Independent Judging panel 2021

Tim Vaughan, Chairman

Chairman of the judging panel.

A former editor of the Irish Examiner for over 15 years, Tim began his career in journalism as a reporter with The Kerryman before joining the then Cork Examiner as a general news reporter in 1991.

He was appointed editor of the Irish Examiner in 2001. During his time as editor the newspaper earned an award-winning reputation for campaigning journalism and spearheaded revelations into several major national controversies, including the Garda whistleblowers scandal.

He is now Head of Content and Corporate Communications at the global employee communications company, Poppulo.

Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan was born in Belfast and educated at St McNissis s College in County Antrim and Queen s University, Belfast. He joined the Belfast Telegraph in 1969 as a junior reporter and throughout the period of the early years of The Troubles , he reported on the violence and trials which took place.

In 1973 he was appointed Deputy Political Correspondent at the Belfast Telegraph where he covered the original inquiry into Bloody Sunday headed by the English Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery, the Ulster workers strike and the fall of the power-sharing Executive.

In 1976 he became a reporter and presenter for RTE News Features where he conducted interviews on the News at One-Thirty and This Week before being appointed Economics correspondent in 1981.

In 1983 he joined the Financial Times as Ireland Correspondent. As well as covering the continuing economic crisis of the period, this role also took in the turbulent politics of the time in the Republic and coverage of Northern Ireland, with the various political initiatives taking place.

In 1986 he became Business Editor of the Irish Independent where he was responsible for the production of the business pages of the newspaper and introduced the Thursday business supplement. He was Economics Editor from 1992-2012 and now writes a weekly economics column.

Dave O’Connell

Dave O’Connell is Group Editor of the Connacht Tribune, a role he has held for the past ten years.

A graduate of journalism at the College of Commerce in Rathmines in 1983, he started as a reporter with the Connacht Tribune that year before moving to the then-Cork Examiner in 1989. He was promoted to Deputy Editor and News Editor of the Cork Evening Echo before leaving to take up a role as Assistant News Editor with the Star in 1995.

He worked as News Editor and Night Editor there until he departed for the Westmeath Independent in 2001, where he was appointed editor – a role that was subsequently expanded to Group Editor with the Westmeath Examiner Group, serving as editor of the Westmeath Examiner, Westmeath Independent and Offaly Independent.

A regular presenter and contributor with RTE, he has presented Saturday View, Grassroots (a series on local government) and Late Debate as well as filling in as presenter on Drivetime, Today with Pat Kenny and Tonight with Vincent Browne. He currently shares the weekly regional newspaper review slot on Drivetime with John O’Connor.

A native of Oughterard, Co Galway, he is married to the RTE journalist Teresa Mannion and they have two sons, Cian and Tom.

Fiona Stack

Fiona Stack is General Manager of Radio Kerry. She began her career as a journalist with the station and became News Editor. She later worked in Newstalk as Station Editor for 3 years. During that time Newstalk was named Radio Station of the Year at the PPI Radio Awards in 2004.

Áine Kerr

Áine Kerr is the Co-Founder and COO of Kinzen; a technology company building products to help connect people with quality news and information. 

Previously, Áine led global journalism partnerships at Facebook, overseeing a team in New York focused on building products, tools and services for journalists and news consumers. She was instrumental in helping to create the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) and the News Integrity Initiative (NII).

Before Facebook, she spent five years at Storyful, and was appointed managing editor in December 2011 at the time of the company’s acquisition by News Corporation. Previously, Áine spent over seven years working as a political correspondent and news reporter with The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and The Irish Examiner. 

Áine is an advisor to the Institute for Future of Media and Journalism (Fujo), the co-founder of Online News Association (ONA) Ireland and a Fellow of the Sulzberger Leadership Program in Columbia University, NYC. She is a member of the European Council's committee of experts on quality journalism in the digital age and the GovLab 100 Questions Initiative based out of New York University (NYU).

She was awarded Woman of the Year in Media at The Irish Tatler Awards in 2018 and received an Alumni Award from Dublin City University (DCU) in 2020. Áine is a frequent broadcaster on RTÉ and holds a Masters of Journalism with DCU.

