Limerick Voice scoops top category wins at the National Student Media Awards

The University of Limerick journalism students won the highly competitive Newspaper of the Year category with the Limerick Voice print edition.

University of Limerick journalism students have scooped three awards at the National Student Media Awards.

For the second time Limerick Voice, produced by the final year journalism class, was named Newspaper of the Year 2024 and also won the award for Layout and Design of the Year 2024.

Limerick Voice reporter Gemma Good also won the prize for Journalism Relating to Health for her piece with Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention. 

The National Student Media Awards (The Smedias) 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, Ireland and UK editor of The Irish Times.

After presenting the award for Newspaper of the Year to the Limerick Voice team, Mark Hennessy described the publication’s submission as “particularly poignant this year,” and added that it made “determined efforts to report the community around them.”

Members of Limerick Voice, University of Limerick, winners of the Newspaper of the Year pictured with their award. Photo: Tom Honan.

The awards ceremony took place on Wednesday evening (April 10) at the Mansion House in Dublin and was attended by Irish media personalities and experts in every aspect of Irish media.

In addition to the team’s big wins on the night, a tribute was paid to Limerick Voice’s late Editor-In-Chief, Joe Drennan, who died tragically in a hit and run incident on October 13 last. After announcing that from next year, 2025, the Journalism Relating to Road Safety Award would be renamed The Joe Drennan Award for Journalism Relating to Road Safety, there was a standing ovation to honour the late journalism student.

UL journalism students received 16 nominations at this year’s Smedias, which is testament to the talent of the University’s students according to Dr Kathryn Hayes, Association Professor and Course Director BA Journalism and Digital Communication.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our journalism students. To be so successful at The Smedias after such a hard year is a tribute to their resilience. Their work on Limerick Voice shows their ability to work through extremely difficult circumstances to produce award-winning journalism. Joe Drennan would be so proud. The past few months have been full of teaching moments. I look forward to seeing our students make major contributions to Irish journalism in the years ahead.”

“We are extremely proud of all of our students who were nominated for awards in highly competitive categories at this year’s Smedias and of those who received awards. This is well deserved industry recognition of the excellent work our students have been producing across multimedia news platforms, which is an integral part of journalism education in UL.”  

Joe Costigan and Molly Cantwell at the National Student Media Awards at The Mansion House, Dublin. Pictured holding a photo of Joe Drennan (Editor in Chief) who passed away in October. Photo: Tom Honan.

Managing Editor of Limerick Voice, Molly Cantwell added: “I am so grateful to The Smedias, Oxygen, and The Irish Times for the honour of winning Newspaper of the Year alongside our Layout and Design win. In a year that has been so horrendously difficult, having such an important project recognised on a platform of this size means the world to the entire team.

“In September 2023, Joe Drennan and I started out as co-editors of Limerick Voice, excitedly planning what the year would look like. Ultimately, our main goal was to give a voice to the voiceless in our community, and to take home this highly-coveted award. I know he would be so incredibly proud of the team and of the newspaper. 

“Thank you so much to our wonderful lecturer Dr Kathryn Hayes for the work and support over the last year that led us to this point. Thank you to the beautiful Drennan family and friends of the family for their tireless support of our work. Thank you Joe for the ever present reminder to work to the best of our abilities and represent what you stood for. We miss you so much.”

Joe Costigan, Digital Editor, spoke about the team’s Newspaper of the Year win: “We said before we even started working on the newspaper that we would dedicate it to Joe, so to have it recognised nationally at an awards ceremony that meant so much to him is incredible. It’s hard to explain how special it felt, it genuinely means the world to everyone on the team.”

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