Winners of the 2020 NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery, unveiled in two part virtual broadcast


The winners of the 2020 NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards were announced on Nov 17th and 18th in a two-part 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  and featured host Matt Cooper interviewing members of the Journalism Awards judging panel who discussed the great journalism of the past year. The awards were produced by iQuest Events and were promoted in press and online ads in the lead up to awards.

The shows 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. 

The Journalist of the Year prize was awarded to the Lives Lost team from The Irish Times. 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:

“The Lives Lost series will provide a snapshot of social history to future generations looking back at this awful time… and 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.”

2020 Winners

  • Journalist of the Year – Lives Lost team, The Irish Times
  • Best Use of Video – The Liffey Swim by Enda O’ Dowd, The Irish Times
  • Broadsheet Columnist of the Year: Fintan O’ Toole, The Irish Times
  • Broadsheet Feature Writer – Conor Lally, The Irish Times
  • Broadsheet Sportswriter of the Year: Johnny Watterson, The Irish Times
  • Business Journalist of the Year: Lorcan Allen, Irish Farmers Journal
  • Campaigning Journalism: Irish Daily Star Vs Daniel Kinahan
  • Coverage of Covid 19: Lives Lost, The Irish Times
  • Crime Journalist of the Year – Patrick O’ Connell, Sunday World
  • Critic of the Year – John Burns, The Sunday Times
  • Foreign Coverage – Marion McKeone, Business Post
  • Front Page of the Year – Gay Byrne Tribute, Irish Examiner
  • Headline of the Year – The Parting Glass, Irish Daily Mirror
  • Investigative Journalism: Irish Independent Political Team (Cormac McQuinn, Fionnán Sheahan, Kevin Doyle, Philip Ryan & Hugh O’Connell)
  • Magazine of the Year, The Irish Times Magazine
  • News Reporter of the Year: Wayne O’ Connor, Sunday Independent
  •  News Website of the Year  –
  • Podcast of the Year: Inside Politics, The Irish Times
  • Political Journalist of the Year: Miriam Lord, The Irish Times
  • Popular Columnist of the Year – Linda Maher, Irish Daily Mail
  • Popular Feature Writer – Maeve Quigley, Irish Daily Mail
  • Popular Sports Writer of the Year: Neil O’ Riordan, The Irish Sun
  • Scoop of the Year: Cormac McQuinn and Fionnán Sheahan, Irish Independent
  • Showbiz Journalist of the Year – Ken Sweeney, The Irish Sun
  • Young Journalist of the Year – Claire Scott, The Irish Mail on Sunday

Speaking on the Journalism Awards programme, Vincent Crowley, Chairman of NewsBrands Ireland, said:

“Sincere congratulations to the shortlisted and winning journalists this year. News publishers, journalists, and the entire editorial and production teams are to be commended for continuing to provide compelling news coverage despite the challenging working conditions created by Covid-19.”

“Public appetite for quality news is on the increase again and latest figures show that over 72% of Irish people read a newspaper or one of our member news sites every week. Our members digital subscriptions are on the rise and news sites are seeing record traffic. However, the business model is facing many challenges, including the outdated libel laws and the dominance of global tech giants in the monetisation of news publishers’ content. We look forward to engaging with the Future of Media Commissions to address these issues and secure the future of quality Irish journalism.”

Speaking via a virtual address was Catherine Martin T.D, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, who said the awards are:

“A wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that we value in Irish journalism, breaking news, reporting on life changing events, sporting glories, elections, and the inspirational stories of resilience in this pandemic year”

We are lucky in this country to have a very diverse print sector with the public well served by both national daily and weekly local newspapers. As we look around the world, we see how disinformation can poison public opinion, undermining the very core of democracy. It is more important than ever to have good quality journalism which gains the trust of the public.

Andrew Algeo, CEO of awards sponsor, the National Lottery, said:

“These awards are a recognition of the immense and valued role of journalism, shining a light as it does on all aspects of Irish society and making clear the impact and context of news and events. We are lucky here in Ireland that we have journalists of integrity and a media that informs and entertains. This has come through clearly from the winners and shortlisted candidates for this year’s awards. The National Lottery is immensely proud to sponsor these awards again this year and to be associated with the very best of work by the print and online journalists of Ireland.”

The shortlisted and winning work can all be read on

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