that exposes false or misleading information – so-called ‘fake news’ – in health or medicine will be recognised with a new annual prize in memory of the late Guardian and Observer journalist Sarah Hughes.

The Sarah Hughes Trust is inviting submissions from any healthcare practitioner and/or trainee or established journalist who has debunked fake news in the field of health or medical journalism.

The winner of the £1,000 prize will be announced at the annual Sarah Hughes Trust Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine on 2 December 2022. The deadline for entries is 30 June 2022 and the shortlist will be announced in October 2022.

Professor Sean Hughes, Sarah’s father, is President of the History of Medicine Society at the Royal Society of Medicine. He said: “Sarah believed strongly in integrity in journalism.

“This prize provides the opportunity to consolidate the relationship between journalists and the medical profession, to ensure the public has the best and the most validated information on real advances in medical practice.”

The judging panel will be chaired by Sarah’s close friend, novelist Harriet Tyce. Joining her on the panel will be:

  • Alexa Baracaia, freelance journalist
  • Elizabeth Mahase, clinical news reporter at the British Medical Journal
  • Susie Mesure, freelance journalist
  • and Hilary Morris, a historian in the RSM History of Medicine Society.

The judges will be looking for a piece in any form – e.g. written, video, audio - that demonstrates journalistic probity, medical accuracy and is clear and compelling in its communication.

The prize is awarded in conjunction with the Medical Journalists’ Association.

Harriet Tyce said: “Sarah was fearless in her approach to the honesty and truth of her own work.

“In the current climate there has never been a greater need for the independence of journalism and the efforts that are made by so many to cut through fake news to get the truth out to the public.

“The Sarah Hughes Trust recognises the importance of this and wants to acknowledge and reward the work of individuals or organisations working tirelessly to expose the truth - in whatever medium, whether through the traditional press, podcasts, blogging, vlogging, or any form of broadcast.

“We would encourage anyone whose work reaches towards exposing the truth to send it in to the competition.”

Sarah was a talented journalist who died from breast cancer on Easter Monday 2021 at the age of 48. Sarah was a history graduate from St Andrews University and was fascinated by, studied and wrote about the human condition in all its manifestations, good or bad, real or imagined.

Her family and friends crowdfunded to establish the Trust, memorial lecture and prize in her name.

This year’s lecture will feature writer and historian Professor Dame Marina Warner in conversation with writer and GP Dr Gavin Francis.

Apply here

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