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Méadbh Ní Chonaill

Méadbh Ní Chonaill

Press Pass winner Ella Kennedy

Press Pass winner Ella Kennedy

Peter Grant

Peter Grant

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Méadbh Ní Chonaill

The future of Irish journalism looks bright.

From the controversial issue of drug-taking in Dublin city to the Munster Hurling Club Championship, the next generation of budding young reporters are already proving themselves capable of covering any beat.

Ella Kennedy, a student from Mount Sackville, Chapelizod, Dublin, was yesterday named the overall student journalist of the year at the annual NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass student journalism awards.

Her article, which focused on plans to open a new supervised drug injection centre in Dublin, also came first in the news category.

The judging panel was made up of leading newspaper journalists, chaired by Michael Foley, professor emeritus of journalism at TU Dublin.

"Through Press Pass, we hope students have learned something about news and information, about whom you can trust and how you can evaluate the information being constantly thrust at them," he said. "We hope the programme will make students aware of why journalism matters and why democracy depends on good journalism.

"It is always difficult to pick the overall winner, but Ella Kennedy is to be congratulated and is a worthy winner."

He said she emerged from "a great cohort of entrants and from a group of strong finalists".

"She wrote her story with assurance and maturity and was engaged with the subject," he said.

"Her news story was in the public interest, was accurate, had context and was well sourced."

In the sport category, Peter Grant, from Moville Community College in Co Donegal, won with a piece on Munster club hurling.

Theresa Galvin, of St Mary's Secondary School in Macroom, Co Cork, won the photojournalism category.

Press Pass is a Transition Year student journalism and news literacy programme run by NewsBrands Ireland and Local Ireland, the representative bodies for the national and local news publishing industries.

The free programme has been running for more than seven years and has been completed by 80,000 students. It seeks to teach the fundamentals of journalism, improve news literacy and critical thinking skills, and encourage students to analyse content and form opinions about important social issues.

Participating schools receive free newspapers, a lesson plan and a specially created student workbook.

Irish Independent