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Clare Champion journalist, Owen Ryan, who has scooped a top journalism award. Photograph by John Kelly.

Clare Champion reporter nominated for media award

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THE Clare Champion’s Owen Ryan has been nominated for mental health charity Headline’s media awards for 2020. Owen’s article, The Importance of being Jamie, highlighted the experiences of Shannon’s Jamie Walsh, who after years of depression and inner torment has now embraced his transgenderism. Jamie, the son of local councillor Donna McGettigan, told Owen of his hopes for the future and the positivity he has gained from being able to be himself.

The article has been nominated in the Mental Health Journalism Local Print / Online category for a single print or online news report or feature, published in a regional or local news outlet, that deals with stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental ill health.

Reacting to the nomination, Owen said, “I’m very pleased that the article has been shortlisted. It’s Jamie Walsh and Donna McGettigan’s story and I’m very grateful to them for sharing it. It is great that there is so much more acceptance nowadays and Jamie’s story shows how much better life can be when people are given the freedom to be open.

“There was a big reaction to the story when it appeared and hopefully it will have helped some young people who are LGBT+ and their families.”

Speaking following the announcement, Clare Champion Editor, Colin McGann said, “This nomination is a mark of Owen’s ability to get to the heart of the issue through his reporting. As a local newspaper, our job is to share the stories of local people. With this particular story, Owen took great care in dealing with a sensitive and personal issue. If this story helps one young person to address their mental health issues then it will have provided an invaluable service to the community.”

Established over a decade ago and relaunched in 2019, Headline’s Mental Health Media Awards recognise excellence in media coverage of mental health issues. A spokesperson for Headline stated, “The awards recognise excellence in media coverage of mental health issues, celebrating those whose work brings to light challenging stories of mental ill health. With 10 categories, the awards highlight work from all media platforms across local and national media. The focus is on stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental ill health.”

These are the only awards in Ireland dedicated to recognising excellence in mental health media. Owen’s award nominated article can be accessed HERE

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