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University of Limerick journalism students scoop top National Student Media Awards



Members of the Limerick Voice, who were the winners of Newspaper of the Year, holding a picture of Joe Drennan, celebrating their SMEDIAS success for the UL Journalism students. Photograph: Tom Honan

SMEDIAS success for University of Limerick (UL) journalism students with three awards at the National Student Media Awards

SMEDIA success for University of Limerick (UL) journalism students with three awards at the National Student Media Awards
SMEDIAS success for UL Journalism students with 3 awards. Pictured at the launch of this year’s Limerick Voice are Limerick Voice Managing Editor, Molly Cantwell and Limerick Voice Digital Editor Joe Costigan. Picture: Alan Place

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 investigative reporter Gemma Good also won the prize for Journalism Relating to Health for her feature on 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.




Presenting the award for Newspaper of the Year to the Limerick Voice team, Mark Hennessy Ireland and Britain Editor of The Irish Times, commended the journalism students for their “determined efforts to report the community around them.”

The awards ceremony was held at the Mansion House in Dublin where a special tribute was also paid to Limerick Voice’s late Editor-In-Chief, Joe Drennan, who died tragically in a hit and run incident on October 13th last.

There was a standing ovation after it was announced that from next year, the Journalism Relating to Road Safety Award would be renamed The Joe Drennan Award for Journalism Relating to Road Safety, UL journalism students received 16 nominations at this year’s SMEDIAS, which is testament to the talent of the University’s students.

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.”

Molly went on to thank the support from the University of Limerick staff throughout the process and also thanked the family and friends of Joe Drennan, she said, “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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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.