UCLan student wins award for radio documentary exploring own eye condition

15 May 2015

Lyndsey Boardman

Salim awarded Northern Rail sponsored Excellence in Journalism Award

Pic L-R: School of Journalism and Media intern Sarah Jones, journalism course leader and senior lecturer Julie Freer, journalism student Salim Patel, senior broadcast journalism lecturer Debora Robinson and Alan Keegan, media practice programme leader. 

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has been recognised for his journalistic talents after winning an award for a radio documentary he made about a degenerative eye condition that he himself suffers from.

Mohammed Salim Patel, a 21-year-old final year journalism student from Blackburn, was handed the Excellence in Journalism Award at the first ever Great Northern Creative Festival which is hosted by UCLan and sponsored by Northern Rail.

Known as blogger TheBlindJournalist, Salim produced a 23 minute piece called An Insight into Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) for his final year project. The documentary explores how the condition, which causes a deterioration of the retina, affects sufferers as well as looking at what causes it, the research that’s being done to find a cure and the support available for people with RP.

The former Blackburn College student said: “This documentary has allowed me to raise awareness of an eye condition that affects 3.5 million people across the world and show what I’m capable of at the same time. I am ecstatic about winning this award and feel like all of my hard work has paid off.”

“It is remarkable that he has managed to secure interviews with such powerful contributors to create a documentary that is both informative and moving.”

Salim secured a wealth of quality interviews for his documentary including former Eastenders actress Louisa Lytton whose cousin has RP, medical experts, representatives from charity RP Fighting Blindness and other people with the condition.

Senior broadcast journalism lecturer Deborah Robinson nominated Salim for the award. She said: “Salim is an exceptionally talented person. It is remarkable that he has managed to secure interviews with such powerful contributors to create a documentary that is both informative and moving.

“Salim has completed several industrial placements and I’m sure that in the future we will hear him broadcast professionally.”

Salim was one of 15 winners at the inaugural Great Northern Creative Festival awards ceremony which recognises the outstanding creative talents of UCLan students in media, film, photography and journalism. It is sponsored by Northern Rail, which has a longstanding reputation of promoting UCLan talent through an annual rail safety film script writing competition. More recently, Northern Rail commissioned an Instagram residency art project for UCLan student Riley Arthur to showcase her journeys through Northern Rail’s Northwestern routes for a month on the social network site.

For more information on Salim’s work follow TheBlindJournalist blog at or follow him on Twitter. To learn more about Riley’s project follow her on Instagram.