Two Journal Media reporters win Irish Red Cross Award for Excellence in Journalism 2021


TWO JOURNAL MEDIA journalists won the Award for Excellence in Journalism at the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards 2021.

Remarkable investigative journalist Maria Delaney and The newspaper senior journalist Michelle Hennessy won the award for her long series DIFFICULT START.

The prestigious award recognizes outstanding contributions to humanitarian storytelling and celebrates writing that inspires change for good. The awards ceremony – which was scheduled to take place tonight – has been canceled due to Covid, but the winners were announced today.

During the announcement, Pat Carey, president of the Irish Red Cross, said the awards are “in recognition of those who are dedicated to outstanding humanitarian excellence”.

Speaking after receiving the award, Delaney said: “It was vital that travelers were the focus of this investigation and this award recognizes all who have spoken to us about the systemic issues facing the community.

“Our entire team is absolutely delighted and would like to thank everyone who supports Remarkable, especially those who helped fund this project.

The newspaper’s Hennessy added that “it is such an honor to get this kind of recognition for our work”.

We could not have done this important topic justice without the contributions of the Traveler organizations and community advocates who spoke to us for the series. I especially want to thank the Travel Children I interviewed for trusting us with their stories and sharing their experiences so openly.

The joint series looked at the challenges traveling children face in health, education, accommodation and justice through seven articles, a podcast and a live event.

It revealed a lack of targeted health actions, with reduced hours at school regularly being used for Travelers, children discriminated against by members of the gardaí and persistent problems with the provision of specific accommodation for Travelers.

Journalists from Journal Media were nominated for the award alongside journalist Donal O’Keeffe as well as filmmaker, photographer and activist Felipe Lopes. A special mention was also awarded to Katie Hannon of RTÉ.

Last year, The newspaper Journalist Órla Ryan won the Irish Red Cross Award for Excellence in Journalism 2020 for her work in Kenya and Lebanon, where she covered women’s rights and refugee camps.

The Irish Red Cross said that “the multi-part series exposed the tremendous challenges faced by children in the Traveler community in key areas impacting their development and opportunities, including access to health care and education, and human living conditions.

“At the heart of this process was a centering of the Traveler experience and Traveler voices.

The Traveler community has traditionally not had much voice in Irish media, politics or society in general. A key objective of this project was to give that voice back to this marginalized community. The series has garnered much praise and support from Traveler groups, confirming that this goal has been achieved.

Journal Media Editor Susan Daly, congratulating Delaney and Hennessy on their award, said: “The Tough Start series is one of which we are extremely proud. Maria and Michelle have worked tirelessly for several months to highlight the mind-boggling scale of the challenges Travelers’ children face every day, often from birth.

“This was an important cross-publication partnership between The newspaper and Remarkable, and one in which we could give the space, time and platform for the voices of travelers to be heard, their concerns recognized, and answers sought.

The Humanitarian of the Year award went to Tammy Darcy for dedicating her life “to helping adolescent girls take their rightful place in the world” through her nonprofit The Shona Project, which has also won the Innovation for Change award. By the end of this year he will have worked with over 20,000 girls in schools across Ireland.

Teenage climate justice activist Saoi O’Connor was named Young Humanitarian of the Year “for inspiring leadership”.

The other winners were the Doolin Hotel in Co Clare, Ireland’s only carbon neutral hotel, which won the Corporate Impact Award and the Digital Charity Lab which won the Digital Influence category for its work in providing digital skills to non-profit organizations.

Catherine Corless also received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her investigations into the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway.

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