School of Communications - news and events

News and Events

Students win media awards

April 2006 – Students of journalism and multimedia in the School of Communications won five awards at the Smedias (student media) event in Dublin, and multimedia student Will Devine was a three-time winner.

Will was part of the team with Peter Linnemann, Riona Ni Brolchain, Ruaidhri Devery and Siofra Ni Chiardha, who won the prize for TV production of the year. He and Ruaidhri Devery won the award for web designer of the year, and Will was also named Fuji photographer of the year.

Journalism student Amy Rose Harte won the prize for radio production – arts and features, multimedia student and her final-year class mates Amy Breen and Lisa McCaghy won the award for TV journalist of the year.

The nominations for other prizes included: Peter Linnemann for travel writer, Will Devine for news photographer, and journalism students Kevin Sheeky for editor of the year and for features writer – news and current affairs, Martin Crummy for journalist of the year (national press), Neil Brennan for short story, Alan Flanagan for film script, and Laura Whitmore for magazine of society publication

Features award commemorates graduate

April 2006 - The School of Communications and the Sunday Tribune are collaborating on the Roberta Gray Features Award, established in memory of journalist Roberta Gray, a graduate of DCU and former Sunday Tribune columnist and feature writer, who died earlier this year. The award will be presented for a feature written in the personal manner practised by Roberta Gray during her tragically short career in journalism. The award-winner will have their feature published in the Sunday Tribune, and will receive a cash prize of €500 and a certificate. The competition is open to students in DCU School of Communications, where Roberta Gray studied in 2001-2002. The closing date for entries is 31 May and the award will be presented in late June.

Voluntary press regulation urged

March 2006 - DCU’s School of Communications hosted a public symposium on 30 March, at which Tim Toulmin, Director of the UK Press Complaints Commission (PCC) was the principal speaker. Journalists, editors, industry representatives and media critics were among those who debated the issues he raised. Mr Toulmin’s visit came just days before the Minister for Justice presented proposed new legislation on defamation and a press council to government.
Mr Toulmin told the DCU symposium that the PCC receives thousands of complaints each year, but resolves the vast majority without the need for formal adjudication. Where some have seen this as aisng of the PCC's weakness, Mr Toulmin said the "silent" work was a mark of the commission's strength. Mr Toulmin said the voluntary support for the commission from the newspaper industry gave it credibility that a statutory council or commission might not have
These claims, and others, were keenly debated at the meeting which was addressed by School of Communications graduates, Senator Kathleen O’Meara and Simon Bourke, journalist and DCU researcher), and Sunday Tribune editor, Nóirín Hegarty. Others who contributed were representatives of the National Newspapers of Ireland, National Union of Journalists, Periodical Publishers Association of Ireland and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism. Professor Colum Kenny chaired the symposium.
See Tim Toulmin's speech here

First Science in Society seminar

The Biosciences and Society group, based in the School of Communications, hosted a research seminar on science in society, probably the first of its kind to be staged in Ireland. The seminar examined contemporary science/society relations and issues within ethical, educational, historical, social-theoretical, attitudinal, policy-making and other frameworks. Presentations were given by PhD researchers from NUI colleges in Cork, Dublin and Galway, and from DCU. There were also contributions from established academics in TCD and UCC.
Further information from

Two new books

October 2005 - Associate professor Colum Kenny has published a collection of essays with Gill and Macmillan, under the title, Moments That Changed Us. The book recalls a series of events which, together, mark the depth of social and cultural change in Ireland. The material is ordered by themes: Mother and Child (including education, school beatings, working mums); Violence (including the vanished, random attacks and atrocities); Rituals (including drugs, sport, religion). Other themes are Sexual Relations, Scandals, Politics, Society, Lifestyle and Culture.

The Irish Media Directory and Guide 2006 is edited by School of Communications graduate Helen Shaw, and also published by Gill and Macmillan with Athena Media. Helen Shaw and post-doctoral researcher Mark O'Brien contributed most of the chapters that offer summaries of trends and developments in particular media sectors. Former research associate Aphra Kerr contributed another. Professor John Horgan wrote the foreword, and PhD researchers Eve Merton and Declan Fahy compiled and edited the extensive listings of organisations in and around the media.

