Carolyn Wickware joins the MJA EC

By April 3, 2024Public

Pharmaceutical Journal Executive Editor, Carolyn Wickware

We’re delighted to welcome Carolyn Wickware, Executive Editor of the Pharmaceutical Journal to the Executive Committee of the MJA.

Her appointment was proposed by MJA Chair Shaun Lintern, seconded by Vice Chair Jane Symons and unanimously agreed by the EC.

Carolyn is a multi-award winning journalist known for her investigative reporting. Here, in our occasional series of Q&As with members, Carolyn tells us more about herself, her work and her best career move.

Earliest ambition?

I wanted to be a doctor from the age of 4 right up until I didn’t make the cut for med school at 18. The pivot to journalism seemed like a big leap during university – but I’m very glad I took the risk.

Earliest inspiration?

I distinctly remember the first time I read an AA Gill piece and being fascinated by what he could do with words.

Best career move?

The two weeks of work experience at Pulse that later led to a job on their sister publications.

What is your best attribute as a journalist?

Finding stories in dense documents, like government contracts. I’m a proficient Google-er, finding these documents that have been squirreled away in corners of the internet.

And the worst?

Short attention span.

Story you are most proud of?

In 2017, I was the only journalist at a small conference of out-of-hours GPs when an NHS England official said there had been discussions around banning patients from walking into A&E. We reported the story in Pulse and it was picked up by most of the nationals, but the NHS England press office claimed I had misquoted the person speaking. When we published my recording of the comments, the press office apologized – but denied the discussions had taken place. Walk-ins to A&E were later banned during the pandemic…

Worst mistake?

Early in my career, I misquoted a speaker at a conference because of a shaky dictaphone recording. The mistake was noted by the speaker on Twitter and I have since learned to take extensive notes – always.

Who would you most like to thank?

My roommate in my first year of university, who pointed out that I could be “an editor” for a living, when I said I was really enjoying editing my friend’s English essay. There’s no guarantee I would have thought of that myself.

Do you have any medical journalists you look up to (and why)?

Emma Wilkinson. She’s a great journalist and I aspire for her level of time management. She always has loads of interesting projects on the go and there’s never any compromise on quality or enthusiasm.

What makes you angry?

Lack of regulation around social media. It can be a force for good but there’s a dangerous side that needs to be addressed at every level, from education on healthy use to better advertising control.

Biggest change in journalism during your career?

The rise of podcasting as a form of journalism and the ongoing demise of X/Twitter. From a B2B journalism perspective, I think as Gen Z enters the workforce, we’ll see an even bigger shift away from X and towards Instagram and TikTok in the coming years and we need to make that move with them to keep them engaged.

To tweet, or not to tweet?

Tweet with caution. X is not the source of news or information that it once was. 

What would you do if you won £100 million?

I’d like to say ‘travel the world’, but I know I’d only do that for a bit before thinking of a story idea and getting back to work. The rest would go to charities. 

Where are you happiest?

New York City. I’ve been in London for 23 years, but NYC still feels like home.

Pet hate?

The words ‘whilst’ and ‘utilise’. They should be banned.

What would be on your menu for the last supper?

My husband’s lasagna.

Food hell?

Shellfish – no thank you.

What are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint?

Proud owner of an electric car and hot compost bin.

Why should health journalists become MJA members?

The MJA is a great way to network with other journalists and create learning opportunities for those looking to advance in their career. I like that these opportunities come in a variety of forms. The MJA’s mentorship programme, the symposium and lunch and learn series are more structured. But I’ve had really informative conversations with other editors over a glass of wine at the Christmas drinks that have been hugely helpful too. Lots to be gained from an MJA membership.

What do you bore your family with?

The Freedom of Information Act. I’ve been known to mention it in my sleep.

Previous Q&As with MJA members

Introducing Jess Beresford: our student rep and face of the future

Question time for Nigel Praities

Any questions: Dr Lawrence McGinty

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