'Irish Times' journalists win top awards


The Irish Times finance correspondent Simon Carswell has been chosen as national journalist of the year for his work on the banking crisis.

Mr Carswell’s focus on how the banking guarantee came into being swayed the judging panel for the inaugural National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) journalism awards.

Judging panel chairman Michael Brophy said the Irish nation changed on the morning of September 30th, 2008, when the banking guarantee came into force.

The events surrounding that night and its aftermath have been covered by many distinguished journalists, but none had do so as comprehensively as Mr Carswell, according to the citation read out by Mr Brophy.

“He has brought us inside the very rooms where the banking deal was finally hammered out and has, since then, produced an extraordinary body of work, which has helped to inform a disbelieving public,” he said.

“He has helped us understand why things have happened in the way they have happened.”

It has already been a memorable year for The Irish Times journalist whose book Anglo Republic, about the crisis that sank Anglo-Irish Bank, has become a bestseller.

The Irish Times’ Miriam Lord was awarded the political journalist of the year. The citation, read by Independent.ie editor Noirin Hegarty, said Ms Lord had such “unique skill that politicians and their peers both respect and fear them” and she had been at the top of her game for 20 years.

The citation praised her “wicked sense of humour, mixed with superb analysis and biting satire.”

The Irish Times’ feature writer Kathy Sheridan was chosen as the NNI feature writer of the year. Reading the citation, judge PJ Cunningham said no subject was “too big or too small” for Ms Sheridan.

She had the capability of being able to zone in on the “true heartbeat of the story with a compellingly honest narrative.”

The special NNI award for `Outstanding Contribution to the newspaper industry’ went to former Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy who was praised for dedicating her working life to the “public’s right to know”.

Irish Times journalists had the largest number of winners and also the largest number of nominations.

The other Irish Times nominees were Mary Raftery who was nominated in the national journalist of the year category for her work in exposing child clerical abuse.

Literary correspondent Eileen Batterby and theatre critic Peter Crawley were both nominated in the best newspaper critic category, while Paul Howard was nominated in the columnist/commentator of the year category for his popular Ross O’Carroll-Kelly column which runs in the Irish Times magazine every Saturday.

Cystic Fibrosis campaigner Orla Tinsley, whose recent autobiography Salty Baby has become a bestseller, was nominated for young journalist of the year for her work in The Irish Times and Rosita Boland was nominated in the features category.

The full list of winners in the 13 categories is as follows:

National Journalist of the Year – Simon Carswell (The Irish Times)

Regional Journalist of the Year – Colette Browne (Wexford Echo)

Young Journalist of the Year – Fiach Kelly (Irish Independent)

Best Design & Presentation awardIrish Examiner

Feature Writer of the Year – Kathy Sheridan (The Irish Times)

Business & Economics Journalist of the Year – Tom Lyons & Brian Carey (The Sunday Times)

Political Journalist of the Year – Miriam Lord (The Irish Times)

‘Scoop’ of the Year – Senan Molony (Irish Daily Mail – for ‘Healy Rae’)

Columnist/Commentator of the Year – Martina Devlin (Irish Independent)

Critic of the Year – Patrick Freyne (Evening Herald/Sunday Tribune)

Sports Journalist of the Year – Kieran Shannon (Irish Examiner/Sunday Tribune)

Showbiz Story of the Year – Jennifer O’Brien (Irish Sun)

Newspapers in Education (NiE) award – People Newspapers ‘Transition Year project’