Stuart Clarke

Fresh from a stint on the legendary seaborne Radio Caroline, Stuart, a Londoner, came ashore and ended up in Ireland in the 1980s. It was soon after, while he was living in Limerick and earning a crust as a music journalist for Hot Press, that he became the first person to write about The Cranberries.

Now the magazine’s Deputy Editor, he has interviewed everybody from David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and Amy Winehouse, to Séamus Coleman, Bundee Aki and President Michael D. Higgins. In 2016 his work was recognised by the industry when he won the Magazines Ireland Journalist of the Year Award.

Stuart talks music every week on Newstalk with Pat Kenny, and pops up regularly on other RTÉ, Virgin Media and BBC radio and TV shows.

He's worked on projects with the London School of Economics, Pieta House, Concern, Citizens Information and Ana Liffey Drug Project; been part of the spoken word line-ups at the Electric Picnic, All Together Now, Vinyl and Indiependence festivals; and in 2017 was invited by Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordain to participate in a drugs policy briefing for members of Dáil Éireann and the Seanad.

Geraldine Kennedy

Geraldine Kennedy is one of the most prolific and high profile journalists of her generation.

A native of Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary, Kennedy began her career with the Munster Express, but was hired by the Cork Examiner after less than a year. After several years at the Cork Examiner, she moved to The Irish Times. Then, on the foundation of the Sunday Tribune in 1980, Kennedy became its political editor. When the Tribune briefly ceased production, Kennedy moved to the Sunday Press.

In 1987, Kennedy successfully sued the incumbent Charles-Haughey-led Fianna Fail government for illegally tapping her phone.

She ran in the 1987 general election and was elected as one of 14 Progressive Democrat TDs. She became that party’s spokesperson for foreign affairs.

Following the 1989 election, Kennedy lost her seat and returned to The Irish Times. For several years she moved away from writing about party politics, only to return to covering politics in the early 1990s. She became The Irish Times’s political editor in 1999.

In 2002, Kennedy replaced Conor Brady as editor of The Irish Times.

In addition to her abilities as a journalist, Kennedy is widely known and regarded for her and Colm Keena’s investigation into former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s finances and their subsequent fight through the High Court to protect their sources.

In September 2006, Kennedy approved the publication of an article in The Irish Times, which gave details of payments purported to have been made in 1993 to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Kennedy refused upon request of the investigating Tribunal to provide details of the source of the printed information. She responded that the documents had since been destroyed. Subsequently, the Tribunal sought High Court orders and these were issued to compel her to provide details of the source. In its judgment, the High Court criticised her severely for destroying documents.

Kennedy and Keena subsequently appealed this judgment to the Supreme Court and won.

Fionnuala McCarthy

Fionnuala McCarthy is editorial director of Lonely Planet, where she has worked for the past six years.
Previous roles included head of features and magazines at INM, magazine editor at The Sunday Tribune, editor of Woman's Way, editor of U magazine and features editor of Ireland on Sunday.

Ola Majekodunmi

Ola Majekodunmi was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in Dublin, Ireland. She is a broadcaster, freelance journalist, Gaeilgeoir, creator, co-founder of Beyond Representation and Board of Directors member on both Foras na Gaeilge, Mother Tongues Ireland and Galway Film Centre’s National Talent Academy Steering Committee.

In 2018, Ola directed and produced the viral video- ‘What Does “Irishness” Look Like?’ which was screened at the Belfast Feminist Festival, Belfast Film Festival and Rathmullan Film Festival.

She first became a radio presenter with Raidió na Life 106.4FM 6 years ago, presenting the show ‘Seinnliosta an tSathairn’ and then more recently presenting the popular African Irish show, ‘Afra-Éire’. She often contributes on other radio stations’ shows such as on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, RTÉ 2FM, RTÉ 2XM, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Foyle, RTÉ Radio 1 and more on different topics to do with politics, current affairs, and race.
She was nominated for the SMEDIAS for the category ‘Iriseoireacht trí Ghaeilge’ in 2018 and 2019. She was also nominated for the SAAI Awards for the category ‘Feachtas Bliain Na Gaeilge’ in 2018. Last year she was nominated for ‘Réalta Óg na Bliana’ (Young Star of the Year) for Gradaim Cumarsáide (The Media Awards) at Oireachtas na Gaeilge. She also won the Amdalah Africa Foundation Award last year for her achievements and contribution to inclusion and community development in Ireland.

