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Students make headlines after newspaper awards

STUDENTS who read newspapers do better at school, an awards day for transition year pupils has heard.

Budding journalists from around the country have been honoured in Dublin as part of a transition year run by The National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI).

The Press Pass initiative, which was taken up by almost half of schools, was described as a "phenomenal" success.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny handed out the inaugural awards for the best entries in a student newspaper at Dublin's Convention Centre yesterday.

The overall winner was Fiachra O'Braonan, Colaiste Cois Life, Lucan, Co Dublin, for his articles on developers and on juvenile GAA.

Press Ombudsman Prof John Horgan, who chaired the judging panel, said Fiachra exemplified all the characteristics of a good journalist, such as observation, accuracy, evidence and relevance.

NNI chairman Matt Dempsey said that Press Pass allowed students to take advantage of the many educational resources that newspapers had to offer.

He said that studies from around the world had shown that students who read newspapers did better at school.

"They become familiar with language types they will encounter in the Leaving Cert English paper, they discover a variety of different writing disciplines and language styles, they get to debate current issues and affairs and they become more critical of what they read and how they write," he said.

National co-ordinator of transition year, Michael O' Leary spoke about the phenomenal and unprecedented uptake in the first year of a "fabulous" initiative.