Journalists honoured with lifetime awards
SOME of Ireland's most senior journalists were honoured last night for their lifetime contribution to their craft and their union.
More than a dozen editors, columnists, reporters and broadcast news presenters were presented with life membership certificates by the Dublin branch of the National Union of Journalists at a ceremony at Croke Park ahead of the NUJ's conference there this weekend.
Economics editor Brendan Keenan was among a number of Irish Independent journalists who received the certificates, along with retired news analysis editor Brian Brennan, retired news reporter Frank Khan, former education editor John Walshe and senior news reporter Brendan Farrelly.
Mr Khan (69) started off his career earning less than £5 a week as a cub reporter on a newspaper in London before joining the Irish Independent in 1971, where he worked for the next 36 years.
He said he was privileged to have covered some of the most important stories during the Troubles, including the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and the IRA's assassination of Lord Mountbatten.
"We were totally spoiled. There were earth-shattering stories nearly every week," he recalled.
"You were constantly on your toes and we didn't have the communications that we have today, with mobile phones and internet.
"Basically, it was using an old wind-up phone or using the old coin phone, paying people to use their phones. There was a lot of leg work and bad roads. It was a different era but we all moved with the times."
GAA president Christy Cooney, who opened the ceremony, paid tribute to the late sports journalist and columnist Sean Kilfeather, who was also an active member of the union. He died, aged 70, in 2008.
Among the other leading journalists who were honoured last night were recently retired 'Irish Times' editor Geraldine Kennedy and veteran RTE presenter John Bowman.