Stories that made a real difference scoop top honours in Local Media Awards

Tipperary journalist is among those honoured

Anne O'Grady

Reporter:

Anne O'Grady

Stories that made a real difference scoop top honours in Local Media Awards

Aileen Hahesy from the Clonmel Nationalist was the winner of the News Series of the Year award.

Breaking news of the death of Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan, preventing the closure of a Credit Union in Clonmel and a local sporting story that went national and righted a wrong were just some of the entries that won honours in the Local Ireland/National Lottery sponsored 3rd Annual Media Awards presented at a Gala Dinner in Athlone on Thursday 24th May.

Iconic Newspapers led the way winning four individual titles. The Limerick Leader won the News Story of the Year (Áine Fitzgerald and Alan Owens) and the Best Community (Get Involved) category (Nick Rabbitts). The Leinster Leader’s Rory Delaney won Sports Story of the Year while Aileen Hahesy from the Clonmel Nationalist was the winner of the News Series of the Year award.

Meanwhile The Connacht Tribune took the overall award in three categories: Best Use of Photography; Best Designed Newspaper and Best Digital Content.

Other winners included: Eilis Ryan of the Westmeath Examiner for Feature Story of the Year; the Westmeath Independent for Best Advertising Campaign; the Mayo News for Best Designed Supplement; the Southern Star for Best Local Advertisement; National Lottery Good Causes best Story, Michael Tracey, Carlow Nationalist and Photograph of the Year, Patrick Browne, Wexford People.

The Lifetime Achievement was awarded (posthumously) to Neill O’Neill (34), former managing editor of the Mayo News who died tragically in October 2017. Neill had a love of journalism, a sense of drive and sheer infectious enthusiasm to spearhead his newspaper to two European Newspaper Design Awards, leading to his beloved Mayo News being feted across the European newspaper industry for the manner in which its news stories; features coverage and sports pages were designed and illustrated.

This was award was greeted with a standing ovation and was accepted on behalf of the family by Neill’s sister, Aoife Burke.

The awards, open to all 43 member Local Ireland titles and their staff, including journalists, photographers and advertising executives, attracted over 400 hundred entries and were presented by Frank Mulrennan, President Local Ireland and CEO Celtic Media Group and Dermot Griffin, CEO, National Lottery. The MC for the evening was Marty Morrissey, RTE Sports Broadcaster.

In his address, Frank Mulrennan, President, Local Ireland said, “These awards are in recognition of the many talents that combine to produce our titles in both print and digital format every week. We have outstanding journalists, photographers, designers and advertising executives the length and breadth of the country and we are delighted to properly recognise their contributions to our industry.

National Lottery CEO, Dermot Griffin, said the company was honoured to be sponsoring the Local Media Awards for the very first time.

“Local newspapers provide a very important service in their communities and deserve to be supported. Even though they are facing many challenges, they are still a very important part of the media landscape in Ireland, delivering valued and trusted journalism on a weekly basis. The very high quality of entries in this year’s Awards bears testament to this.”

He added: “Both the National Lottery and local newspapers are part and parcel of the fabric of Irish life, rooted in every village, parish and town in the country. Just like the great weekly tradition of buying a local newspaper, there is a much loved routine around going to the local shop to buy a Lotto or EuroMillions ticket.”

He said the National Lottery is proud of its contribution to local  communities through the Good Causes fund. Nearly 30 cent in every euro spent on National Lottery games goes back in the areas of Youth, Sports, Recreation, Amenities, Health, Welfare, Arts, Culture, National Heritage and the Irish Language. Last year alone more than €226 million was raised. 

The judging panel comprised of Chairman, Prof. Kevin Rafter, Head of the School of Communication, DCU;  Michael Foley, Professor Emeritus, DIT, journalist and author; Malachy Clerkin, sports journalist, Irish Times; Valerie Cox, Broadcaster; Frank Miller, Photographer, formerly Irish Times; Andrew Sinclair, Deputy Managing Director, OMD advertising agency and Anthony Quigley, Co-founder and Director of the Digital Institute .

Prof Kevin Rafter, Chairman of the judging panel complimented Local Ireland and the National Lottery for promoting and sponsoring the awards.