Registration now open for NewsBrands Ireland’s Press Pass news literacy and student journalism TY programme

This year’s competition includes two new categories – the School Newspaper competition and a News Literacy Student Challenge

Deadline for schools to register for free Transition Year programme is Friday, 27th September 2019

NewsBrands Ireland has launched the seventh year of Press Pass, their highly successful Transition Year news literacy and student journalism programme.

Since the Press Pass programme launched seven years ago, approximately 80,000 students have benefited from it. With the full support of the Department of Education, Press Pass seeks to improve news literacy and critical thinking skills while helping students to develop a deeper understanding of news media and how it communicates about the world around them.

Participating schools receive free newspapers, a Teacher’s Lesson Plan and a specially created workbook. Students are encouraged to engage with the newspapers in the classroom, to analyse them and then to create their own original journalism, the best of which is entered into a national competition. This year also sees the addition of two new categories – the ‘School Newspaper Competition’ and the ‘News Literacy Student Challenge’.

The ‘School Newspaper Competition’ will allow the whole class to take part in this fun and educational project which will give students a hands-on experience of the news publishing process. Teachers can take the role of Editor-in-Chief and assign roles to students such as researchers, writers, photographers, videographers, sub editors, reporters, and designers.Further category details can be read here

Press Pass gives students the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the media, how it works and who to trust by learning to do journalism themselves. If a student knows how good journalism is made, then they are better equipped to interrogate the information that bombards them daily. The ‘News Literacy Student Challenge’ invites students, either individually or as a class, to teach their newly acquired news literacy skills to junior students or an older relative such as grandparent.  Research has found that the best way to understand a concept is to explain it to someone else. In what scientists have dubbed “the protégé effect”, students enlisted to tutor others, work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively.

Through Press Pass students become familiar with a variety of language types (information, argument, narration, persuasion) that they will encounter during the Leaving Certificate English programme. Students also learn to analyse content and are asked to think and form opinions about important social issues.

Michael Foley, Professor Emeritus at the School of Media, DIT, is the Chairman of the Press Pass programme.  He is a journalist and author and taught journalism at DIT from BA to PhD level and was also head of journalism for a number of years.  He has worked in media development for the BBC’s development wing, the International Federation of Journalism, Unicef and Unesco in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He was a journalist with The Irish Times where he held a number of positions, including Education Correspondent and Media Correspondent.

Press Pass: Information for Schools and Key Dates:

  • Schools can sign up for this year’s Press Pass programme on
  • The closing date for applications is Friday, 27th of September 2019
  • Participating’s schools will receive their Student Workbooks, Teacher’s Lesson Plan and newspapers mid-October
  • The closing date for the student journalism competition is the 31st of January 2020
  • The awards ceremony will take place in Dublin in March 2020

For further details, please contact:

Lisa Buckley, Communications & Marketing Manager, NewsBrands Ireland


M: 087 7779259