Tribute to rescue workers is winner of inaugural video journalism prize

A video project entitled “Rescue 116: The people behind the recovery” has earned Shane McNamara, a MA in Journalism student at the University of Limerick, top prize in the inaugural Irish Examiner / University of Limerick video journalism competition.

His piece focused on those involved in the efforts to recover the bodies of those lost when Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 crashed in March.

Captain Mark Duffy (51), Captain Dara Fitzpatrick (45), winch operator Ciarán Smith (38) and winchman Paul Ormsby (53) died when the helicopter crashed 12km off the Co Mayo coast.

The winning video is featured below ... 

Read his full story here

The competition is the culmination of a partnership between UL and the Irish Examiner in which coursework produced by UL journalism students’ was broadcast to a national audience.

Multimedia pieces produced by the BA and MA classes were chosen from examples of coursework and broadcast on the website during the month of May.

Mr McNamara’s work chosen by a panel of judges based on a variety of metrics including journalistic merit, popularity on site and levels of engagement across social media.

Mr McNamara said chose to focus on the Rescue 116 story for a number of reasons

“Obviously the scale of this unfathomable tragedy rocked the country and headlined the news for some time, for me there was something closer to home. I have family and friends involved with both the Coast Guard and the RNLI and I know first hand the dedication and the risks involved while volunteering for these organisations.

“This is something I hoped to show the public through this video . The project itself gave me some invaluable experience with regards to editing, interviewing and filming and I feel that I have learned a lot from it.”

Irish Examiner digital editor, Dolan O'Hagan, congratulated all who contributed to the competition and said he hoped it was the start of an ongoing collaboration.

"Collaborations between media companies and third level institutions such as UL are, in my view, a vital part of the future of quality news and journalism in Ireland.

"These students have highlighted a number of very worthwhile stories which were centred on very real societal issues and the people behind them. Many of these stories would otherwise have remained untold and when all of the nonsense is stripped away is there a more important function for journalism than that?"

Head of Journalism at University of Limerick Fergal Quinn congratulated Mr McNamara for the win, adding that he was delighted at the standard of work on show.

“Shane is a very talented young journalist and he produced what I thought was a very insightful and sensitive piece about what drives the extraordinary voluntary effort to recover the bodies of those lost at sea.

“As well as the winning entry, there was a very high standard of work produced by our students which attests to the potential and quality of our young journalism graduates.”

Mr Quinn added that the competition has been an excellent test of students’ ability to produce work that is of broadcast standard.

“I’m grateful to the Irish Examiner for supporting what was a really interesting collaboration, both from a study and teaching perspective”

The four other video projects shortlisted were:

Amy Ryan's "Cistercian Monks in Waterford fighting hard for a future".

Cillian Sherlock's "Ballaghaderreen does Ireland proud with a true Céad Míle Fáilte for Syrian refugees".

Sally Gorman's "Gym, GPS and social media: How one local GAA club are meeting the new challenges".

Steve Killeen's "Meet the young Mayo entrepreneur who hopes his app will make driving safer".

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