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Press Pass Student Journalists of the Year 2022 announced

Press Pass is a Transition Year student journalism and news literacy programme which has been run by NewsBrands Ireland since 2012. The free programme, which has been completed by 110,000 students, seeks to teach the fundamentals of journalism writing, improve news literacy and critical thinking skills, and encourage students to analyse content and form opinions about important social issues.

“Press Pass is an important news literacy project where students learn about news and its role in society. They are also introduced to journalism and what makes good journalism, its place in democracy, about truth and accuracy, about sources, about misinformation and how to spot it, what is ethical journalism, the public interest and why journalism matters.”

Michael Foley, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, TU Dublin

As part of the programme there is a student journalism competition across six catgories including News Writing, Features, Opinion, Sports Journalism, Photojournalism, and best School Newspaper.

The 2022 awards event took place on 10 May at the Aviva Stadium. Catherine Martin, T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media was the special guest and noted the importance of critical thinking and media literacy.

Hosted by Matt Cooper, the event was attended by the award winning schools students, their teachers and families, along with national newspaper editors and journalists. A panel discussion discussing media literacy and the role of journalism in society and education took place with Sunday Independent Editor, Alan English, Irish Examine political editor Elaine Loughlin, and English teacher Mary Lowry.

Kate Lynch, a student from The Institute of Education, Dublin 2, was named the overall Student Journalist of the Year for her feature which included an interview with the new Trinity Provost.

“Kate’s interview was mature, engaging and insightful; it was confident without being blasé. The writer clearly understood that a great interview is more than getting answers, but is also those small details or observations that can bring a subject alive.”

Michael Foley, Chairman of the Press Pass Judging Panel

Schools participating in the Press Pass programme receive access to free digital news, a Teacher’s Lesson Plan, and a specially created student workbook. This year, NewsBrands also teamed up with the Department of Education’s Junior Cycle for Teachers Support ( to provide webinars and podcasts for teachers which included advise and inspiration from renowned journalist and editors.

During the Press Pass module, students are encouraged to engage with newspapers and digital news in the classroom, to analyse the journalism and then to create their own original journalism, the best of which is entered into a national competition. The judging panel comprises of a group of leading newspaper journalists, which is chaired by Michael Foley, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, TU Dublin. The Press Photographers Association of Ireland (PPAI) judged the photojournalism category.

“Congratulations to all our finalists and to the members of the judging panel who took the time to read through the many entries and pick the talented winners. A special thank you also to the passionate teachers who teach the Press Pass programme every year.

Ann Marie Lenihan, CEO of NewsBrands Ireland

The full list of winners is:

Student Journalist of the Year: Kate Lynch, The Institute of Education, Dublin 2


1st place – Seán Kenefick, Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, Youghal, Co. Cork

2ndplace – Aoife Nic Chinnéide, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Dingle, Co. Kerry

3rdplace – Emily Nic Gearailt, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Dingle, Co. Kerry

School Newspaper

1st place – Presentation De La Salle Bagenalstown Secondary School, Co. Carlow

2ndplace – Fingal Community College, Co. Dublin

3rdplace – Moyne Community School, Co. Longford


1stplace – Catherine Brennan, Presentation Secondary School, Wexford

2ndplace – Felix Somers, Presentation Secondary School, Wexford

3rdplace – Nanette McCartney, Millstreet Community School, Co. Cork


1stplace – Gemma Gannon, Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare

2ndplace – Fearne Morrisey, The Institute of Education Dublin

3rdplace ­– Kerrie Ní Bheaglaoich, Coláiste Iosagáin, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin


1stplace – Sophie O’Reilly, St Aloysius College, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork

2ndplace – Aoibhe Horan, Presentation Secondary School, Milltown

3rdplace – Lauren Barrett-Melleney, St. Mary’s Secondary School, Macroom, Co. Cork


1stplace – Tia Kenneally, Blackwater Community School, Lismore, Co. Waterford

2ndplace – Jake Sparks, Presentation Secondary School, Milltown, Co. Kerry

3rdplace – Ellie Ní Mhuirgheasa, Gaelscoil na Tríonóide, Youghal, Co. Cork