A UNIVERSITY of Limerick graduate has scooped two major journalism awards – The Sunday Times Young Journalist of the Year Award and Limerick’s Live 95 FM Broadcast Journalism Award.
Hilary McGann, from the North Circular Road, won The Sunday Times Young Journalist Award 2015 for an investigative report she wrote about the registration fees for teachers introduced by the Teaching Council in 2008.
The investigation revealed that teachers all over the country have paid millions of euro in registration fees for five years before they were legally obliged to do so.
Presenting the award to Hilary in UL this week, Sunday Times journalist and columnist, Justine McCarthy said she is glad to see young women student journalists excelling in their careers.
“I hope they reach beyond the glass ceiling and all the way to the top in their careers, as national newspaper editors and as director general of RTE.
“Journalism is under attack internationally and in Ireland last summer, we had the deeply disturbing situation when most of the media was too frightened to report a TD’s Dáil speech because of the threat of litigation by Denis O’Brien. I would encourage you to be truthful and brave in their work.”
Ms McGann said that learning she had received these awards was the “most incredible feeling”.
“It was my first time doing a full investigative story and I got a great insight into the patience and perseverance that is needed in this field of journalism,” she said.
She also received €500 in prize money from The Sunday Times and her article will be published in this weekend’s Irish edition of the newspaper.
Hilary was also the winner of the Limerick’s Live 95FM Broadcast Journalism Award 2015 for her radio documentary on the work of the Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol (CSPP), a small group of local volunteers who monitor Limerick’s bridges several nights each week to try to help people at risk of suicide.
Presenting the award to Hilary, Limerick’s Live 95FM head of news Gillian Devlin said: “Hilary’s winning documentary showed a real flair for radio. She covered her chosen subject, the Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol with genuine empathy and creativity. The production and editing were of an excellent standard and showed Hilary has highly developed radio skills.”
“It was fantastic to hear that I had won the Live 95FM Radio Award,” said Hilary, “I hope there will be a positive reaction to the package when it is aired, as they are a volunteer group that I have so much admiration for, and that Limerick as a city is so lucky to have.”
Hilary also received €500 prize money from Limerick’s Live 95FM and her documentary will be broadcast shortly on the local radio station.
Head of Journalism at the University of Limerick, Mary Dundon, congratulated Hilary on winning both awards – it is the first time a student has won the two awards in the same year.
“It is great to see our students being recognised by such reputable media organisations for their excellent research that have revealed two issues of important public interest,” said Ms Dundon.
Hilary graduated with a BA in Journalism and New Media in August. Since finishing college in May, she has worked in TV3, Newstalk and in the RTE newsroom. She will be returning there after Christmas on a contract to cover the general election.