HAPPY OUT The Mayo News picking up its three awards in Athlone last week. Staff were lucky to be seated at the same table on the night as legendary RTÉ Northern Correspondent, Michael Fisher, who was also nominated in the Best News Series category for his work with the Northern Standard in Monaghan, from left: Michael Duffy, Michael Fisher, Edwin McGreal, Willie McHugh, Anton McNulty and Kevin Loftus.
Prestigious award picked up by journalists McGreal and McNulty
The Mayo News has yet again been honoured for excellence in the newspaper industry, this time by picking up the News Series of the Year in the fourth annual Local Ireland Media Awards. The paper was also a finalist in two other categories.
This paper’s continuing coverage of the Ten-T funding debacle saw The Mayo News win out in a very competitive field for the News Series award at last Thursday’s prizegiving at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Athlone.
Judges praised journalists Edwin McGreal and Anton McNulty for ‘relentlessly’ covering news of the withdrawal in 2011 by then Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar of the west and north west of Ireland from a multi-billion euro European Union transport funding tranche.
This news broke in April 2018 after a Freedom of Information request and judges praised the paper’s ‘most impressive’ follow-up.
“Week after week The Mayo News wrote strong editorials, quizzed politicians and experts. The reporters made a complex story that incorporated economics, EU policy, local and national news, accessible to its readership with good reporting and clear writing. It was a story that potentially impacted on every reader,” read the winning citation.
The other finalists in this category were The Clare Champion, for a series on Clare’s drug crisis; The Meath Chronicle, for a series on wild fires which devastated parts of the county; and The Northern Standard in Monaghan for their series entitled The Eirgrid Files.
Though a complex story, Mayo News Editor Michael Duffy said it was one that the paper stuck with because of its importance to Mayo and the west of Ireland as a whole.
“It is not a story that can be easily distilled and, in a ‘click-bait’ culture, may not get as many likes, shares and comments on social media as news of the latest celebrity romance. Therefore it may not have earned many more sales of the paper but it was worth a huge investment in our time.
“At a time when commercial imperatives are taking over in the industry, there has never been a greater need for newspapers to chase matters of huge public importance and we feel The Mayo News did this on the Ten-T issue to the very best of our ability,” said Duffy.
‘A master of his art’
The Mayo News were also finalists in two other categories, Feature Story of the Year and Best Supplement of the Year. Though beaten in both categories, the paper’s submissions were highly commended by the judging panel.
Mayo News writer Willie McHugh was a finalist in the Feature Story of the Year category for his wonderful personal piece after the death of Clonbur man, Colm Burke, at the young age of 41.
“This is superb, written by a master of the art, Willie McHugh, whose language becomes the mind of the locals as they grieve one of their own, Colm Burke,” said the judges.
The Feature Story of the Year went to The Southern Star for their feature on the 40th anniversary of the Whiddy Island tragedy.
The Mayo News was also shortlisted in the Best Supplement of the Year for our supplement in advance of the Papal visit last August.
“This beautifully produced 24 page supplement gives extensive coverage to the Pope’s visit to Knock last year. A beautiful front cover is followed up with insightful articles covering the visit, current and controversial issues in the Catholic Church. Excellent photography and superb content make this souvenir supplement a real keepsake,” said the judges.
Sponsored by the National Lottery, the awards, open to all 43 Local Ireland member titles , attracted over 500 hundred entries. The MC for the evening was Marty Morrissey, RTÉ sports broadcaster.
The judging panel comprised of Chairperson, Kate Shanahan, Head of Journalism and Communications TU – Dublin; Michael Foley, Prof Emeritus, DIT; PJ Cunningham, journalist, editor and author; Valerie Cox, broadcaster, journalist; Frank Miller, photojournalist; Andrew Sinclair, Deputy Managing Director, OMD; Brian Maher, CEO Adaptive & Co.
In previous years, The Mayo News has picked up the Best Sports Story of the Year and Best Supplement of the Year, as well as being shortlisted in many other categories.