Winners of NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass student journalism awards announced

25 May 2020. The winners of the NewsBrands Ireland Press Pass student journalism awards have been announced with prizes awarded in six categories including News Writing, Features, Opinion/Comment, Sports Journalism, Photojournalism, and best School Newspaper.

Ella Kennedy, a student from Mount Sackville, Chapelizod, Dublin was named the overall Student Journalist of the Year for her news article which also won first prize in the News category. The other category winners are outlined below and can be read here

Press Pass is a Transition Year student journalism and news literacy programme run by NewsBrands Ireland and Local Ireland, the representative bodies for the national and local news publishing industries. The free programme has been running for over seven years and completed by 80,000 students. It seeks to teach the fundamentals of journalism writing, improve news literacy and critical thinking skills, and encourage students to analyse content and form opinions about important social issues.

Participating schools receive free newspapers, a Teacher’s Lesson Plan, and a specially created student 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.  The judging panel comprises of a group of leading newspaper journalists, which is chaired by Michael Foley, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, TU Dublin. The Press Photographers Association of Ireland (PPAI)  judged the photojournalism category.

Speaking about the awards, Prof. Foley said:

“Through Press Pass, we hope students have learnt something about news and information, about whom you can trust and how you can evaluate the information being constantly thrust at them. We hope the programme will make students aware of why journalism matters and why democracy depends on good journalism.”

“It is always difficult to pick the overall winner, but Ella Kennedy is to be congratulated and is a worthy winner. She emerged from a great cohort of entrants and from a group of strong finalists. She wrote her story with assurance and maturity and was engaged with the subject. Her news story was in the public interest, was accurate, had context and was well sourced. “

Speaking about the awards, Ann Marie Lenihan, CEO of NewsBrands Ireland, said:  

“Congratulations to all our finalists and to the members of the judging panel who took the time to read through the many entries and pick the worthy winners. We are delighted to see so many schools take part in Press Pass every year and look forward to launching our 2020/2021 programme for schools this autumn.”

Overall Student Journalist of the Year

Ella Kennedy, Mount Sackville, Chapelizod, Dublin 20

Category winners are as follows:

School Newspaper

1st Naas Community College

2nd Enniscorthy Vocational College

3rd Presentation Wexford Newsletter


1st Caylin Murray, Mercy Secondary School, Mounthawk, Tralee, Co. Kerry

2nd Helena Filanowska, Jesus & Mary College, Our Lady’s Grove, Dublin 14

3rd Theruni Jayasinghearachchi, Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare


1st Méabh Ní Chonaill, Coláiste Ghobnatan, Ballyvourney, Co. Cork

2nd Michael Holden, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Dingle, Co. Kerry

3rd Nathan Connolly, Moville Community College, Co. Donegal


1st Ella Kennedy, Mount Sackville, Chapelizod, Dublin 20

2nd Lucy Murphy, Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare

3rd Kaylin Ní Ghealbhái, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Dingle, Co Kerry


1st Peter Grant, Moville Community College, Co Donegal

2nd Mahdi Ní Chonmhaoile, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Dingle, Co. Kerry

3rd Conor Crowley, Presentation Secondary School, Milltown, Co. Kerry


1st Theresa Galvin, St Mary’s Secondary School, Macroom, Co. Cork

2nd Cian Ó Grifín, Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Tralee, Co. Kerry

3rd Molly Powell, Jesus and Mary College, Our Lady’s Grove, Dublin 14


To read all the Press Pass finalists’ work, please go to