The Sun’s health features editor Christina Earle was awarded two prestigious MJA awards three months after her tragic death.
The 31-year-old, described by colleagues as a ‘remarkable’ and ‘formidable’ journalist, won the coveted Outstanding Contribution to Health or Medical Journalism Award, sponsored by Edelman. Her win in the Editor of the Year category, sponsored by Lilly, made her eligible for the ‘best of the best’ Outstanding category.
Her husband Oli, who she married last year, received the awards at an emotional ceremony which her close family and colleagues also attended.
“Christina was an incredible talent and her death at such a young age was so tragic. Her dedication to her readers and ability to connect with them shone through everything she did,” said Lawrence McGinty, Association chair and former ITV science and medical editor.
“Her work on the Sun’s health features pages was outstanding. She produced insightful, engaging stories and campaigned for the readers she cared so deeply about.”
Jenny Hope, a distinguished medical journalist who was on the judging panel, added: “The category (Editor of the Year) is all about connecting with the reader and we felt Christina demonstrated this in the stories, the design and the format they were presented in. The heart-warming and engaging material, which was highly relevant to the readership, won the day.”
The ceremony held at the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in the City of London was hosted by former BBC News anchor, Maxine Mawhinney, and brought together more than 150 of the UK’s leading health and medical journalists. Seventeen awards were presented on the night, with winners receiving the coveted MJA trophy along with a cheque for £750.
And the winners were….
Charity Writer or Broadcaster of the Year
John Illman, freelance, for Childhood blood cancer: the quest for a kinder cure a report published by the charity Bloodwise.
Blogger of the Year
Nick Triggle, whose blogs about health, social care and public health issues are published on the BBC website, is shortlisted for three posts: Conservative manifesto: Why many will pay more for care, Charlie Gard: A case that changed everything? and Did the NHS avert disaster this winter?
Newcomer of the Year
This category is open to writers or broadcasters with 36 or fewer months in health or medical journalism on February 21, 2018 — when entry to this year’s awards opened.
Dr Oscar Duke, an NHS doctor and presenter of Born Too White a Dragonfly Film & Television Production for BBC 2.
Regional Reporter of the Year
This award is presented to acknowledge the important role of regional newspapers and broadcasters in nurturing and developing journalistic talent, and it is open to named health correspondents and general reporters who cover health stories on their patch.
Matthew Hill, health correspondent, BBC in the South West for his exclusive report on a Bristol bowel surgeon under investigation by the General Medical Council following complaints from patients who had mesh surgery. His report was broadcast on BBC One – Inside Out West
Mental Health Story of the Year
Keith Cooper, senior writer, BMA News for Far from Home, Far from Hope.
Catherine Carver, for Postpartum-psychosis: I’m afraid of how you’ll judge me, as a mother and as a person, on Mosaic, the website published by the Wellcome global charitable foundation.
Catherine Jones, health correspondent, Channel 5 News, for her exclusive report on the police investigation into seven deaths at the Linden Centre mental health unit.
Feature of the Year (specialist audience)
Natasha Loder, healthcare correspondent, The Economist for Closing in on cancer.
Linda Geddes, freelance, for Staying awake: the surprisingly effective way to treat depression on Mosaic, the website published by the Wellcome global charitable foundation.
Amy Maxmen, senior reporter at Nature for The invisible disability.
Feature of the Year (broadcast)
Presenter, Chris Packham, executive producer, Tom Barry, director, Charlie Russell, editor, Will Grayburn and producer, Lizzie Kempton for Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me a Raw TV production for BBC Two.
Feature of the Year (general audience)
John McDermott, public policy editor at the The Economist for Damage control.
Joanna Moorhead, freelance, for Cancer I could deal with. Losing my breast I could not published in the Observer magazine
News Story of the Year (specialist audience)
Grace Lewis and Annabelle Collins for Pharmacy technicians could oversee POM supply under ‘sensitive’ proposals to DH published on chemistanddruggist.co.uk
Carolyn Wickware, senior reporter at Pulse, for Pressurised GP out-of-hours see serious incidents increase by 26% in a year .
News Story of the Year (broadcast)
The fast growing public health crisis on hospital wards is knife violence an ITN production for Channel 4 News. Reporter, Symeon Brown; producer, Girish Juneja and cameraman Jason Farrington.
News Story of the Year (general audience)
The Guardian health policy editor Denis Campbell and data journalist Pamela Duncan for NHS accused of covering up huge data loss that put thousands at risk.
Case Study of the Year
Jo Waters, freelance for Gold medal For Guts published in Good Health, Daily Mail.
Catherine Jones, Channel 5 health correspondent, for Nascot Lawn Respite Centre Closure, broadcast on News at 5.
Patrick Strudwick, LGBT editor, BuzzFeed for This Young Man Wants You To Know What It’s Like Being Intersex.
Kat Arney, freelance for Unlocking the secrets of the brain published in BBC Science Focus.
Freelance of the Year
Faye Kirkland for her broadcast journalism for Newsnight BBC 2, BBC News at Ten, and BBC News at Six and Ten
Editor of the Year
Christina Earle, health editor (features) at The Sun. Christina, who launched the paper’s Who Cares Wins awards, died suddenly and unexpectedly earlier this year. She was nominated by her friend and colleague Lynsey Hope. Submissions one two three
Outstanding Contribution to Health or Medical Journalism
In this category, which is sponsored by Edelman, the shortlist is not announced until the night of the Awards ceremony, with the shortlist and winner being selected by the judges from across all categories.
Christina Earle, health editor (features), The Sun
EXCELLENCE IN PR AWARD
This year the Medical Journalists’ Association, supported by the Healthcare Communications Association (HCA), launched a new award for excellence in PR to recognise the communications teams and PR agencies who understand what journalists really want. This award is judged by journalists, for journalists, with the aim of improving the standard of releases and press materials MJA members receive.
MJA chair Lawrence McGinty says: “We know this award may lead to some raised eyebrows, but I doubt there is a journalist in the land who has not quoted a press release, or used a well-written one as the springboard for a story.
“Journalists and PRs have, by definition, different agendas, but there is a space where the Venn diagrams cross and both can win. Acknowledging this, and recognising when a PR agency or communications team is getting it right, does nothing to change the MJA’s motto: Independent and bloody-minded.”
Mike Dixon, CEO of the HCA says: “There are many awards available for healthcare PR teams to enter, but only this MJA award is judged by journalists themselves. For a PR team, that makes gaining recognition in this award very special indeed. What PR team would not want to be able to tell a prospective client, or their organisation’s directors, that the journalists they are targeting have identified their work as worthy of recognition for excellence?”
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Thank you to our sponsors and supporters, MSD, Lilly, Sanofi, Edelman and the Healthcare Communications Association and congratulations to all our finalists and winners.