ON THE DOUBLE The Mayo News won two prestigious awards last week at the inaugural Local Ireland Media Awards, held in Tullamore, winning the Best Designed Newspaper and the Sports Story of the Year prize, while also being shortlisted in three other categories. Pictured at the ceremony were staff members, front, from left: Edwin McGreal and Kevin Loftus, and at back, Michael Duffy, Ciara Galvin, Ciara Moynihan and Neill O’Neill.
THE Mayo News copper-fastened its standing in the regional newspaper industry last week, picking up two accolades at the Local Ireland Media Awards. The Limerick Leader and The Anglo Celt (Cavan), also with two awards, were the other big winners at the gala presentation dinner in Tullamore, with the three titles winning six of the ten awards and receiving 15 shortlisted nominations.
Local Ireland is the industry representative group of regional papers in Ireland, and the awards were hotly contested with 280 entries from papers the length and breadth of the country, from journalists, photographers, designers and advertising executives.
Significantly, The Mayo News was the only newspaper in Ireland shortlisted in all three editorial categories, winning the prestigious Sports Story of The Year prize for its in-depth coverage and analysis of the build-up to and aftermath of the management change in the Mayo Senior Football Team last year.
The Mayo News also picked up the award for Best Designed Newspaper, following on from success in the same field in Europe last year.
Further shortlistings included News Story of The Year for coverage of a plan to sell the Westport House loans, Best use of Photography for an athletics picture used on the front of the Sports section and Best Feature Story of the Year for a piece on the Mayo Concert Orchestra and its importance to its members and local communities.
The awards were presented by Tuam’s David Burke, President of Local Ireland and the MC for the evening was Michael Lyster, RTÉ Sports Broadcaster.
The judging panel comprised Professor John Horgan, former Press Ombudsman (chair); Eugene McGee, former Managing Editor Longford Leader and GAA columnist with the Irish Independent; Tom Lawlor, photographer, formerly Irish Times; Andrew Sinclair, Deputy Managing Director, OMD and Maeve Kneafsey, CEO, Elucidate.
Speaking afterwards, Mayo News Managing Editor Neill O’Neill said that the awards were particularly meaningful as they were ‘judged by peers and among peers’, and that the high standards across the industry were evident on the night.
“To have been shortlisted in five categories and win two was a very special moment for everybody in The Mayo News, as once again it demonstrates that we can live with the best in Ireland when it comes to regional newspapers. It takes a lot of work to plan and execute all we do each week, and to have the quality of our work recognised at such a high level is very satisfying indeed for everybody on the team, particularly as we are the only paper in Mayo, and indeed anywhere in Connacht, to have been honoured.
“We are the only locally owned and operated newspaper in Mayo, and the only independent one remaining, and that brings some advantages but also huge challenges for us. Despite this, the quality of our journalism and the range and depth of the features and analysis we regularly undertake across all areas of news, as well as lifestyle and sport, has remained at the highest level and without equal in this region. To have this recognised by being shortlisted in the three editorial categories was a ringing endorsement of our work in The Mayo News.”
He added that winning the Best Designed Newspaper was significant on the back of European success that The Mayo News has achieved in this area, and paid tribute to Head of Design Kevin Loftus for his ‘pioneering’ work in the paper.
He also lauded the team effort of the Sports Department, where the combined efforts of Edwin McGreal and Mike Finnerty, with the support of Danny Carey, Seán Rice and Billy Joe Padden, brought the highly competitive ‘Sports Story of the Year’ accolade west of the Shannon, saying: “In the end, quality always shines through.”