Category winners and overall Journalist of the Year announced in Part 2 of the Journalism Awards

18 November 2020. The winners of the 2020 NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards were announced tonight in Part 2 of the virtual broadcast from the Guinness Storehouse.

The annual industry awards, which are run by NewsBrands Ireland and sponsored by the National Lottery, took a different format this year due to Covid-19 restrictions on events. Instead, the awards were broadcast via www.journalismawards.ie  and featured host Matt Cooper interviewing members of the Journalism Awards judging panel who discussed the great journalism of the past year. The judges included Mairead Lavery, Fiona Stack, Mick McCaffrey, David Robbins, Joe Breen, Kate Shanahan, and Tim Vaughan, Chairman of the Judging Panel.

The show shone a light on the powerful and impactful journalism which was produced in the past year and gave viewers an insight into the judging process. 

Below are the winners which were announced in Part 2

Headline of the Year – The Parting Glass, Irish Daily Mirror

Front Page of the Year – Gay Byrne Tribute, Irish Examiner

Crime Journalist of the Year – Patrick O’ Connell, Sunday World

Showbiz Journalist of the Year – Ken Sweeney, The Irish Sun

Popular Columnist of the Year – Linda Maher, Irish Daily Mail

Broadsheet Feature Writer – Conor Lally, The Irish Times

Popular Feature Writer – Maeve Quigley, Irish Daily Mail

 News Website of the Year  – IrishTimes.com

 Best Use of Video – The Liffey Swim by Enda O’ Dowd, The Irish Times

Young Journalist of the Year – Claire Scott, The Irish Mail on Sunday

Critic of the Year – John Burns, The Sunday Times

Foreign Coverage – Marion McKeone, Business Post

Journalist of the Year – Lives Lost team, The Irish Times

Details regarding the winners revealed in Part 1 of the awards can be viewed here

Announcing the Journalist of the Year winner for 2020, on behalf of the 29 members of the independent judging panel, Tim Vaughan, Chairman of the Judging Panel said that:

“This year it went not just to one journalist but to the team of journalists behind The Irish Times’ remarkable Lives Lost series edited by Ruadhan Mac Cormaic”.

Vaughan said: “It was not the first time the award was won by a team and that some would say that it’s especially appropriate in the year of Covid, when, in a broader sense, individual spotlight has given way this year to more collegiality and communities working together at this time.

Lives Lost was remarkable for the simplicity of what it set out to achieve – to tell the stories behind the Covid death statistics – but it was even more remarkable for what it actually achieved. It didn’t just settle for putting faces behind those awful anonymous numbers that we heard on the six o’clock news every evening. 

As Ruadhan Mac Cormaic said in his awards entry, in the early days of Covid, when the stories of victims came to the public attention it was due to the manner of their final days rather than the rich and cherished lives they lived. Lives Lost set out to put that right.

And so, without Lives Lost we wouldn’t know that 32-year-old Dubliner Christopher ‘Kicky’ Mc Cormac, who died of Covid in May, was loved by his friends because their spirits would lift just by being with him for half an hour.

“We wouldn’t know that he was a big GAA head and loved his music, – he loved Fontaines DC. He’d a great future ahead of him, he’d just been promoted in the bank where he worked and was looking forward to visiting his sister in Hong Kong. But this was not to be. Covid took care of that.

“And without Lives Lost, the 120th person to die from Covid-19 would have remained another anonymous statistic to most people outside her family and friends.

“But thanks to Lives Lost we know that behind that grim statistic was a vibrant, glamorous, fun-loving 83-year-old, Patricia Kelly, who was out and about most days playing golf, or bridge, or doing aqua aerobics – if she wasn’t reading books on her Kindle and slagging her grandchildren for reading books old-style.

“She was in excellent health and had just bought a new Ford Fiesta, but towards the end of March she was hospitalized with a suspected kidney infection. A few days later Patricia Kelly was taken by Covid. 

“We wouldn’t have known any of this without Lives Lost.”

“And while in years to come, the series will provide a snapshot of social history to future generations looking back at this awful time, but that’s just a by-the-way, another plus, a welcome added benefit.

“Above all – and it’s hard to overestimate how important this is – the real significance of Lives Lost is that: It helped to reclaim these mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, sons and daughters, from being just another anonymous Covid-19 statistic and gave back rightful dignity to their memory. That, by any definition, is journalism that matters.”

The shortlisted and winning work can all be read on www.journalismawards.ie

The overall winners are chosen by the independent judging panel, presided over by Chairman of the judging panel, Tim Vaughan. The independent judging panel is composed of 29 individuals who all share a passion and interest in quality journalism. This year’s panel can be viewed here