Rewarding excellent journalism in the field of diabetes

Entries open for the 2011/2 Novo Nordisk Media Prize

Novo Nordisk, a global leader in diabetes care, is now accepting entries for the 2011/2 Novo Nordisk Media Prize.

“With the prevalence of diabetes increasing throughout the world, there is a greater need to provide the public with information about the disease,” says Shelley Harris, the PR Manager at Novo Nordisk South Africa. “The media plays a significant role in getting the message out about the various aspects of the diabetes and the management of the two different types of diabetes; we therefore established this prize to reward well-researched, clear and accessible communications in the field.”

The start of the awards process coincides with World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated globally on 14 November. We are hoping the Media prize will encourage and incentivise journalists that work in the healthcare and lifestyle arena to write more about Diabetes as a means to educate the general public.

The Media Prize will be awarded to the best print article and best online article about diabetes, published in media targeting the broad public. South African based journalists working for South African publications and websites are invited to submit features published between 1 November 2011 and 30 June 2012.

The Media Prize will be adjudicated by an expert panel of judges, which consists of journalists, medical professionals and representatives from patient organisations that are totally independent of Novo Nordisk.

The need to foster a more widespread understanding of diabetes is particularly urgent in South Africa, where the prevalence of diabetes is 6-7%. The steep increase in the number of affected people – and in the severity of many cases – is due to changing lifestyles and the growing problem of obesity in the country.

While Type 1 diabetes is largely an auto-immune condition, Type 2 diabetes is associated with, among other things, obesity, a diet high in fatty, sugary and processed foods, and a simultaneous lack of exercise.

The disease is, however, treatable and manageable. The problem is that many people don’t know about diabetes or about the signs and symptoms of the disease, and therefore go undiagnosed and untreated. Type 2 diabetes is predominantly a condition more often occurring in those above the age of 40 years, and because of this, the younger ones overlook the fact that if they have the risk factors, they can also have type 2 diabetes. It is for this reason that informing the public about the disease is so important.

Winning entries stand in line to win a cash prize plus an international trip to Novo Nordisk headquarters in Denmark to learn more about best practice care in Diabetes treatment.

“What we’re looking for is coverage of the disease covering prevention, treatment, health issues etc. The articles must not be about products, research and views. They must have appeared in the general media, and be interesting, appealing and factually correct,” says Harris. “We’re looking for journalists who’ve grasped the depth of the subject, but who’ve communicated it in an accessible and noteworthy way.”

Interested journalists can contact Lebo Madiba on for details on how to enter.