Stuff Circuit has taken out an international media award for its investigation into the epidemic of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Disordered is a video-led, multimedia investigation exposing the national shame of how New Zealand treats people with FASD.
The documentary project was crowned the winner for the best use of online video at the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) Digital Media Awards Worldwide on Friday morning (NZ time).
One of the judges who commended the investigation said: “This is a beautiful and gripping telling of an important national story of pain and abuse all too common in countries with a wounded and often overlooked population damaged before they were even born.
* Disabled and criminalised: FASD families continue to suffer in the justice system
* A collective failure: Thomas Morrison’s death, at 42, should not be in vain
* Government plan to tackle Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder ‘has failed’
* Parents plead, ‘please don’t let our kids become criminal statistics’
* Foetal alcohol injuries in NZ ‘could be five times higher’ than some official figures suggest
* World News Day: How Stuff’s fact-based journalism makes a difference
“It has an almost languid pacing but each segment keeps the viewer engaged enough to want to see ‘What happens next?’ Bravo to this team.”
The winners of the 2022 Digital Media Awards Worldwide were announced during a ceremony at the annual World News Media Congress in Zaragoza, Spain. Five global winners were recognised in six different categories for their exceptional demonstration in digital strategies to meet the changes in how people consume news and information today.
Hundreds of thousands of children and adults (the numbers are an estimate because there’s never been any local research to establish prevalence) are left with permanent brain damage caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol.
Thomas’s death almost derailed the plan for the project. Filming had been stalled while New Zealand went into Covid lockdown. The team obtained a government exemption to continue the work, and were about to travel to interview Thomas Morrison upon his release from prison, when they got the call: he had passed away.
But what happened to Thomas was a tragic wake-up call over how badly the New Zealand system fails people with FASD. In spite of pleas for help and predictions Thomas couldn’t cope, he had been left to fend for himself.
Stuff Circuit decided it was now even more important to tell his story, and his family agreed–giving their permission to report posthumously.