The Irish Independent presidential election team has won the National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) journalist of the year award. The team comprises Fionnán Sheahan, Michael Brennan, Fiach Kelly and Cormac McQuinn. The Irish Daily Mail and the Irish Mail on Sunday won a total of six awards, namely young journalist, Jennifer Bray; feature writer, Philip Nolan; best commentator, Dermot Bolger; scoop of the year, Michael O’Farrell and Alexandra Ryan, top showbiz journalist. The Irish Daily Mail won the award for best design and presentation.
Irish Times writers Miriam Lord and Eileen Battersby were named political journalist and critic of the year respectively. Ian Kehoe of The Sunday Business Post won the business and economics award and Justine McCarthy of the Sunday Times was voted columnist of the year. Eamonn Sweeney of the Sunday Independent won sports columnist of the year, while the top sports reporter was Ewan MacKenna of the Irish Examiner. Nicola Tallant of the Sunday World was named the NNI’s top crime and security reporter.
The Irish Independent took the newspapers in education award for its series of Titanic stories. The headline of the year went to the Irish Daily Star for its Tiocfaidh Ar Lámh front page banner alongside a photo of Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth. Marisa Reidy of The Kerryman was voted top regional journalist. Two special NNI awards were also presented. Former Sunday Independent editor Aengus Fanning (pictured above) won a posthumous award for his outstanding contribution to the Irish newspaper industry, while former Evening Herald columnist Con Houlihan won the inaugural supreme wordsmith award.
The NNI awards were presented at an industry lunch in the Four Seasons hotel in Ballsbridge today.