Six wins at Newsbrands Awards for Irish Examiner journalism

Six wins at Newsbrands Awards for Irish Examiner journalism

Paul Hosford and Aoife Moore's Golfgate scandal took home Scoop of the Year award. Pictures: Moya Nolan

The Irish Examiner has secured six awards at the Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Awards.

The newspaper won awards for its campaigning coverage of the Mother and Baby Homes controversy and for uncovering the Golfgate scandal.

Political Correspondents Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford won the prestigious Journalist of the Year award while also taking home the Scoop of the Year for their work on Golfgate.

Announcing the Journalist of the Year winner for 2021, the chairman of the independent judging panel, Tim Vaughan, said: “This year’s winner goes to two journalists whose work sparked a stunning cocktail of disbelief and incandescent fury — and which had immediate, serious consequences. 

"It was one of the great, great scoops — a classic that made headlines around the world, from the BBC to the New York Times.

The story of the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden — attended by senior politicians, an EU Commissioner, and a Supreme Court judge the day after Covid-19 restrictions were tightened in August 2020 —was like a political bomb going off, such was its impact, and the raw public rage it sparked. 

"Golfgate, as it inevitably became known, resulted in the biggest fall-out of any political controversy for decades, claiming the jobs of the Minister for Agriculture, Dara Calleary, the Leas Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Jerry Buttimer, and, of course, Phil Hogan, the EU Trade Commissioner. 

"It also led to an unprecedented legal stand-off between the Chief Justice, Frank Clarke, and Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe, who was called on to resign.

"This was highly impactful public interest journalism, by any standards, and it has earned the Irish Examiner’s Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford the coveted title of Journalist of the Year 2021.”

The Best Digital News Coverage award went to the Irish Examiner for irishexaminer.com, for its re-designed website, apps and immersive digital reads.

The Irish Examiner won the Campaigning Journalism category for its coverage of Mother and Baby Homes and Bessborough which included work by senior news reporter Eoin English and deputy political editor Elaine Loughlin. The cover dedicated to the memory of those who died in the Cork institution, designed by executive production editor David O'Mahony, won Front Page of the Year.

The cover of the Irish Examiner on January 13, 2021, was in memory of the children who died in Bessborough Mother and Baby Home.
The cover of the Irish Examiner on January 13, 2021, was in memory of the children who died in Bessborough Mother and Baby Home.

The newspaper also won an award in the Investigative Journalism category, with Mostafa Darwish's special report into deaths in direct provision.

Speaking on the success of the awards, sponsored this year by the National Lottery, Irish Examiner editor Tom Fitzpatrick said: "To win these awards for our campaigning and investigative journalism is fantastic. 

"Our reporters have consistently aimed to hold power to account on behalf of our readers and their wins for work on subjects like Mother and Baby Homes and Direct Provision are testament to that.

"Aoife and Paul have both been brilliant since joining the Irish Examiner at a difficult time with lockdown commencing and our staff working remotely for almost two years now. 

Golfgate set the whole country talking and had profound national and international ramifications. I'm so proud that they have been named journalists of the year.

"This year marks the Irish Examiner's 180th year and our iconic Mother and Baby Homes front page shows the impact newspapers still have today. 

"But as journalism continues to move online first, all our staff have put a huge amount of work into expanding and improving our digital service, from podcasts like 'Clarissa' to live-streaming sport, from our rolling coverage of Covid-19 to online events in fashion and property. It is fantastic to see that recognised in the year that we launched digital subscriptions.

"Congratulations to all of the winners and shortlisted entrants tonight, thank you to our readers and to all our staff for their success."

Speaking about the awards, NewsBrands Ireland CEO Ann Marie Lenihan, said: “Our annual awards recognise and celebrate the very best in Irish journalism and this year, despite the many challenges the pandemic has brought, has been another very strong year for fact-checked, high-quality journalism and for Irish publishers. Sincere thanks to our partners at the National Lottery, for their continued support and for helping to make the Journalism Awards such a success.”

This year has been a successful one for the Irish Examiner, as last month saw two food columnists win at the first Irish Food Writing Awards.

Weekend Magazine food columnist and restaurant reviewer Joe McNamee took home the award for Restaurant Writing, while columnist Michelle Darmody won an award for her extensive writing on the importance of sustainability in food.

In June, six Irish Examiner journalists were among the winners of this year's Justice Media Awards.

Deputy political editor, Elaine Loughlin, political correspondent Aoife Moore, news reporter Neil Michael and senior news reporter Eoin English all won the Justice Media Award for Human Rights/Social Justice Reporting for their coverage of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission Report.

Ms Moore also joined political editor, Daniel McConnell and political correspondent, Paul Hosford, in receiving a merit in the same category, for their work on Direct Provision — A Billion Euro Industry.

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