HYPERLOCAL broadband TV pioneer, URTV, has won a major award for coverage of an important health condition that affects the lives of more than 600,000 people across the UK.
The IPTV network has been awarded the top prize in the Epilepsy Scotland media awards for the best online/broadcasting category after beating entries from BBC Scotland, BBC Belfast and STV.
The piece, Epilespy in the Workplace, was made for the URTV’s network show Your Health Matters and was first broadcast on community channels across the country between January and March.
The 16-minute video highlighted many of the issues surrounding epilepsy and what it means to those with the condition, their employers and colleagues in the workplace.
The Epilepsy Scotland Awards were set up to recognise journalism that helps break down the stigma surrounding the common serious neurological condition which affects one in 97 people.
The winners of the awards were announced by an expert panel of judges, including BBC Scotland’s head of news and current affairs, John Boothman; Scottish Organiser of the National Union of Journalists, Paul Holleran; Makar, Liz Lochhead; crime writer, Michael Malone; and author, Neil Forsyth.
Presenter, Jo De Sylva, and camerman, Dave Dunbar, were praised for their “incredibly informative” piece which was made exclusively for the URTV network to highlight how finding and keeping a job may depend on employers who follow best employment practice.
Liz Lochhead said: “We got some really hard facts about there being absolutely no relationship between intelligence or cognitive ability. It was good to see that said so strongly, that if there is prejudice it is entirely unjustified.”
Fellow judge crime novelist, Michael Malone, said the information in the programme was presented in concise and easily digestible chunks.
He said the show portrayed an excellent role model for other people looking to get into the work place. “It would help those maybe afraid or lacking in confidence and thinking that they might be held back because of their epilepsy. So I thought that the programme worked really well.”
This is Epilepsy Scotland’s 14th Journalist of the Year award which is endorsed by the National Union of Journalists (Scotland).
There were 25 entries from 20 journalists. Other shortlisted award entrants for the online and broadcasting category were runner-up Peter McManus (BBC Radio Scotland), and Peter Coulter (Online BBC News Belfast), Ian Hamilton (BBC Scotland), Laura Piper (STV Edinburgh Online Magazine).
In receiving the award for best online and broadcasting story, Jo De Sylva said: “It’s a great honour to receive this award.
“When cameraman Dave Dunbar and I created this piece for the URTV network we believed this was an important subject affecting people and communities across Scotland. The piece was well received by viewers of the seven broadband tv stations. This accolade from Epilepsy Scotland is a wonderful endorsement of hyperlocal journalism.”
Brian Keating, CEO of URTV, said: “We’re delighted Epilepsy Scotland have chosen to recognise us as worthy winners of this prestigious award.
“There is a lot of debate over whether hyperlocal TV can produce quality content. This award goes some way to diffuse those concerns, especially when you consider the high quality and experience of all the other entrants.”
The awards were presented at the national charity’s annual fundraising Glasgow Wags event in the Grand Central Hotel on Thursday, April 25.
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Contact: Tracy Kilsby