City Press ‘damaged generation’ series scoops top award

2014-05-29 14:10

City Press has taken home one of health journalism’s most coveted prizes at the Discovery Health Journalism Awards.

Zinhle Mapumulo, Jeanne van der Merwe and Thanduxolo Jika’s series of articles, The damaged generation, came out tops in the best investigative news reporting category.

The awards ceremony took place in Joburg last night.

Mapumulo said: “I was honoured that we won, especially in the best investigative category. It’s one of the most difficult categories to win – some years there is no winner. So to win it shows that we worked extremely hard.”

See our special report on this project here.

The damaged generation is a series that reveals alleged negligence in some of the Gauteng health department’s hospitals – ultimately leading to brain damage in children at birth. The series was sparked by a story carried in several newspapers, which revealed that the department had admitted liability in a case of medical negligence.

Van der Merwe said: “We weren’t even looking for children with disabilities. We applied to the Gauteng health department for the records of all the medical lawsuits against them. When we went through the records, we found that most of the lawsuits were for children who were brain-damaged at birth.”

Mapumulo then spent months interviewing families who had suffered this fate.

The writers discovered that some children had been physically and mentally disabled and others left with cerebral palsy due in part to incompetence, inadequate training and staff and equipment shortages.

Mapumulo said: “I think the hardest part of the process was witnessing the tragedy and the hopelessness of those mothers when they were telling their stories. Also feeling their pain, it was emotionally draining.”

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