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Marty Morrissey announces five wins for Mediahuis on unprecedented night at local newspaper awards

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Marty Morrissey announcing the Wexford People's Best News Series win at the virtual Local Ireland Media Awards.

Marty Morrissey announcing the Wexford People's Best News Series win at the virtual Local Ireland Media Awards.

Marty Morrissey announcing the Wexford People's Best News Series win at the virtual Local Ireland Media Awards.

Mediahuis Ireland’s local newspapers scooped an unprecedented five awards at the Local Ireland Media Awards hosted virtually by RTE’s Marty Morrissey.

More than 500 entries were received for the 2021 awards recognising excellence in local news publishing and sponsored by the National Lottery. The Mediahuis Ireland (formerly INM) regional group that includes the Kerryman, Wexford People, Sligo Champion and Drogheda Independent had received 12 nominations ahead of the ceremony, streamed on Youtube this year because of Covid restrictions.

An ePapers project which saw the launch of interactive digital editions of 11 newspapers and a dedicated Irish Local News app won Best Innovation and was praised as an “outstanding initiative". “It points the way to future opportunities across the whole local newspaper sector,” the judges said.

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The Kerryman's winning front page.

The Kerryman's winning front page.

The Kerryman's winning front page.

The Kerryman scored on the double, winning Best Front Page for a front page from March of last year at the dawn of the first lockdown. Beneath the headline “Unprecedented”, the image of Mass without a congregation at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney drove home the stark new reality of life in a pandemic.

Journalist Sinead Kelleher brought more glory to the Kerryman, winning Best News Story for her work on the Skellig Star direct provision controversy. Quoting the judges, Marty Morrissey said: “Her series of reports showed the importance of quality, thorough and consistent on-the-ground local reporting. The persistent reporting prompted the then Minister for Justice to pen an open letter in the newspaper acknowledging the upset and anger caused, thrusting the issue back into the national spotlight.”

The Wexford People won Best News Series for “Home In Our Hearts”, a response to the pandemic which gave local people living abroad a platform for sending greetings home and also produced some heartwarming stories. The judges commended the series as “great local journalism with high impact”.

The Sligo Champion won Best Use Of Photography for its “Public To The Rescue” spread of pictures which showed shoppers rushing to remove bollards from the street in the centre of Sligo town to help an ambulance reach an emergency.

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The ePapers campaign won Best Innovation and was praised as an "outstanding initiative".

The ePapers campaign won Best Innovation and was praised as an "outstanding initiative".

The ePapers campaign won Best Innovation and was praised as an "outstanding initiative".

This was the biggest win to date at the awards for Mediahuis regionals, a group that includes the Sligo Champion, the Corkman, the Kerryman, the Argus in Dundalk, Drogheda Independent, Fingal Independent, Wicklow People, Bray People, Wexford People, New Ross Standard, Gorey Guardian and Ennsicorthy Guardian.

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Speaking at the virtual awards, Judging panel chair Áine Kerr of kinzen.com said  “At its very best, quality local journalism can engage, entertain and educate. Critically, it should - and can - leave us feeling more informed about the world around us, empowering us to make decisions and judgements about that everyday world.

“After two years of often having to stay apart in order to stay together, it is my hope and belief that we were still able to relate to and learn from our local communities through the power of local journalism, through our shared local stories.”

Meanwhile at the NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards, the Podcast of the Year was won by Nicola Nallant for ‘Crimeworld’ which is available weekly on sundayworld.com. 

The overall Journalist of the Year award was jointly presented to Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford from the Irish Examiner for breaking the ‘GolfGate’ story.


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