Four 'Irish Times' journalists among 14 winners at media awards


Fit to print: Media awards return:FOUR IRISH Timesjournalists were among 14 winners at the national media awards which were presented last night.

The award for overall journalist of the year was given jointly to Nick Webb and Shane Ross of the Sunday Independent for their exposure of overspending in Fás. Judges said the story had “a huge public impact”. They also won in the business journalist of the year category. The awards were sponsored by Bord Gáis Energy.

Broadcaster John Bowman was honoured for his outstanding contribution to Irish media over the past four decades. On Monday next he will finish presenting Questions and Answerson RTÉ television after 21 years.

The story of how the deaths of two Tyrone football players seven years apart, affected the team won the sports award for Irish Timesjournalist Keith Duggan.

Irish TimesLiterary Correspondent Eileen Battersby was commended by judges for the “brilliance” in her arts writing over many years. She received the award for arts journalist of the year.

Carl O’Brien, Social Affairs Correspondent with The Irish Times, won disability journalist of the year (sponsored by Rehab) for an “extensive and well researched piece” on services for people with disabilities. It resulted in the publication of standards for these residential services and “shone a light on sections of society which are often forgotten,” judges said.

Irish Timespolitical correspondent Mark Hennessy was recognised for his “timely and important” articles on Taoiseach Brian Cowen which identified events ahead of time. He won the in the category of commentary analysis, opinion and critique (sponsored by Louis Copeland).

Among the 32 judges were Mary Finan, former chair of the RTÉ authority; former Irish Timeseditor Conor Brady; chief executive of Barnardos Fergus Finlay and Ombudsman and information commissioner Emily O’Reilly.

Ms Finan said never was journalism more important in Ireland. “A free and independent press provides people with the information they need to play an active role in the life of their country. People must have the freedom to speak their mind and to publish criticism. Ireland is well served by its journalists as evidenced by the high calibre of the entries,” she said.

An appeal to journalists to reflect on the need for good news stories as well as bad news stories in order to boost public confidence was made by Bord Gáis chief executive John Mullins.

Sunday Tribune journalist Justine McCarthy won public interest story of the year award for an article which judges said led to the publication of the Ryan Report.

Other winners were: Political and current affairs journalist of the year, Paul Reynolds of RTÉ; Iriseoir na bliana as Gaeilge (award sponsored by Foras na Gaeilge), Gearóid Mac Donncha of RTÉ; Humanitarian affairs journalist of the year (sponsored by One Water), Claire O’Sullivan of the Irish Examiner; Young journalist of the year (sponsored by Eirgrid), Gerard Fitzgibbon Limerick Leader; Provincial sports journalist of the year, Joe Ó Muircheartaigh of the Clare People; Provincial news journalist of the year (sponsored by Boylan Print Group), Edel O’Connell of the Evening Echo.