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Journal Media wins five Justice Media Awards for excellence in legal journalism

Reporters Gráinne Ní Aodha, Michelle Hennessey, Órla Ryan and Dominic McGrath all picked up prizes for their work.

Senior reporter Michelle Hennessy was awarded for her article about how Ireland deals with sex offenders after they're released from prison.
Senior reporter Michelle Hennessy was awarded for her article about how Ireland deals with sex offenders after they're released from prison.
Image: TheJournal.ie

JOURNAL MEDIA PICKED up five awards at today’s Justice Media Awards, the longest-running media awards in the country, which recognise and reward excellence in legal journalism.

Reporters Gráinne Ní Aodha, Michelle Hennessey, Órla Ryan and Dominic McGrath from TheJournal.ie as well as Peter Bodkin and Seán McCárthaigh from Noteworthy picked up prizes for their articles, which varied from reports relating to FGM in Ireland and abroad to issues around how Ireland deals with sex offenders after they’re released from prison. 

Dominic McGrath won the Newcomer of the Year Award for his work over the past year.

In particular, McGrath was commended for “excellent coverage” of complex Brexit legal issues just weeks into his career, followed by a series of high-profile legal stories and explainers. 

The Law Society Of Ireland held the awards online for the first time in the event’s 29 year history, with the top prize going to Conor Gallagher of the Irish Times for his article “Ana Kriégel murder trial: the complete story”.

TheJournal.ie reporters Gráinne Ní Aodha, Michelle Hennessey, Órla Ryan all picked up Merit awards for their work over the past year. 

Hennessy won an award in the print and online journalism category for her examination of the difficult subject of sex offenders and their re-entry to society after prison. 

“This reporter shows great skill in tackling a heavy and troubling topic, delivering a comprehensive, truly educational article that balances data, expert opinion and public perception,” the judges said. 

Ní Aodha picked up a merit award in the human rights/social justice category for her insightful article into the real-life implications of a high-profile citizenship ruling in Northern Ireland.

“Using Freedom of Information legislation, this reporter has delivered an excellent examination of the questions and anxieties the DeSouza ruling has thrown up for Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland,” the judges commended. 

In the same category, Ryan was awarded a merit for her extensive reporting on a serious human rights violation, FGM, in Ireland and Kenya. 

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“Demonstrating extraordinary commitment to shedding light on female genital mutilation, and the work being done to protect women and girls, this comprehensive series is as enlightening as it is distressing,” the judges said. 

The crowdfunded investigative journalism platform Noteworthy also received a merit prize for their “eye-opening” two-part investigation that exposed the myths of Ireland’s compensation culture. 

In Part 1, Peter Bodkin crunched years of insurance and compensation data, finding that personal injury awards fell significantly – contradicting allegations that growing claims & payments for minor injuries have fed skyrocketing premiums.

In Part 2, by Seán McCárthaigh dove deep into research to find out how we compare to Canada and the UK, two countries that have made legislative and procedural strides toward tackling their ‘compo culture’ issues. 

The judges said: “Drilling into the data, these reporters have produced an eye-opening and important report on one of the most talked-about aspects of Irish law in recent years.” 

In total, 33 awards and merits were presented to winners across 12 categories.

About the author:

Adam Daly

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