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bumper year

Noteworthy: Community-sourced ideas and crowdfunded investigations win four awards this year

The Journal’s investigative platform published 14 investigations in 2021 and scooped 4 awards.

IT HAS BEEN a busy year for our community-led investigative platform, Noteworthy, as the team has completed 14 investigations and scooped four awards in the process.   

The year kicked off with a record-breaking January with the highest number of supporters funding investigations since we began operating. Thanks so much to you, our readers, for making this happen.

Strong levels of support throughout the year helped to push funding for several investigations over the line, allowing our reporters to crack on with research and publish 14 investigations in 2021.

Investigations in 2021

These investigations covered a range of issues from accessibility of public transport for disabled people and the rise in bike theft during the pandemic to the emissions of Ireland’s largest companies and the impact of farm subsidies on biodiversity

The team also looked into some fishy business, examining the impact of overfishing on wildlife in Irish waters in our NET LOSS investigation, as well as issues related to the salmon farm industry along the Atlantic coast in our TROUBLED WATERS series

The team worked with colleagues in The Journal on several investigations, including the four-part EYES RIGHT expose, probing the online explosion of far-right narratives online as a disparate group of personalities and political parties seized upon confusion and frustration caused by the pandemic.

Noteworthy reporter Maria Delaney and The Journal’s Michelle Hennessy also led the multimedia TOUGH START series that investigated the uphill battle facing Traveller children in health, education and justice, with Cormac Fitzgerald examining housing.

Photo of Michelle Hennessy and Maria Delaney collecting an award Michelle Hennessy and Maria Delaney at the Irish Red Cross offices to collect their award Tony Gavin via Irish Red Cross Tony Gavin via Irish Red Cross

Awards for several projects

This in-depth investigation received immediate recognition, winning the Journalism Excellence Award at the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards 2021 within a few weeks of publication.

The team also brought home several other awards, with Delaney winning a gong at the prestigious Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) for her work on precarious work for academics’ in the third level sector.

Reporter Niall Sargent also won an investigative award at the inaugural Irish Food Writing Awards for our project on working conditions for horticulture workers. 

We also came third in the investigative category at the Society of Environmental Journalist Awards, competing against large global media platforms. We won for our SPRUCED UP project by Niall Sargent on the biodiversity impacts of our conifer-led forestry policy. 

The investigative platform was also shortlisted for a number of awards including the Miriam Hederman O’Brien Prize, Cancer Journalism Award, and Business Journalism Awards.

Journal Media Managing Editor Susan Daly said that these achievements are down to the continued support of Noteworthy readers. “Our team is delighted with what we achieved this year and want to thank every single person who supports us for their vital role in helping us to tell these important stories. These are your stories, brought to life by the diligent work of Maria, Niall and our invaluable contributors.” 

A new year of investigations

The team are now heading into the new year with several other investigations in the pipeline, including the final articles in our PEAT’S SAKE investigation into unlicensed large-scale peat extraction. Once the festive season is behind us, we are going to – pardon the pun – dig deeper into the problem.

We are also cracking into research on our FACTORY FARM investigation on intensive pig and poultry farming in the border region, while our BREAKING THE BANKS project on the impact of maintenance works on riverside habitats is almost over the line. 

The new year will also mark the beginning of research into our most recently funded investigation – OVER THE HILL – that will look at the impacts of overgrazing on protected nature areas and national parks.

The team are also creeping close to full funding on multiple proposals, including: 

  • BLIND JUSTICE (84%): Examining the experience of Travellers in the justice system to see if everyone is really equal in the eyes of the legal and prison systems.
  • THE CONSTRUCTION NETWORK (83%): Connecting the dots between the government and lobbyists for developers and the construction industry. 
  • SYSTEM OVERLOAD (75%): The public health system was creaking before the pandemic. We ant to find out if Covid-19 has broken it.

In addition to funding individual projects, the team’s general fund  – including a monthly contribution option – plays a key role in the functioning of Noteworthy, helping us to:

  • Investigate stories that we can’t publicly fundraise for because of legal reasons.

  • Dive deeper into investigations and follow leads outside the scope of the initial budget.

  • Have more interaction with you about what you want us to investigate (submit your ideas here).

Thank you so much for your support over the past year and best wishes for a fruitful 2022.

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