Impartial Reporter journalist Rodney Edwards is the Weekly/Sunday Reporter of the Year in the UK after picking up the accolade at the coveted Regional Press Awards on Friday. 
Organised by the Society of Editors, the awards ceremony is the Blue Riband event in local journalism in the United Kingdom. Nearly 700 entries were received from across the UK covering all aspects of local journalism, including sports, data, social media, campaigns and photography.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, a planned awards gala was replaced by a live online YouTube video event.

Impartial Reporter:
Rodney’s success is the latest accolade for the deputy editor of The Impartial Reporter having previously won the Northern Ireland Weekly Journalist of the Year in 2013 and in December 2019, Rodney was a finalist at the British Journalism Awards. 
Rodney’s body of work comprised his fearless investigation into the allegations of historical child sexual abuse in Fermanagh. That investigation unearthed 70 victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by 70 alleged abusers in this area going back decades. Rodney’s hard hitting but sensitive and empathetic handling of the victims’ stories resonated throughout the country and was picked up by many other media organisations, a fact not missed by the judges. A major police inquiry was set up to examine the allegations and is currently ongoing. 
Award winner Rodney commented: “I am delighted to accept this award for an investigation that would not have been possible without the bravery of a huge amount of victims who agreed to bear their souls in the hope of helping others.
“I have been fortunate to receive much support from my colleagues, including editor Mark and my family, friends and very many people across Fermanagh and further afield, all of whom made the sleepless nights, unnecessary intimidation, pressure from the PSNI and criticism from a select few that bit easier to manage. In particular, I am grateful for the unwavering support of my wife during such a challenging time. 
He added: “In my 10 years at the Impartial the past year has been the most difficult personally and professionally but it does not compare to the anguish felt by the victims for many years. I am proud of all that we, collectively, have achieved but this work is not yet over. While accolades are humbling the most precious prize of all will be the day when, hopefully, some of these victims finally get closure. I dedicate this award to them.” 

Impartial Reporter:
In a good day all around for this newspaper, The Impartial Reporter was runner-up and Highly Commended in the UK Weekly/Sunday Newspaper of the Year category for the second year in a row while one of the paper’s front pages from last year made the shortlist for Weekly/Sunday Front Page of the Year. 
Mark Conway, editor of The Impartial Reporter commented: “Everybody is delighted for Rodney, he is such a popular member of the team and is a quite brilliant journalist. The accolade of best in the UK is thoroughly deserved. His ability to tell the stories of all these alleged victims in such a sensitive manner and build up a trusting relationship with all of them stood out for me. Moreover, in a small knit community such as ours, these were incredibly difficult stories to tell but these victims had been ignored too often and Rodney made sure their story was told this time. That is what trusted local journalism is all about and the fight for justice for these victims remains and will continue.” 
The Impartial Reporter’s long-running investigation into historical child sexual abuse in Fermanagh has also been shortlisted for a prestigious award at the Amnesty International UK Media Awards 2020 in September.