Anna Whitaker

Anna Whittaker, Notts TV

Individual Excellence Awards
The AOP Award for Inspiring Local Journalism sponsored by Google News Initiative

Anna used her platform and journalism skills to drive the change and make a real difference in her local community – showing how great local, digital journalism can drive a story to the top of the agenda.

Families have been campaigning for change within the maternity units at Nottingham University Hospitals for many years following hundreds of baby deaths and injuries. In her role as a Local Democracy Reporter, Notts TV’s Anna Whittaker has played a large part in these dreams of safer maternity units gradually becoming a reality.

Anna contacted families who had shared experiences of maternity incidents through social media. She saw the injustice of what had happened to these families and made it her mission to investigate their cases and share their stories. The result of Anna's cross-platform, digital coverage of this complex and emotionally charged story has given a voice to bereaved families and resulted in real change by holding the government and the NHS to account.

Last May, Anna discovered that Donna Ockenden would be available to chair a maternity review in Nottingham from July 2022 after a previous NHS review failed. 100 bereaved families sent Anna a joint statement confirming that Donna was their preferred choice. Anna asked NHS England and the health secretary to explain their reservations in appointing her. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt linked to Anna's subsequent story in his newsletter and wrote that he “couldn’t see any other barriers to appointing Donna” after reading Anna's piece. Later Ms Ockenden was officially appointed.

Anna followed the announcement with a detailed piece about what went wrong with the previous failed review. Anna's stories have spread far and wide - she featured on BBC East Midlands Today’s politics show as a correspondent on the Nottingham maternity crisis. Anna's has a following of maternity experts on Twitter and her tweets have often seen upwards of 30,000 impressions.

Donna is now eight months into a ground-breaking review which will ensure change and safety at Nottingham’s hospitals, protecting women and babies of the future.

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