Ola is an IADT graduate with a BA (hons) English, Media, and Cultural studies. She is also a graduate in M.A. in Digital Broadcast Production at the National Film School in IADT since 2019

Gavan Becton

Gavan Becton became only the seventh editor of the Meath Chronicle in its 119 year history in July 2016 when he succeeded Ken Davis. Since taking on the role, the Meath Chronicle has grown one of the country's biggest online followings for a regional newspaper and attracted over 1.5m website visitors last year.
With over 20 years experience working in newspapers, Gavan previously worked as assistant sports editor and digital editor for the Irish Sun where he spearheaded the newspaper's GAA online highlights and growth of digital output including the use of video.

Prior to his time at the Irish Sun, Gavan worked at the Irish Daily Star. He was appointed deputy sports editor of the new Irish Daily Star Sunday from 2003 and was subsequently promoted to the role of sports editor in 2004 where he remained until the paper ceased publication in 2011.

In 1997 he joined New Century Publishing as Production Editor with editorial responsibility for a number of key publications for high profile clients including the FAI and IRFU.

He started his career as a news reporter with the Tallaght Echo Newspaper in 1991 as well working as freelance contributor to the Irish Press, Irish Times and co-founded The Irish Globe a newspaper aimed at the Irish Diaspora. He is a graduate of Colaiste Dhulaigh's National Diploma in Journalism course.

Sebastian Hamilton

Sebastian is former Director and Group Editor of DMG Ireland. He is currently Head of Public Affairs with Revolut Ireland

Willie Kealy

Willie Kealy is the former Deputy Editor of the Sunday Independent

Mairead Lavery

Mairead Lavery is former editor of Irish Country Living the magazine supplement in the Irish Farmers Journal. She organises the annual Women and Agriculture conference and the bi-annual Women and Agriculture Awards

Mairead is a former joint winner of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists ‘National Journalist of the Year Award’ and won the National Print category on two occasions. She also won the ‘John Healy Award for Regional Journalism’ and was voted ‘Consumer Magazine Editor of the Year’ 2013.

She contributes weekly to Newstalk’s Sean Moncrieff Show and is a regular panellist on The Breakfast Show on Newstalk, on RTE’s Today Show and TV 3’s Elaine and Ireland AM shows.

Mairead is a graduate of the University of Limerick and Trinity College.

She lives in Shanagolden, Co Limerick with her husband Sean and they have three adult children.

Mairead served on the board of Agri Aware, the farming and food education body from 2000-2010 and was its chairman for five of these years. She chaired Failte Ireland’s B&B Strategic Implementation Group from 2010/11.  She is a former board member of Foynes Port Company, Limerick County Development Board and West Limerick Resources - the LEADER and social inclusion company for west Limerick.

She represented IFA on the National Economic and Social Council.  She is a former County Chairman of Limerick IFA and represented the county on the IFA Executive Council.

Mick McCaffrey

Mick McCaffrey is head of News and Sport for Virgin News . He previously worked as News Editor at UTV Ireland and the Sunday Tribune as well as a senior reporter with the Sunday World and Evening Herald.  He is a previous winner of the Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Awards having been named Crime Journalist of Year in 2013

Sam Tranum

Sam Tranum is co-founder and deputy editor of Dublin Inquirer, as well as a book editor at Four Courts Press. He has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, reporting for daily newspapers in West Virginia and Florida, covering the uranium mining and nuclear energy businesses from Washington D.C., editing at a daily newspaper in Kolkata, India, and teaching journalism to university students from across Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

PJ Cunningham

PJ Cunningham is an author, editor and journalist with over 30 years experience working in national newspapers.

He is a former deputy editor of the Sunday Tribune and Evening Herald and sports Editor of the Irish Independent. He was Agriculture Correspondent of Independent Newspapers in the mid-eighties and has been a sports columnist with various publications for 20 years.

PJ is the author of four books, one of which  - The Long Acre – was shortlisted for the Bord Gais Best Irish Published Book of the Year in 2014.

PJ has  also compiled and edited two collections of book on rural life – Around The Farm Gate and Then There Was Light, both of which were Irish best-sellers.

