Political correspondent Shaun Connolly; senior reporter Noel Baker in the category of journalist of the year; and sports writer Kieran Shannon have all made the final cut in their respective categories.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony next Thursday.
Announcing the shortlist, the chairman of the NNI judging panel, Michael Brophy, said the standard of entry reflected newspapers’ commitment to, and investment in, top quality journalism.
“The judging panel was hugely impressed, not just by the quality but also the depth and breadth of entries submitted,” Mr Brophy said.
“It brought home that newspaper journalism is not just about ‘the news’ — it’s about investigative reporting, comment and analysis, specialist writing on a diverse range of topics.”
The chairman of NNI, Paul Cooke, said the awards were an opportunity for the Irish newspaper industry to put aside competitive differences for a day and stand together in celeb-ration of great journalism.
“Our industry was founded on great journalism; it is the main reason that almost three million Irish people seek out and buy their favourite newspaper,” Mr Cooke said.
“Next Thursday is an opportunity for all our newspaper titles to forget about the commercial side of the business for a day and say ‘this is what we’re about, this is what makes us unique.’”
Awards will be presented in 13 categories at next week’s ceremony, which recognises the work of journalists across daily, weekly and regional titles, and a special award will be presented in recognition of outstanding contribution to the newspaper industry.
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte will be guest of honour at the event and Simon Kelner, the former editor of the London Independent and twice holder of the title of British Editor of the Year will be guest speaker.