Independent News and Media (INM) titles have scooped four prestigious Justice Media Awards, it was announced this afternoon.
The Justice Media Awards, organised by the Law Society, recognise quality print and broadcast journalism that contributes to the public’s understanding of justice, the legal system and legal issues.
INM titles scooped four awards this year for the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent coverage on Votegate, Tusla, social media policing and modern communications.
The Irish Independent won a merit certificate for its coverage of ‘Constitutional Implications Of Votegate: Absent TD Voted Six Times in Dáil’ by Ireland Editor Fionnán Sheahan and political correspondent Cormac McQuinn in the Print/Online Journalism (daily) category.
“There can be no doubt of the enormous impact of these reports, which take the reader from the initial revelations right through to analysis of their Constitutional significance and led to a series of Oireachtas investigations,” read the judge’s comments.
Legal affairs editor Shane Phelan was also awarded a merit certificate in the Court Reporting (Print) category for his work on ‘Tusla's Race against Time to Prevent a Homicidal Teen’s Release into the Community’.
The judges commended his “expert handling of a harrowing case, the difficulty of which exceeds anything the care system dealt with before, highlights serious gaps in Ireland’s mental health legislation and the very real consequences.”
Business editor at the Sunday Independent Samantha McCaughren was also awarded a merit certificate for her series of reports on ‘First Social Media Controls Revealed/Ireland in the Spotlight after Falling into Role of Online Regulator’ in the print/online journalism (Sunday) category.
Ms McCaughren’s “excellent series of reports illuminate the enormous and growing burden of regulation that Ireland has taken on in welcoming social media giants to our shores, to protect consumers from online harm,” according to judge’s comments.
Delighted to receive a Merit Award at todayâs Justice Media Awards for articles on Irelandâs growing role in policing social media across the EU. Thanks to the @LawSocIreland and congrats to all the winners #JMA2020 @TheSundayIndo pic.twitter.com/gHhio06WCG— Samantha McCaughren (@SMcCaughren) June 25, 2020
Sunday World Investigations Reporter Patrick O’Connell was also awarded a merit certificate in the same category for his work on ‘Woman Who Was Sent Child Porn and Deleted It Is Now Listed As Sex Offender’.
The judges commended the interview, which highlighted “a chilling aspect of modern communications” and said that Mr O’Connell “delivered an eye-opening and educational report on the distressing consequences of receiving unsolicited, illegal material via WhatsApp”.
The overall winner of the awards was named Irish Times crime correspondent Conor Gallagher for his “exceptional article” on the Ana Kriegel trial. Mr Gallagher also won the overall award in the Court Reporting - Print/Online category.
Mary Carolan was also awarded a merit certificate in the same category and Kathleen Harris from The Irish Times won the overall Broadcast Journalism TV/Video category.
Reporters Sorcha Pollak and Mark Hilliard from the same newspaper also won a cert in the Human Rights/Social Justice Reporting category.
Business news publisher The Currency scooped the overall award in the Print/Online Journalism (daily) category for Francesca Comyn’s coverage of the Supreme Court and editor Ian Kehoe was awarded a merit certificate in the same category.
Mark Tighe from The Sunday Times won the overall Print/Online Journalism (Sunday) category, Ann Murphy from The Echo won the overall Print/Online Journalism (Local) group and Newstalk’s Andrea Gilligan won the Broadcast Journalism (Radio-Podcast National) category.
Frank Greaney from Newstalk also copped the overall award in the Court Reporting (National) category.
Irish Examiner’s special correspondent Michael Clifford won the overall Human Rights/Social Justice Reporting category and The Journal’s Dominic McGrath won Newcomer of the Year.