Siobhán O’Connell

Siobhán O’Connell is a director of Business Plus Magazine which she co-founded with Nick Mulcahy in 1998

As well as her commercial role in Business Plus, Siobhán writes a monthly media and marketing column in the magazine

A former young journalist of the year, Siobhán is a regular guest contributor to The Business on RTE Radio 1.

Trevor White

Trevor White is Director of the Little Museum of Dublin.​ ​

He founded The Dubliner magazine and edited Ireland’s best ​-​ selling restaurant guide, The Dubliner 100 Best Restaurants, for many years.

​His third book, Alfie: The Life and Times of Alfie Byrne, will be published by Penguin Ireland this autumn.

Jennifer O' Brien

Jennifer O'Brien works for RTÉ in TV, Radio and Online Communications and is a two-time winner of the Showbiz Story of the Year Award (2011 & 2018 ). A graduate of the MA Journalism at National University of Ireland, Galway, in 2006, Jennifer commenced her career in journalism as a reporter with The Longford News. She went on to work as features writer and Showbiz Editor at The Irish Sun, before moving to London in as Editor of the Bizarre Column at the UK Edition, and then Senior Online Producer for Good Morning Britain at ITV. She returned to Ireland and News International in 2017, working for The Times Ireland Edition as Arts Correspondent, before making the move to Communications in RTÉ

Dara Doyle

Dara Doyle is Senior Editor with Bloomberg Ireland

Michael Foley

Michael Foley is Professor Emeritus at the School of Media, DIT. He is a journalist and author and taught journalism at DIT from BA to PhD level and was also head of journalism for a number of years. He has worked in media development for the BBC’s development wing, the International Federation of Journalism, Unicef and Unesco in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He was a journalist with The Irish Times where he held a number of positions, including Education Correspondent and Media Correspondent.

Hannah-Louise Dunne

Hannah-Louise Dunne is Head of Content Partnerships at Core.

She has a background in journalism, broadcast and advertising and joined Core in 2014, following a 6-year-tenure with the Irish Daily Mail as Showbusiness Editor. In her role with Core agency, Radical, Hannah-Louise led creative content and digital strategy for clients across the public, private and charity sector going onto lead the team to win two global awards in the Content Marketing Awards in the US in 2017.
Since March 2018, she has worked across partnerships and through-the-line brand campaigns in Core as Head of Content Partnerships, leading strategic partnerships and creative projects for clients across Core’s media, creative and sponsorship practises.
She has served as a member of the Marketing Society’s inaugural Future Council, is an avid sea-swimmer and lectures in content marketing and social media for the Digital Marketing Institution in IBAT.
Hannah-Louise is passionate about communications, storytelling and the innovative ways digital channels offer to connect brands and audiences. She holds a degree in English and History from NUI Galway, an MA in Journalism from DCU and a PostGrad Diploma in Advertising & Digital Media from DIT.

Joe Breen

Joe Breen is a former managing editor (production, presentation and design) at the Irish Times. During 36 years at the newspaper he held a number of posts including chief-sub-editor, opinion page editor and duty editor. He was the launch editor of the online edition in 1994. After he left the newspaper, he graduated with a masters in media and international conflict from UCD’s Clinton Institute in 2011. He subsequently lectured on journalism at the institute and in DCU. He has contributed to a number of books on Irish media history and in 2018 he co-edited, with Dr Mark O’Brien, “The Sunday Papers - A History of Ireland’s Weekly Press” (Four Courts Press). He is a member of the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland. In a different life he has written extensively on popular music for more than 40 years.

Siobhan Cronin

Siobhan Cronin is the Editor of the Southern Star newspaper.

The Southern Star is a West Cork-based, family-owned media company encompassing print, digital and creative design functions.

Siobhan's 35 year careeer includes senior roles at the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, In Dublin magazine (editor), and several regional newspapers, including the Leitrim Observer, Longford News and Nationalist group of newspapers in Carlow and Kildare.

Miriam Donohoe

Miriam Donohoe has more than 30 years experience in journalism and communications, having worked across a wide variety of newspapers including The Irish Times, INM, the Irish Examiner, and the Sunday Tribune. She now works as a Head of Communications with Trocaire

Claire Grady

Claire Grady began her career as a journalist with the Mayo News, and worked on the Connaught Telegraph and the Tallaght Echo before joining Independent News and Media where she worked for almost 30 years.

She was a news reporter with both the Evening Herald and Irish Independent for over a decade and spent two years as a reporter with the Sunday Tribune before joining the the Irish Independent newsdesk under the editorship of the late Vinnie Doyle.
Claire was appointed Executive Editor of the Evening Herald in 2006, a role which included commissioning columnists and being opinion editor.
She was appointed editor of the Herald in 2012, and editor of the Irish Independent in 2013, a post she held for a year. She retains a keen interest in the production and presentation of news and is an occasional contributor to radio and television news review programmes.

Des Gibson

Des Gibson is former Editor of the Irish Daily Star and Head of Tabloids with INM. He is now owner and founder of Gibson Pro Media (GPM) Solutions

Claire O' Sullivan

Claire O’Sullivan is a recovering journalist who has been communications officer at Cork City Council for just over four years where she set up the local authority’s first communications unit. Her move into public sector communications follows over 20 years in print and broadcast journalism where she worked with the Irish Examiner, Evening Echo and earlier in her career as a freelance radio journalist with RTE.

Mick O’Keeffe

Mick O’Keeffe is Chief Executive of Teneo’s Irish office, the leading communications and advisory firm. Mick is a regular media analyst and contributes to national and local radio, national TV, magazines and newspapers in Ireland.
He holds a first class honours MA and a BA from UCD and a professional PR Qualification. Mick has completed both a Mini MBA at the Irish Management Institute, and completed the Chartered Director Programme at the Institute of Directors.
Mick has represented the Republic of Ireland in football at underage and universities level and Dublin in GAA at all levels including senior. He is a current member of the Dublin Football over 40s team!

Paddy Clancy

Paddy Clancy has held high executive positions in Irish and British national papers and radio. He was the Bureau Chief for The Irish Sun since its launch in Ireland, as well as going on to be a regular columnist for that paper and the Irish Mirror.
During a celebrated career, he has covered many major stories at home and abroad. He crossed what was regarded as the most dangerous 100 kilometres in Africa when President Mary Robinson was the first Western Head of State to enter war-ravaged Somalia and he also reported from Derry during Bloody Sunday in 1972.
He is also remembered as the presenter who brought his own distinctive style to RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland slot, What It Says In The Papers, for almost three decades.

Vicki Notaro

Vicki Notaro is the editor in chief of Ireland’s only glossy magazine for millennial women, STELLAR.
She is also Managing Director at VIP Publishing and oversees the brands, operations and editorial at Ireland’s largest magazine company, including the country’s biggest selling monthly VIP, weekly television and lifestyle title TVNow and the rebooted digital platform for teenage girls, KISS.
Previously, Notaro worked as a magazine editor at the Irish Independent and has been a freelance contributor to national titles both at home and abroad.

Jim Gray

Jim Gray is a retired journalist and editor with 40 years' experience in regional media in Ireland.
He began his career as a junior reporter with his hometown Sligo Champion before moving to the newly launched Sligo Journal, where he served as editor, and later working with the Roscomon Champion and Longford Leader.
He returned to the Sligo Champion in the mid-80s and finished his career there as Editor.
Jim was a regular contributor to RTE news, current affairs and sports programmes on both radio and television throughout his career.
He was twice named Journalist of the Year in the regional category of national media awards as well as winning awards in a number of specifically themed journalism schemes.

Allan Prosser

Allan Prosser retired this spring after 50 years in journalism during which he did every job on the publishing side of the business from junior reporter to managing director. He spent 16 years working in Ireland with the Irish Examiner, initially as a project manager, then as head of editorial operations before following Tim Vaughan as Editor in 2016.
Allan worked previously in B2B publications with United Business Media as Editor of Farmers Guardian; was digital publishing manager for Eastern Counties Newspapers Group (now Archant); MD of York and County Press and North of England Newspapers; Editorial Director of the Kent Messenger Group and Editor of The Northern Echo. He has also edited paid-for weeklies and free newspapers and magazines. He moved in May from Cork to Cambridge

Alana Fearon

Alana Fearon is a former journalist who started her Dublin career at the Irish Daily Star on Sunday, before moving to the Irish Daily Mirror. She was founding editor of Dublin Live before moving to Jamaica in 2017 where she was Head of Content Strategy for a family of breaking news websites across the Caribbean. She moved back to Ireland in August 2020 and is currently Head of Web and Digital at the Law Society of Ireland. The Journalism Awards were always a highlight of Alana's year, and she was twice nominated in her heyday!

