A light in dark places

IT is to the son of Irish migrants in 19th-century Chicago that we still look for an enduring summary of what ought to be a newspaper’s aim, or at least one of them.

“The job of the newspaper,” wrote Finley Peter Dunne, editor of the Chicago Evening Post, “is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Excuse us, then, for blowing — briefly — our own trumpet in bringing to light the scandalous ‘Grace’ case, an appalling story of abuse and neglect of an intellectually disabled child and a seemingly uncaring bureaucracy. The alarm having been raised first by a whistleblower, the long slog of sustained, determined, scrupulous work — getting the facts out of very dark places — by Daniel McConnell and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, resulted in justice for the victim.

Their prize at this week’s NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards for the best News Analysis work was richly merited. In the finest traditions of our profession, they — and the Irish Examiner — have done what Mr Dunne would have expected. He would have been proud of them.

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