Government health minister Mike O'Brien today expressed further apologies to the Thalidomide victims, following the unveiling of his compensation booster package in December.

Second year students will remember my Power Without Responsibility presentation on the subject, and how I said that there were some of the greatest successes of journalism evident in the story. Having worked on the presentation for weeks, it became a subject that I felt particularly close to. I argue that had the Sunday Times not pushed the story so hard, the British public would still be unaware of the Thalidomiders, and this compensation package would not exist today.

As well as heart-stopping angst that this couldn't have happened on the day of my presentation, I feel pleased. It shows that me saying "Thalidomide is an issue that still impacts us today", was not just a throwaway statement after all.

The point is that even today, the legacy of well-meaning investigative journalism still resounds. The Sunday Times really set the bar high for aspiring journalists..

 

Comments

To think we might never have known if it weren't for their campaign!

Yes James it is fascinating how the issues you raised in your exellent presentation still resonate. And you are probably right that had the Sunday Times not done such sterling work it is questionable whether the whole matter would  have been pursued and the compensation agreed. However what is interesting is whether journalists today would be allowed the huge resources and support which went in to the Sunday Times campaign, under the remarkable editorship of Harry Evans. Perhaps an issue like Thalidomide would still be pursued but it would happen in a totally different way, harnessing the tools of new media in the manner that we discussed towards the end of the term.

Remember Thalidomide?