Transition year students excel in Press Pass journalism awards

‘We need people like you who want to report on the world’, says Ruairí Quinn

The overall winner of the NNI Press Pass competition was Elayna Keller from Our Lady’s College in Greenhills, Drogheda. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The overall winner of the NNI Press Pass competition was Elayna Keller from Our Lady’s College in Greenhills, Drogheda. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 01:01


Ireland’s future journalists and photographers gathered in the Convention Centre, Dublin, yesterday for the National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) Press Pass writing and photography awards.

About 18,000 transition year students from 300 schools around the country took part in the competition, with the shortlisted students attending the awards ceremony.

Introducing the event, NNI chairman Matt Dempsey told the audience that reading a newspaper is an educational experience, no matter what age you are.

“Newspapers play a vital role in critical thinking skills,” said Mr Dempsey.

“Press Pass is an opportunity for students to debate current affairs, discover a variety of texts and become more critical of what they read and how they write.”

The official speaker at the awards ceremony was film producer and educator David Puttnam.

Quoting New York Times journalist Tom Friedman, Lord Puttnam said life is no longer about having average skills, doing an average job and earning an average lifestyle.


‘Above average’
“Everyone needs to find their own extra or special something that makes them stand out,” he said. “The very fact that you award winners are here today already has established the fact that you are clearly not just above average, but wish to be above average.”

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn, who also attended the event, congratulated the prize winners. “We need people like you who want to report on the world and understand why the world it is the way it is,” said Mr Quinn. “Don’t take our democracy for granted. There are many countries where news is simply not available or where you can’t articulate your own interpretation of events,” Mr Quinn added.

The overall winner of the NNI Press Pass competition was Elayna Keller from Our Lady’s College in Greenhills, Drogheda, who wrote an article entitled “Kids can be cruel”.

The first prize winners in the competition were:
News
– James Healy from St Joseph’s Secondary School, Drogheda, Louth.
Features
– Emily O’Grady, from Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Co Limerick.
Comment & Opinion
– Connell McHugh, Athlone Community College, Athlone, Co Westmeath .
Sports
– Niamh Hetherington, Dunshaughlin Community College, Co Meath.
Photography
– Kinga Strama, St Mary’s College, Arklow, Co Wicklow.