Question time for Nigel Praities, the new Chair of the MJA

By November 9, 2021News, Public

MJA Chair, Nigel Praities

Nigel, of course, needs no introduction. He is executive editor of the Pharmaceutical Journal, an award-winning journalist and long-standing member of the Medical Journalists’ Association.

Since joining the Executive Committee almost four years ago Nigel has organised and chaired a number of educational and career-development webinars and worked tirelessly as a Vice Chair of the Association.

At the November 2021 EC meeting he was unanimously elected as Chair, taking over from Lawrence McGinty — who will continue to serve on the EC.

As part of our irregular series of Q&As, we put Nigel in the hot-seat to learn more about his career, cupcakes and karaoke:

Career highlight?

Realising that I did not need to know everything. 

Best thing about being a journalist?

No one puts the phone down when you call them up and immediately start asking questions.

Earliest ambition?

I spent my younger years wanting to become a spy, to hide in the shadows and observe others. In some ways, that ambition has been fulfilled.

Earliest inspiration?

Press Gang. 

Worst mistake?

Trying to make excuses for a woman not being allowed into a Pulse conference because she had a very young child with her. Never defend the indefensible. 

Best career move?

Journalism training – of course!

What is your best attribute as an editor?

Listening.

And the worst?

Occasional selective hearing.

Favourite health secretary?

Alan Johnson. He would always answer a question and if he didn’t know the answer, defer to someone else who did. 

Who would you most like to thank?

My English teacher, Mr Littlewood. He told me that I had talent and I have never forgotten that.

What makes you angry?

Wilful ignorance… and the House of Lords. 

Apology?

That woman who was wrongly thrown out of a Pulse conference.

What would you do if you won £100 million?

Probably foolishly try to buy a national newspaper.

Your go-to karaoke song?

Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush.

Guiltiest pleasure?

Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Although I don’t feel guilty.

What would you do if you were invisible for a day?

Slap a facemask on Boris Johnson.

Most treasured possession?

My two cats.

What are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint?

Composting everything I can get my hands on.

What part does alcohol play in your life?

Alcohol not so much. Food, however…

What do you bore your family with?

Politics. They know I have ‘views’ on most things.

Pet hate?

Answering questions, rather than asking them. Oh, and cupcakes.

What would be on your menu for the last supper?

Anything apart from cupcakes – they are evil. Probably toad in the hole and a mug of Yorkshire Tea.

Regrets?

I’ve had a few. Even attempting to become fluent in Japanese is a big one.

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