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Nominations open for ‘fake news’ journalism prize

A prize for health or medical journalism that exposes fake news is now accepting entries. 

Now in its second year, the annual Sarah Hughes Trust prize recognises journalists who expose false or misleading information. It was set up in memory of the late Guardian and Observer journalist Sarah Hughes. 

The inaugural winners, in 2022, were the BBC News journalists Rachel Schraer and Jack Goodman, for their exposé of the false science that fuelled belief in ivermectin as a ‘miracle drug’ for treating COVID-19. 

Accepting the award at the Sarah Hughes Trust Lecture in December 2022, Rachel Schraer, BBC News, Health Disinformation Reporter said: “It’s a real honour to be recognised in the memory of Sarah Hughes, who I know was committed in her journalism to understanding all elements of the human condition. 

“Although our investigation relied on some quite technical crunching through the data and underlying clinical trials, the story itself came from a very potent mix of human fear, wishful thinking and ideology.” 

Co-winner Jack Goodman, BBC News, Senior Journalist added: “We couldn't prove whether ivermectin worked against this virus. But our reporting did dismantle the foundations that built a compelling story about a supposed miracle drug.” 

For the 2023 prize, the Sarah Hughes Trust is inviting submissions from any journalist who has debunked fake news in the field of health or medical journalism. 

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 winner(s) will receive the £1,000 prize at the annual Sarah Hughes Trust Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine in late 2023. The deadline for entries is 28 July 2023.  

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

Sarah Hughes 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. 

Enter the prize

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