Catherine Halloran

Following a 25 year career in journalism with newspapers such as The Kerryman and the Irish Daily Star, Catherine Halloran served as Deputy Government Press Secretary with the last government between 2016 and 2020. 

She currently works with the Higher Education Authority as Senior Manager (Communications).

Conall Ó Fátharta

Conall Ó Fátharta is an award-winning former journalist who worked as a Senior News Reporter with the Irish Examiner newspaper for more than a decade. He currently lectures in
Journalism at National University of Ireland, Galway. His work is primarily investigative in nature and focuses on Ireland's treatment of unmarried women and related practices–including forced and illegal adoption, infant trafficking, falsification of identities and records, medical and vaccine trials and infant mortality . He has also written extensively about Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and failings in the subsequent government redress scheme. He is currently undertaking a PhD in Media Studies as a Hume Scholar in Maynooth University.

David Diebold

David Diebold is a former features and magazine editor (1999-2009) and opinion/analysis editor (2009-2011) at Independent News and Media. Since then, he has written for the Irish Independent, Irish Daily Mail, Business Post, and The Herald, in which he wrote a weekly column for almost seven years. He was a finalist at the National Newspapers of Ireland, for Feature Writer of the Year, in 2011, and at the NewsBrand Ireland Awards, for Popular Columnist of the Year, in 2016. His writing featured in Press Gang: Tales from the Glory Days of Irish Newspapers (2015), and he is the author of This Is How We Dance (2019), and Diary of a Wimpy Dad (2021). A regular guest on national radio, he has been on The Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk), Ryan Tubridy Show, (RTE Radio 1), and Last Word (Today FM). He is now co-director of Monument Media Ltd, designers and publishers of books and magazines.

Donn O'Sullivan

Donn O'Sullivan, a Limerick native, has been in the media industry for nearly 20 years. He has held roles across multiple titles, such as Newspaper Manager, Sports Editor and is currently the Managing Editor of the Limerick Leader, part of the Iconic Media Group.

Emer O’Reilly-Hyland

Journalist Emer O’Reilly-Hyland writes on lifestyle, celebrity culture and life in general. As the former Editor at VIP magazine, where she reigned for almost ten years, Emer interviewed just about every celebrity in Ireland and more than a few international stars. Over the past few years Emer has contributed to many of our leading magazines, including Image and the Sunday Times Style and Culture magazines, and the weekend supplements with our national newspapers.

David Robbins

Dr. David Robbins is Assistant Professor at the School of Communications, DCU.
He previously worked at a senior level in the media in Ireland, for the Irish Times, Cara magazine and for various titles in Independent News and Media.

Jack White

A relative late-comer to journalism, Drogheda native Jack cut his teeth in local newspapers in the mid-1990s before joining the Irish Mail on Sunday (then Ireland on Sunday). He spent 20 years as a writer and Sports Editor, including a period as Sports Editor in Chief of the Irish Mail on Sunday and Irish Daily Mail before seeking a fresh challenge. Currently working with’s Communications and Knowledge department, he retains a keen interest in the newspaper industry as both a reader and a freelance contributor.

Johnny O’Hanlon

Johnny O’Hanlon is the recently retired Director of Local Ireland, the representative association for 43 regional weekly newspapers in Ireland. He held this position from January 2009 to January 2021. Prior to that he was Managing Editor of The Anglo Celt, the Cavan based newspaper of record since 1846.

Kathy Foley

Formerly a Sunday Times columnist and feature writer, Kathy Foley went on to work at both Twitter and Facebook. She now runs Hyphen, a content strategy and copywriting business with a blue-chip national and international client list.

Kieran Dineen

Kieran is part of RTÉ's Investigations Unit and was the reporter on Stuck in the Rough, a programme about the challenges facing Dublin's roughsleepers. Before that he was part of Prime Time after starting out in RTÉ in March 2019 with Morning Ireland. 
Kieran is very proud to have been shortlisted 5 times for NewsBrands Ireland awards while with the Irish Sun - and regrets never winning the coveted trophy despite entering as many entries in as many categories as possible. 
He did manage to win two Justice Media Certificates of Merit, in 2017 and 2019, while working as the Irish Sun's Public Affairs Correspondent.
Before that, Kieran worked for the Irish Daily Mail as a reporter following a six-year stint in Cork's Echo, starting out as a sub-editor before becoming a reporter and Education Correspondent. Kieran studied Journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology and completed a Masters in Government in UCC.

Linda O'Reilly

Linda O'Reilly is the Editor of The Anglo-Celt newspaper in County Cavan – part of the Celtic Media Group.
A graduate of journalism in DCU, Linda has worked in media for more than 20 years in both newspapers and radio, national and local.
She joined The Anglo-Celt in 2008 as news editor. Just a year later she made history by becoming the youngest female editor in Irish local newspapers at the age of 29.
She has led her team through numerous changes, including the transformation of the Celt from a broadsheet to a modern, new compact edition newspaper.
Linda has also driven the delivery of multi-platform digital news across web and social media channels, while reinforcing the Celt’s core journalism values.

Michael Denieffe

Michael Denieffe, Former Group Managing Editor, Independent News and Media

Múirne Laffan

NED & Strategic Advisor
Múirne Laffan has a global track record building teams, products, brands and revenues in News, Sport & Entertainment at RTÉ and McCann Worldgroup. She now sits on several boards, is working with several start-ups on product and business strategy, including Noa (NewsOverAudio).
She started her career in advertising in London, joined RTÉ as GM, RTÉ Commercial Enterprises Limited, in 2001. She subsequently worked as MD of RTÉ Publishing MD of RTÉ Digital and was was member of the executive board, becoming Chief Digital Officer in 2015. Prior to RTÉ, Múirne was SVP, Director of Worldwide Clients at McCann-Erickson in New York, set up McCann Interactive and was a founding executive board member of UM, one of the world’s largest media agencies..
Múirne has been included in the top 50 Global CDO Influencers, 100 Women in STEM, Women of Influence in Irish Sport, Ad Age Media Innovators and was Chair of the EBU Digital Steering Committee. She is Chair of TV Committee and Board member of the Irish Television & Film Academy, Board member of the Digital Repository of Ireland and of Drinkaware. Múirne is a graduate of TU Dublin’s College of Marketing & Design and Trinity College Dublin.

Paddy Smyth

Paddy Smyth is a former Washington and Brussels Correspondent of the Irish Times. He also served as the paper’s Foreign Editor and Chief Leader Writer,  and was national newspapers representative on the Press Council.

Stephen Kisbey-Green

Stephen Kisbey-Green is a freelance journalist, specialising in sports reporting and sports photography, currently freelancing at Off The Ball. He was previously the youngest Sports Editor in the history of Grocott's Mail in South Africa, and most recently was the Co-Editor of UCD's leading student newspaper, The College Tribune. Kisbey-Green has experience in not only print media production, design and printing, but also in online journalism and video editing and production.

Tom Felle

Tom Felle is Head of Journalism at NUI Galway. A former career journalist and foreign correspondent, his research focuses on digital news, in particular data-driven journalism, verification of so-called ‘fake news’, innovation, audience development, and growth. He worked for a decade as a reporter covering politics, and as a regional correspondent at the Irish Independent (Dublin); as Bureau Chief of the Leb News Agency (Beirut); and as Deputy Editor of The Irish Echo (Sydney). He has edited, and is author of, a number of books and is currently working with the UN migration agency, IOM, on a project to counter disinformation.

Tony O’Brien

Tony O’Brien is the former award-winning Environment Correspondent of Independent Newspapers. He worked for 20 years for the group having started his journalism career with The People in his native Wexford.
Over the years, Tony covered many of the key emerging environment issues, including planning, transport, water, energy and local government. He was winner of the first Transport Journalist of the Year award presented by the Chartered Institute of Transport.
As well as a wide experience of national and local media, Tony has also forged a successful career in Public Relations working with clients such as Ticketmaster, Wicklow County Council, EirGrid, the Irish Planning Institute, Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance”, Wexford County Council and others.

