A SERIES exposing the extent of abuse of prescription medicines including the painkiller fentanyl is part of a portfolio that last night won Border Mail journalist Aisha Dow the prestigious Young Journalist of the Year award at this year’s Quill Awards.
The awards, hosted by the Melbourne Press Club, reward excellence in Victorian journalism and were presented at the Crown Palladium.
Judges of the Young Journalist of the Year award cited Ms Dow’s portfolio as “an impressive blend of disclosure journalism and descriptive writing”.
“Her standout work in 2012 was a sustained investigation into the black market for pain-killing fentanyl patches, a trade marked by recruitment of pensioners to sell their prescription drugs and rampant cross-border doctor-shopping,” they said.
“Aisha’s work made national headlines and disclosed that the trade had claimed the lives of at least 50 people in the past two years.”
The judges complimented Dow’s pieces on a homeless couple and jellyfish in Lake Hume as showing “she is a gifted writer with an admirable aversion to adjectives and adverbs”.
Dow joined The Border Mail in 2011 from Port Augusta, where she completed a cadetship and was editing the paper.
A series of articles she wrote at Port Augusta exposed bullying and understaffing at Port Augusta Hospital and led to a parliamentary inquiry.
Dow completed a degree in journalism and international studies at the University of South Australia.
Editor of The Border Mail Di Thomas congratulated Dow and said her win was an acknowledgment of the outstanding reporting skills she had shown at the newspaper.
“Aisha came to us from South Australia with a keen interest in investigating and reporting local issues,” Thomas said.
“She has shown the full extent of her talents and empathy for her interview subjects in her series on teenage motherhood and homelessness, as well as breaking the stories on the abuse of prescription medicines on the Border.
“I am so pleased she has been afforded this great honour and believe it affirms a wider commitment by the editorial staff at The Border Mail to the pursuit of excellence within our craft.”