Press Pass student journalism webinar

On Thursday, March 18th, NewsBrands Ireland held a webinar for school students entering the annual Press Pass student journalism competition.

The webinar featured rich discussion on all aspects of journalism and included advice from Michael Foley, Press Pass Judging Panel Chair, Sheila Reilly, Head of Editorial Development, Irish Examiner, Nadine O’ Regan, Editor, Business Post Magazine and Business Post Head of Podcasting , multi award-winning Sunday Times news reporter Mark Tighe, and Lisa Buckley, Communications and Programmes Director with NewsBrands Ireland.

Some of the memorable pieces of advice included:

Michael Foley spoke about the key things judges are looking for in the competition which included good writing, originality, and verve. He encouraged students to look for a slightly different angle when writing a news story, for example if you are writing about a local match, how about interviewing a referee instead of the coach or captain?

All the journalists urged the students to read as widely as possible . In order to write well, you need to appreciate good journalism. Read newspapers (print or online editions) or check out award-winning journalism on

Sheila Reilly encouraged students to write about something that they are passionate about, something they feel strongly about, or something that moves them. If you are writing about a global or national issue, try to bring a local or personal angle or anecdote to make it relevant for readers.

Mark Tighe spoke about the fact-checking process and how he verifies the truth of stories. Using the example of the recent Sunday Times investigation into the Football Association of Ireland, Mark explained the rigourous level of fact-checking that happens before an article is published in a print or online newspaper.

Nadine O’ Regan spoke about the qualities that make a great opinion article. These include: courage, the capacity to be vulnerable, and originality. She encouraged students to provide an angle that people have not thought about before and to also really believe their opinion – integrity and honesty matters.

These views and more can be viewed in the below recording of the webinar.

The deadline for the Press Pass competition is Wednesday, May 5th. The winning pieces will be selected by a panel of top journalists and will be published in national newspapers. For more information, visit