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Journalists recognised for excellence in reporting on epilepsy

IBE and UCB announce winners of award to improve understanding of epilepsy around the world

Brussels (Belgium), 7th March 2011 – 0700 CET – The International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE) and UCB are pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Award.

The award, a joint initiative of the IBE and the biopharmaceutical company UCB, aims to raise awareness about epilepsy across the globe. It recognises journalists who have excelled in reporting compelling and informed stories that engage the audience on this often misunderstood condition. Epilepsy is the most common, serious neurological condition, affecting nearly 50 million people worldwide.

Mike Glynn, award judge and President of IBE, commented, “This year’s Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Award saw an increased number of entries, with the overall standard being particularly high. A total of 43 entries from 17 countries were submitted, ranging from messages of hope to moving personal accounts, which reflects that the consistency of message on epilepsy is united across the globe. We congratulate and thank all journalists who submitted entries for their dedication to responsible and educational reporting on epilepsy.”

An independent seven-member judging panel consisting of media experts and people with experience of epilepsy were tasked with identifying responsible, original and informed stories that were well structured and researched, built on a foundation of responsible reporting and that gave a voice to people with epilepsy.


The winner of the Print category was Makiko Tatebayashi for her article Let’s Know Epilepsy, which featured as a seven-part series in the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

“‘Let’s Know Epilepsy’, one of Ms. Tatebayashi’s ‘Medical Care Renaissance’ series, is an innovative and convincing piece of journalism,” Joachim Mueller-Jung, member of the judging panel and a journalist for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said. “The quality of writing and investigative reporting were befitting for an article with an estimated audience reach of 10 million people. Its focus on people living with epilepsy as well as the disease itself has helped to demystify epilepsy and bring it to the forefront of the public consciousness.”

Jessica Solodar was the winner of the Online category for her article Seizures triggered by video games: Underestimated and undiagnosed which was posted on the web-site epilepsy.com.

“This article is a persuasive call to action for a greater awareness and understanding of photosensitive epilepsy,” Dr Mark Porter, GP & Medical Correspondent for The Times said. “The journalist succeeds in connecting personal experience and research, while navigating a complex topic in an organized, persuasive and, most importantly, compelling way.”

The winner of the Broadcast category was Niamh Maher, series producer for “This Is Me”, for her documentary “Not Out”, which was broadcast on Raidió Teilifís Éireann 1.

“Niamh Maher’s observational documentary is a personal, insightful and inspiring piece of journalism,” fellow judge, Robert Cole, Chief Executive Epilepsy Association of South Australia and the Northern Territory, said. “The heartfelt reflections on living with epilepsy provide a profound, positive insight into the important supportive role of family and friends. It is also a testament to the fact that epilepsy should not stand in the way of someone’s aspirations.”

Notes to Editors

About the Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Awards
The award is a joint initiative of the IBE and UCB and is open to consumer, health and medical journalists writing for print, broadcast or online outlets.

The international judging panel comprised the following judges:
• Mr Robert Cole, Epilepsy Association of South Australia and the Northern Territory, Australia
• Dr Carlos Acevedo, Vice-President of the International Bureau for Epilepsy Latin American Region and Editor, International Epilepsy News, Chile
• Mr Joachim Mueller-Jung, Writer and Journalist, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany
• Mr David Josephs, Epilepsy Advocate, UK
• Dr Mark Porter, GP & Medical Correspondent for The Times, UK
• Mr Randolph Siegel, President, Advance Publications, USA
• Mr Mike Glynn, President, IBE, Ireland

Entries were assessed on the following criteria:

• Helps to increase the awareness and understanding of epilepsy
• Gives a voice to people with epilepsy
• Is conceptually or visually innovative and creative
• Is well structured, well researched and compelling
• Uses language responsibly when reporting or writing on epilepsy
Certain local restrictions may apply regarding this Award and it is only available where not prohibited or restricted by local laws and regulations. The award winners receive €4,000 in travel vouchers and are encouraged to use their prize to defray travel costs related to further journalistic research and publications about epilepsy.

For Further information

Ann Little, Executive Director, IBE
T +353.1.210.8850,

Nancy Nackaerts, External Communications, UCB
T +32.473.864.414,

Eimear O'Brien, Associate Director, Global CNS Communications UCB
T +32.2.559.9271,

About the IBE
Founded almost 50 years ago, the IBE is an organisation of laypersons and professionals interested in the medical and non-medical aspects of epilepsy. The IBE addresses such social problems as education, employment, insurance, driving licence restrictions and public awareness, and supports its members through a range of innovative and important initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of people with epilepsy and their families.

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders.

Forward looking statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and beliefs of management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from those that may be implied by such forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Important factors that could result in such differences include: changes in general economic, business and competitive conditions, effects of future judicial decisions, changes in regulation, exchange rate fluctuations and hiring and retention of its employees.

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