Researcher awarded government fellowship

April 2005 - Dr Mark O’Brien, a lecturer and researcher in the School of Communications, has been awarded a Government of Ireland postdoctoral fellowship from the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences to work on a study of The Irish Times. Working under the supervision of Professor John Horgan, Dr O’Brien will examine memoirs, personal papers, archives, company records and the newspaper’s own coverage to construct a definitive history of the evolving place of The Irish Times in Irish society. Dr O’Brien is co-editor, with Dr Mary Corcoran, of the recently published book, Political Censorship and the democratic state – the Irish broadcasting ban (Four Courts Press, 2005).

School to host research conference

April 2005 - The School of Communications will co-host with School of Media, Dublin Institute of Technology, the first all-Ireland media research conference at DCU on 17 June 2005. Power, Trust and Ethics will hear research presentations by academic staff and postgraduate students from DCU, DIT, University of Limerick, University of Ulster, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Business School, St Patrick's College and Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology. Visitors from abroad include Professor Robert Savage, Boston College, and the keynote address will be given by Professor James Curran, Goldsmiths College, London. To register for the conference, send your details to The delegate fee is €60 (students, €25). Go here to the outline programme.

See here for further conference details.


Graduates to exhibit in Chicago

April 2005 - Graduates of the School’s BSc in Multimedia have been invited to present their project work at a high-prestige digital media event in Chicago, USA, in June 2005. They will be the only Irish representatives at the NextFest fair, and among the very few student groups, alongside the commercial companies exhibiting there. The graduates’ work, Blowaway: The Winds of Therslow, is a collaborative computer game that uses an innovative physical interface. The group was previously invited to present its work at the Europrix Multimedia Top Talent Awards, in Vienna, in November 2004. NextFest is organized by Wired magazine and funded by GE to demonstrate the technologies of the future.

School lecturer receives research award

February 2005 - Dr Colum Kenny, a senior lecturer in the School of Communications, received the 2004 President’s Research Award in Humanities and Social Sciences at a ceremony in DCU on 1 February. The award was made for Dr Kenny’s wide-ranging achievements in legal history, local history and media policy. Colum Kenny has been a full-time member of staff in the School of Communications since its establishment, teaching broadcasting for undergraduate and postgraduate students during all of that time.

In the past twelve years he has published six books in cultural and historical studies, with a seventh due to be published next year, as well as a book on peace studies and a collection of poetry. He is widely acknowledged as an expert on the history of Irish legal institutions. He has contributed to two European surveys on media concentration and was a member of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (formerly Irish Radio and Television Commission) for a five-year term.

Colum Kenny’s exploration of the public issues surrounding the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield – Fearing Sellafield (2003) - was commended by environmentalists and engineers alike for its even-handed approach.

Dr Kenny has also pursued a particular interest in matters of conflict and reconciliation and has been a member of the council of the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation for some years. He received a DCU Teaching and Learning Fellowship last year, on the strength of which he is investigating innovative course content and structures in belief and communication.

See DCU news story on President’s Research Awards.

See also Colum Kenny’s speech of acceptance of the award.

Staff member publishes new book on TV drama

June 2004 - A new study of Irish television drama, The Continuing Story of Irish Television Drama: tracking the tiger, has been published this month. It is written by Dr Helena Sheehan, of the School of Communications, and is a sequel to Dr Sheehan's original study, Irish Television Drama, which appeared in 1987.
That book traced 25 years (1962-87) of social change as reflected in the television drama of the period. This latest book takes the story forward another 15 years (1987-2002). From Fair City to Family to Father Ted, it examines television drama in the time of the Celtic tiger, as it sought to come to terms with Ireland’s position in an increasingly globalized world.

Dr Sheehan is a senior lecturer in the School of Communications and the author of Marxism and the philosophy of science (1985, 1993). She teaches courses in television drama, history of ideas, media studies and philosophical perspectives on science. See her web page here

Research opportunities announced

May 2004 - The School of Communications at Dublin City University is inviting applications for postgraduate research degrees for the 2004-2005 academic year. M.A. and Ph.D. applications are considered from both full-time and part-time applicants

Research interests and activities in the School of Communications cover a wide variety of topics, and the School invites, in particular, applications in the following areas :

digital media and information society
media history, policy and structures
analysis and critique of media content (including film)
communication across cultures
journalism and conflict in Ireland
science in society
Further details of individual staff members’ research interests can be seen in Staff Details.