Catriona Loughran

Catriona Loughran is VP of Communications for Hurtigruten Group, one of the world's leading expedition cruise companies. 
She is based in Oslo, Norway. 
Catriona previously worked in various communications roles in the humanitarian sector: as Global Media Adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council and Media Relations Manager for Concern Worldwide. 
A journalist at heart, she worked for the Impartial Reporter newspaper in Co. Fermanagh before moving to the Irish Daily Star where she covered breaking news and entertainment.

Colette Sexton

Colette Sexton is a communications consultant with a background in journalism and politics. Prior to moving into communications, she worked as political correspondent with The Times, Ireland Edition and news correspondent for The Business Post. She edited the Media and Marketing section of the Business Post for years, and hosted its Media Matters podcast. She also worked as a sub-editor for The Irish Daily Mail and The Hull Daily Mail. Originally from Co. Clare, she holds a first class honours masters in journalism from NUI Galway and a first class honours degree in history and politics from the University of Limerick.

Colm MacGinty

Colm MacGinty is the retired Editor of the Sunday World

Gary O’ Shea

Gary O’ Shea worked for a range of Irish titles before moving to Fleet Street in 2002. He was a staff news reporter on The Sun from 2004-2020 before moving into PR and is now a Senior Director at the Rhizome Media Group specialising in finance and real estate.

Grace Aungier

Grace Aungier was Chief Executive of Magazines Ireland for 19 years. A graduate of UCD, she started her career with the Sunday Tribune and then moved to Image Publications where she was Group Advertising Director.

Heidee Kealy

Heidee Kealy is Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement for the Charities Regulator. Prior to joining public service, she worked as a senior editorial journalist in national media for 17 years. She has an MA in Art in the Contemporary World (ACW), a BA in Visual Culture (Hons), Higher Diplomas in both Journalism and Graphic Design and a Diploma in Digital Marketing and Social Media. This is the fourth time Heidee has taken part in judging for the Newsbrands Journalism Awards

John Kierans

John Kierans is the former Editor in Chief of Mirror Newspaper Group, Ireland

Kelly Fincham

Kelly is the director of the global media and communication MA programme at National University Ireland Galway and also lectures in journalism (social media) in the undergraduate and graduate programmes with a focus on social and digital journalism and media theory. 
Kelly is the founding editor of IrishCentral. com, the industry-leading U.S.-based Irish web site and has more than 25 years of senior editorial experience in both print and online media in both Ireland and New York.
Before switching to digital in 2000, and then academia in 2008, she worked at international newspaper titles including the Australian Financial Review (Fairfax) and Sydney Telegraph (News International) in Sydney; the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent and Evening Herald in Ireland and the Irish Voice newspaper and Irish America magazine in New York.

Patrick Fagan

Patrick Fagan started work subbing with the Irish Star in 2005 and moved to the Irish Sun in 2006, where he later became Head of Publishing and then Assistant Editor. He left newspapers in 2020 to take over a gourmet corner shop, and has found a sometimes reluctant new home for his puns on Instagram.

Rachael Kane

Having earned a BA Degree in Journalism and Media Communications, Rachael worked with The Irish Field newspaper before joining the Irish Daily Star, where she worked for over 10 years as a news reporter and features writer. Her claim to fame will always be a nomination for Scoop Of The Year for a story involving a live kangaroo on ecstasy in a Dublin nightclub.  
In 2018, Rachael joined Paddy Power as their PR and Mischief Champion

Declan Varley

Declan Varley has been Group Editor of the Galway Advertiser since 2001. Prior to that, he worked as a senior journalist with the Tuam Herald where he won a European Regional Journalist Award in 1998. He has also won four Golden Quill Golden Dozen Awards for the excellence of his weekly editorials from the Internatioanal Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

Tom McEnaney

Tom McEnaney has over 20 years’ experience as a reporter, editor, columnist and broadcaster with a number of Irish national newspapers and radio stations.

Until 2019 he was a weekly business columnists with The Times Ireland, having previously been a business columnist with the Irish editions of both The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday. He is the former business editor of both the Irish Independent and the Sunday Times Ireland. His other print roles include deputy editor of Business & Finance Magazine, business reporter with the Sunday Tribune, property editor of the Sunday Tribune, and business reporter with the Irish Times.

Tom established the Sunday Business Show on Today FM, which he both presented and edited. He also a former presenter of both Down to Business and the Breakfast Business on Newstalk.

Tom currently works as a corporate media consultant with McEnaney Media