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UL journalism students score another hat-trick at National Student Media Awards

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L-R – UL Journalism students Frances Watkins, Editor, Limerick Voice 2019, Emil Trahan (Radio Production of the Year) and Ivan Smyth accepting the Award for An Focal at the National Student Media Awards in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture credit: Mingyang Pang

The University of Limerick scored another hat-trick at the 19th National Student Media Awards where its journalism students scooped three top awards.

Limerick Voice a 40-page local newspaper, produced by masters and fourth year Journalism and New Media students won the award for Best Layout and Design while An Focal, UL’s student publication, was named Website of the Year.

Final year Journalism and New Media student Emil Trahan won the award for Best Radio Production for his radio package on sex education in Ireland and how it is taught in schools.

The National Student Media Awards, or the Smedias as they are more popularly known, is the largest competition of its kind in Ireland dedicated to recognising and celebrating the next generation of media talent. Open to students from every college across Ireland the awards are judged by key media industry leaders including Mark Hennessey, News Editor of The Irish Times, and Fionnan Sheahan, Editor of The Irish Independent.

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UL Journalism award winners and nominees, with Journalism lecturers Kathryn Hayes and Henry Silke, celebrating their success at the National Student Media Awards in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture credit: Mingyang Pang

Speaking about the success of Limerick Voice, which received a record number of nominations and was named Newspaper of the Year at last year’s Smedias, Frances Watkins, Limerick Voice Editor 2018, said:

“We put so much time and work into Limerick Voice and it was wonderful to be recognized for that with the Smedia nominations. We were delighted to accept the award for Layout and Design and it really shows the talent and dedication of our class”.

Second-year Journalism and New Media Student Christine Costello is the Editor of An Focal, which was named Website of the Year.

“This win means so much for both the publication and the entire An Focal team. We’ve worked hard on our website and online presence since print has become so costly and are delighted to see that work has finally paid off.”

Kathryn Hayes, Course Director of the BA in Journalism and New Media programme in UL, paid tribute to all of the winners and acknowledged the record number of nominations for UL Journalism students at this year’s Smedias.

“I’m extremely proud of yet another ‘hat trick’ success for UL journalism students at the Smedias. This is the third consecutive year that our students have secured top awards and the second year they have come home with three awards. I’m also extremely proud of the fact that UL had 17 nominations this year, which is testament to all the hard work of our journalism students and teaching staff.

“Good journalism requires curiosity, persistence, accountability and objectivity, and these young journalism students bear all of those hallmarks.”

Head of Journalism in UL, Mary Dundon congratulated all of the nominees and award winners who were honoured on the same day UL marked ten years of journalism studies at the university with a special day-long conference.

“UL has enjoyed a high degree of success at the Smedias in recent years, which is due to the continued advancement of journalism in the university. This was acknowleged at our ten year anniversary conference and these awards are further validation by key media figures of the great work being produced by our students.”

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