A Mayo man has won the inaugural University of Limerick Irish Examiner Video Journalism prize. Shane McNamara, an MA in Journalism student at UL, won the top prize for his multimedia piece entitled “Rescue 116: The people behind the recovery”.
The piece focused on those involved in the efforts to recover the bodies of those lost when Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 crashed in March. Captain Mark Duffy (51), Captain Dara Fitzpatrick (45), winch operator Ciarán Smith (38) and winchman Paul Ormsby (53) died when the helicopter crashed 12km off the County Mayo coast.
Editorial Manager for the Irish Examiner Diane McDermott, who presented the cheque to Mr McNamara in UL this week said Shane’s work stood out due to its attention to detail and came top of a strong field of entrants.The competition was the culmination of a partnership between UL and the Irish Examiner, in which coursework produced by UL journalism students was broadcast to a national audience.
Mr McNamara said he had chosen to focus on the Rescue 116 story for a number of reasons, “obviously the scale of this unfathomable tragedy rocked the country and headlined the news for some time, for me there was something closer to home. I have family and friends involved with both the Coast Guard and the RNLI and I know first hand the dedication and the risks involved while volunteering for these organisations.
“This is something I hoped to show the public through this video. The project itself gave me some invaluable experience with regards to editing, interviewing and filming and I feel that I have learned a lot from it,” he continued.
Head of Journalism at University of Limerick Dr Fergal Quinn congratulated Mr McNamara on the win, adding that he was delighted at the standard of work showcased.“Shane is a very talented young journalist and he produced what I thought was a very insightful and sensitive piece about what drives the extraordinary voluntary effort to recover the bodies of those lost at sea. As well as the winning entry, there was a very high standard of work produced by our students which attests to the potential and quality of our young journalism graduates,” he stated.
Dr Quinn described the competition as "an excellent test of students’ ability to produce work that is of broadcast standard", adding, "I’m grateful to the Irish Examiner for supporting what was a really interesting collaboration, both from a study and teaching perspective”.
Irish Examiner digital editor, Dolan O'Hagan, congratulated all who contributed to the competition and said he hoped it was the start of an ongoing collaboration.
"Collaborations between media companies and third level institutions such as UL are, in my view, a vital part of the future of quality news and journalism in Ireland. These students have highlighted a number of very worthwhile stories which were centred on very real societal issues and the people behind them. Many of these stories would otherwise have remained untold and when all of the nonsense is stripped away, is there a more important function for journalism than that?"
In total, 18 multimedia pieces produced by the BA and MA in Journalism classes at UL were chosen from examples of coursework submitted and were broadcast on the Irish Examiner website during the month of May. The top five in terms of audience engagement via the Irish Examiner website and on social media were shortlisted, with Mr McNamara’s work chosen by a panel of judges to be the winner.
Watch the video here: