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TheJournal.ie's Stardust wins prestigious Mary Raftery Prize

This is the third major award the six-part podcast series has won.

THEJOURNAL.IE‘S PODCAST ‘STARDUST’ has won the Mary Raftery Prize, which is awarded for social affairs journalism on the island of Ireland.

This is the third major award the podcast has won, after winning gold at the New York Festivals Radio Awards for Best Narrative/Documentary Podcast; and winning best Radio Documentary at this year’s Celtic Media Festival.

The award was given to the Stardust podcast team who conducted interviews, researched, recorded and edited the six-part series: Sean Murray, Nicky Ryan and Christine Bohan.

The podcast looks at what happens when a community never gets closure after a massive tragedy and how the Irish State got its handling of the devastating fire so wrong.

In assessing the winning entry, the judges Professor Mary Corcoran, Maynooth University; Pat Brennan (formerly of The Sunday Tribune) and Andy Pollak (former editor of Fortnight) – described Stardust as “a powerful podcast, forming a compelling narrative of lost life, an inadequate response from state institutions, and a lasting sense of abandonment and injustice in a bereft working class community”.

Historic sources – such as the Tribunal report – were used to great effect, as were interviews from those who were in the Stardust on the night of the fire.
It is superbly crafted and a very moving account of the 1981 Stardust fire and the families’ long-drawn-out campaign to get justice.

Also nominated for the prize was another Journal Media publication: Noteworthy.ie’s ‘A Bridge Too Far’, an investigation into a controversial road scheme by Maria Delaney and Ken Foxe.

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The award – an engraved medal and a prize of €1,000 – is given by the School of Communications at DCU, funded by a bequest from the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund, and is sponsored by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

Commenting on the prize announcement, chair of the judging panel Dr Mark O’Brien said that the quality of entries indicates an appetite for “factual and research-based journalism that sheds light on injustice and on the lack of transparency, fairness and equality that often characterises Irish society and its institutions”.

Along with TheJournal.ie and Noteworthy in the shortlist for this award were:

  • ‘Crechés: Behind Closed Doors’ – by the RTÉ Investigations Unit (Doireann O’Hara, Aoife Hegarty and Paul Maguire)
  • ‘No Child 2020′ – from The Irish Times (Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, Fintan O’Toole, Kitty Holland, Conor Goodman)
  • ‘The case of Majella Moynihan’ – RTÉ Documentary on One (Aoife Kelleher, Sarah Blake and Liam O’Brien)
  • ‘Spotlight on Domestic Violence’ – from the Westmeath Independent (Geraldine Grennan)
  • ‘Enough is Enough-No Excuses’ and ‘Open Your Eyes to STIs’ – by Beat 102 103 (Michelle Heffernan)
  • ‘Homelessness’ – by Kitty Holland of The Irish Times. 

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