Irish Examiner journalist picks up honour at media awards

IRISH EXAMINER journalist Fiachra O Cionnaith was awarded top honours at the 2010 GlaxoSmithKline Medical Media Awards in Dublin last night.

Fiachra was announced as winner of the Consumer Print category for his work on the newspaper’s 20-page suicide supplement which was published last October.

This year’s judging panel was headed up by Dr John Bowman and announcing Fiachra’s award, Dr Bowman described the supplement as “outstanding”.

Fiachra was praised “for drawing significant attention to one of the most important issues in contemporary Ireland... for his writing on the topic of suicide and for his many contributions to the outstanding 20-page suicide supplement in his paper in October 2009”.

Irish Examiner editor Tim Vaughan said the award to was a salute to real journalism in an important social context, and a tribute to the wider team behind the newspaper’s special investigation into suicide in Ireland today.

“There is hardly a family in the country that has not been touched by the indescribable horror of suicide,” he said. “I believe newspapers and the media in general should be doing everything we can to campaign for preventative measures that have worked in other countries and for support services for the most vulnerable and bereaved families.”

General manager at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ireland Sally Storey said that Fiachra and the other nine journalists had given a voice to patients.

“The voice of the patient is the most important yet is often the least listened to. As the Irish healthcare system undergoes considerable transformation, the journalists who champion patients’ voices and highlight the issues that really matter to them, play a critical role in achieving the right sort of change in our healthcare system.”

RTÉ’s Fergal Bowers was named the overall Health Journalist of the Year for breaking the Tallaght Hospital X-ray scandal, whereby 57,000 X-rays were not reviewed by staff, while the Regional Print Media Award went to Mary Murphy of The Kingdom for her “dedication, empathy and concise style of writing”.


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