The National Student Media Awards (Smedias) is fast approaching! Previous judges of these awards have spotted Irish students who would go on work for some Ireland’s prestigious media platforms.  

The Smedias is a ceremony held every year to celebrate the best in Irish student media. Submissions are judged by people from the most influential platforms in the country such as The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Examiner, TG4, RTÉ, Today FM and many more.

Previous winners of the National Student Media Awards have gone on to work for platforms such as RTÉ, Newstalk FM, 98FM, Spin1038, The Irish Examiner and Today FM. Here’s some of the previous winners and the many awards they scooped on the night of the awards:

2004 Smedias Winner 

Name: Samantha Libreri 

Year: 2004

Winner of: Newspaper of the Year & Editor of the Year (Winner of 6 awards) 

College: UCD

Where are they now? While undergoing her studies at UCD, Samantha Libreri began her career as a news assistant for RTE in 2000. In 2005, she was hired as a journalist for RTE and to this day Samantha continues to work as a journalist for Ireland’s public service broadcaster. Samantha’s career at RTE has grown from strength to strength and she can be seen reporting regularly on RTE News as well as writing articles for RTE online.

2008 Smedias Winner 

Name: Andrea Gilligan 

Year: 2008

Winner of: Headline Award for Journalism relating to mental health and suicide prevention. Andrea’s winning entry titled ‘The long day is over’. 

College: NUIG 

Judge: Carl O’Brien, Chief Reporter with the Irish Times

Where are they now? Andrea is currently a radio presenter with Newstalk and has her own radio programme ‘Lunchtime Live with Andrea Gilligan’ (12-2pm). She started her career at Newstalk in 2013 as a freelance broadcast journalist/reporter. Throughout her years working at Newstalk, she has had a number of positions such as the Newsroom Duty Editor/Reporter with the Pat Kenny Show (2015), presenter of Newstalk’s Sunday Morning current affairs show ‘Between the lines’ (8-9am) in January 2018, and presenter of Newstalk’s daily morning news programme ‘Breakfast Briefing’ (September 2018).  

2010 Smedias Winner 

Name: Colm Flynn 

Year: 2010

Winner of: TV Production, ‘Chernobyl Children’

College: IT Tallaght 

Judge: Samantha Libreri 

Where are they now? Host/Reporter for BBC World Service/ RTE. Colm travels the world covering fascinating stories for BBC, RTE, EWTN as well as other networks. Previously presented the ‘Big Weekend’ on ClareFM, and recorded RTE Nationwide specials in New York, London, and Australia. 

2012 Smedias Winner

Name: Barry Lenihan 

Year: 2012

Winner of: Radio- News and Current Affairs 

College: DCU 

Where are they now? Barry started working for RTE at the age of 21 in May 2013, the day after finishing his journalism degree at DCU. Barry has reported right across the RTE schedule from Morning Ireland, Drivetime, the main evening news and current affairs programmes on RTE Radio One. Barry travels around the world to report on global affair issues.

2012 Smedias Winner

Name: Darren Regan 

Year: 2012

Winner of: Radio DJ of the Year & Radio Production of the Year (Arts/Features) 

College: DCU 

Where are they now? Darren is currently a radio presenter, music director and assistant program director at Spin1038.

2013 Smedias Winner 

Name: Rebecca Shekleton 

Year: 2013

Winner of: Radio DJ of the Year 

College: DIT 

Where are they now? Rebecca currently works as a breakfast radio presenter for ‘98fm’s Big Breakfast with Rebecca and Brendan’. She started her career at 98fm in 2016 as head of social media and digital content with previous experience as a station voice for FRQ FM and a radio presenter for Spin 1038.   

Smedias Winner 2013/14 

Name: Stephen Barry 

Year: 2013/2014

Winner of: Sportswriter of the Year (Both in 2013/14)

College: UCC 

Where are they now? Stephen started his career as a digital reporter for the Irish Examiner. Currently, Stephen works as a sports reporter for the Irish Examiner.

Smedias Winner 2014 

Name: Graham O’Toole

Year: 2014 

Winner of: Radio DJ of the Year 

College: DIT Aungier Street 

Where are they now? Graham currently works as a presenter for Spin 1038’s ‘Fully Charged’ with Nathan O’Reilly. ‘Fully Charged’ won Radio Moment of the Year Award at the IMROs for interviewing Matt Damon on their talk show, when he stayed in Dalkey during Ireland’s first lockdown in March 2020. Graham has also made a few TV appearances on Virgin Media’s ‘Elaine Show’. He also produces and is the host of his own podcast ‘The Split Season’ which has hit No.1 on the iTunes podcast chart. The podcast follows five inter-county players embarking on a season like no other, as they work and train during a pandemic.

Smedias Winner 2014/15

Name: Sean Defoe

Year: 2014/2015

Winner of: Radio Journalist of the Year (2014) & Radio DJ of the Year & RSA Award (2015)

College: DCU

Where are they now? Sean is a political correspondent for Communicorp stations Newstalk, Today FM, 98FM, Spin 1038 and Spin South-West. He also provides content to a large network of Irish local radio stations. Sean started his career in 2013 as a broadcast journalist for Beat 102-103 and went onto to become Station Manager and Head of News for DCUfm in 2014.

Submissions for this year’s Smedias open on March 1st and close on April 22nd. Now is the time to consider what you submit to be among these prestigious previous winners.

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