Ireland’s Guild of Agricultural Journalists announced the overall winner of the 2020 Guild of Agricultural Journalism Awards as farming newspaper, Irish Farmers Journal for a three-week investigative series which ran in July 2020. The feature series explored the corporate structures behind ABP Food Group. The investigation was the first time detailed financial information on the profits, asset values and corporate structure within the ABP Group was published in the public domain in Ireland and was selected by an independent judging panel of industry and media experts as the overall winner from a shortlist of 30 entries.
Commenting on the winning entry, chair of the judging panel Johnny O’Hanlon, Director of Local Ireland said, “While this has been an extraordinarily difficult year, it certainly didn’t deter the enthusiasm of journalists and industry communicators, judging by the volume of entries received across all categories and that the judges were struck by the high categories of entries across the categories.
“On this year’s judging panel, I was joined by Karina Pierce, Anna Marie McHugh, Richard Wright and Declan Malone. We enjoyed plenty of lively discussion and debate to reach agreement on the shortlist of entries across each of the categories. Indeed, the liveliness intensified when it came to agreeing the category winners and reached a crescendo when it came to the arduous decision of who would be awarded the prestigious and much coveted Bull.”
The awards, which are held every two years and supported by FBD Insurance, aim to encourage excellence in the coverage of farming, food and rural life on the island of Ireland.
Chair of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists, Amy Forde said, “As chair of the southern section I was delighted to see over 200 entries for this year’s awards, with best news article and best feature article attracting almost 90 entries between them. To reflect the year, we also introduced two new categories – best COVID reporting and best COVID communications – acknowledging how we as communicators had a very important role to play. Rising Star is another new category which was added as the Guild wished to recognise those that will take the industry forward.
“We are incredibly grateful to our judging panel who had a mammoth task in both selecting the shortlist and the overall winners. I would like to thank FBD for thier support once again, I would like to commend all of those who entered our awards for doing your part in encouraging healthy competition and promoting excellence in the reporting of agricultural and rural issues year round.”
John Cahalan, Chief Sales Officer, FBD Insurance plc added, “I’m delighted to virtually support and celebrate the 2020 Guild of Agricultural Journalism awards. FBD is proud of our longstanding relationship and sponsorship of this event, which celebrates excellence in agricultural journalism. In a world with so much information and misinformation surrounding us on a daily basis, never before has there been a greater need to support, recognise and reward quality journalism. It is very positive to note, with the high number of submissions, that this competition continues to go from strength to strength.”
The awards also featured an address by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, who said, “To be recognised by your peers as being the best in any field is something that professionals strive for their entire career but only a few can achieve. To win an award of this nature is a tremendous achievement.
“I am heartened by the state of the agricultural media at present – storytelling is needed more than ever and to have such a depth of talent in the sector can only be good for us as consumers of media. I congratulate all involved in the Guild of Agricultural Journalists Awards 2020 and I extend a special word of note to all the winners.”
The overall winners in each category were announced as follows:
Best news article
Over 28,000ac of farmland controlled by vulture funds – Hannah Quinn-Mulligan, Irish Farmers Journal
Best visual report
Cashel Mart – Paula Williams & Helen Carroll, Indiepics – Ear to the Ground
Best feature article
Larry Goodman’s finances – a three-week investigative series – Lorcan Allen & Hannah Quinn-Mulligan, Irish Farmers Journal
Best audio report
Potato harvest – Fran McNulty, RTÉ
Best technical article
Natural capital – Odile Evans, Irish Farmers Journal
Best COVID reporting
COVID-19 virus knows no borders – Michael Fisher, The Northern Standard
Best targeted campaign
ABP Angus youth challenge Northern Ireland – MF Communication
Best COVID communications
Certified Irish Angus repositioning campaign in the year of COVID – Gemma Smyth Communications
Wild Atlantic – Valerie O’Sullivan
Hannah Quinn-Mulligan, Irish Farmers Journal