The courageous story of Vicky Phelan, whose fight for life opened the floodgates to the biggest health scandal in the history of the state features in the eleventh edition of Limerick Voice published on December 8, 2018.
The newspaper, produced by the fourth year and MA students of Journalism at University of Limerick, reveals how the brave mother of two has been using money raised for her own cancer treatment to help others gain to access to the wonder drug responsible for keeping her alive.
The 43-year-old, who has been campaigning to have the drug Pembrolizumab, available to all cervical cancer sufferers, has been footing the cost of the test fee for a number of women, without which they might not be considered for the drug.
She is also funding the cost of a new researcher role, who would rotate between the eight cancer centre in the country, providing information to cancer patients about clinicial trials and alternative treatments.
Limerick Voice Editor 2018, Frances Watkins, said this year, students wanted the paper to focus on people and their stories as there are so many ordinary people living extraordinary lives across Limerick.
“Many readers will agree that 2018 has certainly been a historical year for Limerick,” she said. “From our legendary All-Ireland hurling win to the tragic death of Dolores O’Riordan and the story of Vicky Phelan, who uncovered the biggest health scandal in the history of the state, Limerick has made headlines not only nationally, but internationally, too. This edition aims to bring you stories about the people behind these headlines,” she explained.
Limerick Voice, which was named Newspaper of the Year at the 2018 National Student Media Awards, will be distributed with this weekend’s edition of the Limerick Leader newspaper. It is also available online at limerickvoice.com which has been live since September, covering daily breaking news and sports stories. Limerick Voice has also been active across all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The latest edition also reveals how 200 men have sought help from Rape Crisis Mid West in the past five years.
Other stories featured include an investigation into the number of reported sexual assaults in Irish third level institutions; the latest trolley figures figures at University Hospital Limerick and one man’s experience of living in Direct Provision accommodation.
Limerick’s historic success on the sporting field is celebrated in the sports page in a special interview with All Ireland winning brothers Tom and Dan Morrissey Junior All-Ireland Winning footballers and sisters Olivia and Martina Giltenane.
Limerick Voice also celebrates the power of community spirit with four pages dedicated to stories about people and projects in Limerick’s regeneration areas.
Speaking at the launch of Limerick Voice, Professor Helen Kelly Holmes, Dean of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences said: “Limerick Voice is the capstone project for our Journalism students; it is the ‘icing on the cake’ of their educational and professional development, where they get the chance to bring all of their accumulated skills and learning together. I am constantly amazed at the quality that they produce, and this year is no exception. It is the very best kind of learning-by-doing and shows them that they can make it in the profession.”
UL Head of Journalism, Mary Dundon, said the production of Limerick Voice on a multi-media platform provided the students with important practical skills. “The editors of local and national media have told us that they need graduates with good analytical skills who can write across a range of digital platforms – we are producing those graduates at UL,” she pointed out.
UL Course Director in Journalism and New Media, Kathryn Hayes, who oversaw the project, said the experience of working on Limerick Voice provides vital real-life experience for students entering the highly competitive journalism jobs market after graduation. “Experiential learning is a key element of our journalism teaching in UL and working on Limerick Voice means our students now have experience of the skills required to run a news website and bring a newspaper from concept to print. We are particularly grateful to the Limerick Leader newspaper for their continued support of this project.”