An outgoing deputy editor has warned of the fight facing local journalism from “powerful forces” as he prepares to take up a role with a national newspaper.
Rodney triumphed at the Regional Press Awards in June after leading the Enniskillen-based Reporter’s long-running investigation into historic child sex abuse across Country Fermanagh.
In his final front page exclusive for the newspaper, pictured below, Rodney revealed 10 more people had been arrested in connection with the resulting police probe into the scandal.
In an accompanying farewell editorial, the 33-year-old wrote: “This place has been a part of me since I was a teenager and I have grown so much as a journalist but more importantly as a person.
“I have learned what it means to be part of this community and why we must always stand up for ourselves. I have learned that different traditions and cultures enrich our lives and must be celebrated and respected.
“I have learned that powerful forces will try to stop us from writing but that our words are even more powerful. I have learned that most politicians have hearts and are doing their best to help but that we must always highlight those who are not.
“I have learned that many of our families, neighbours and friends throughout this county have experienced pain and yet continue to display such courage in the face of despair.
“I have learned the value of listening and learning, being compassionate and giving people of all backgrounds a voice. I have learned that there is more that unites us than divides us and have seen this for myself at community groups, churches and schools from one end of Fermanagh to the other.”
Rodney, who has worked for the Reporter since 2009 and undertook work experience with the paper prior to that, went on to thanks colleagues he had met down the years.
Writing on Thursday, he added: “To open a new door, you must close the old one first. Yesterday I handed back the key I’ve kept close to me for all these years and did just that.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing your stories with me and thank you for giving me this opportunity and this responsibility.
“Working at the Impartial Reporter, the best newspaper in the world, has been the greatest privilege of my life and I will never forget it, or you.
“Please keep supporting this newspaper and do keep in touch.”