The School of Communications at Dublin City University has a number of scholarships (including fees) for full-time postgraduate research students starting in the academic year 2004-2005. The deadline for submissions for these scholarships is 24 June 2004.

Queries: Dr Roddy Flynn, Research Convenor, School of Communications, DCU;

Journalism graduates debate media trust

May 2004 - Over 80 graduates and staff of the School of Communications attended a Media Round Table at DCU on 4 May on the theme, Do the Media Deserve the Public’s Trust? A panel of invited speakers kicked off the discussion
that ranged over issues of commercial competition, concentration of ownership, media conflicts of interest, media distancing from their audiences and the “tyranny of immediacy”.
The panel comprised: Bob Collins, former director-general Radio Telefis Éireann, Marianne Peters, University of Utrecht, Christ Frost, John Moores University, Liverpool, and chair of the NUJ's Ethics Council, Senator Kathleen O’Meara, Professor John Horgan, DCU, and Brian Trench, Head of School of Communications. Among the graduates who took part were reporters, correspondents and editors from all branches of the media in Ireland, as well as publicists and media analysts. The graduates came mainly from the School’s postgraduate programme in journalism, whose first graduates were conferred 21 years ago. Many of them later volunteered to give guest lectures, take part in informal meetings on media themes, or to provide mentoring support to new graduates.
This networking scheme will be extended later to graduates of other School of Communications programmes. Any graduate interested to take part should contact

Journalism students win Media Awards

April 2004 - Students from the School of Communications scooped two of the awards in the recent Bank of Ireland Student Media Awards.

Ian Kehoe won the Journalist of the Year award for his work with the Sunday Business Post. Ian was also one of the DCU team that won the Irish Times Inter-Varsity debating trophy and will be travelling to the United States to take part in debates.

The award for Best Magazine or Society Publication went to DCU’s Flashback, produced by third-year journalism students Ken Griffin, Shane Leavy, Arsheen Qasim, Marguerite McGrath and Diana Rusk.

Staff member publishes two research reports on technology in

April 2004 - Dr Miriam Judge has had two evaluations of schools technology projects published. Final Evaluation of Wired for Learning in Ireland and Building a Networked Educational Community were launched by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Dermot Ahern td at St Joseph's National School in Dundalk during an informal EU ministerial meeting on broadband.

The research was commissioned by IBM and the National Centre for Technology In Education to evaluate the impact of the Wired for Learning public-private partnership project between IBM and the Department of
Education and Science. At the launch, IBM general manager for Ireland Michael Daly highlighted the importance of research and evaluation for IBM's educational projects and thanked Dr Judge for her dedication to the task and commended the high quality of her research.

Libel research report published

April 2004 - The School of Communications has published a report on the impact of current libel laws on Irish newspaper journalism. The report by Simon Bourke is based on the dissertation he wrote as a student of the MA in Journalism. Simon works as a sub-editor in a national newspaper in Dublin.

The report details over 70 libel cases taken to or through the courts in recent years and analyses the main categories of litigant. It also provides the results of a survey of Irish journalists on their experience of dealing with the libel laws.

For more information, see the DCU press release.

Copies of the report can be had from Mary Nulty, School of Communications, tel. 7005220;

Four more PhDs awarded

March 2004 - Five research degrees – four PhDs and one MA - were awarded this month to researchers attached to the School of Communications. At the March conferring, doctoral degrees were awarded to:

* Stephanie Rains for a study of aspects of Irish-American culture
* Rosemarie Day for a thesis on community radio
* Maeve Connolly for research on Irish film
* Theresa Breathnach for a study of visitor attractions, specifically Wicklow Gaol

A Masters degree was awarded to Breda O’Brien for a study of media relations in Irish churches and mosque.

RTÉ analysed in global perspective

January 2004 - A new book by Farrel Corcoran, professor in the School of Communications, examines in detail how RTÉ is coping with the demands and pressures of the national marketplace, the public sphere, and the global media industries. Professor Corcoran brings to his analysis the experience of several decades of academic analysis of mass media and five intense years as chairman of the RTÉ Authority. His critical inquiry into globalisation and its effects in national media is made vivid with anecdotes and illustrations from his period inside RTÉ and from other sources. To the general reader with an interest in the media, he provides some insights into how an institution like RTÉ works. To the academic reader with an interest in how theory matches impirical reality, he provides material for testing and developing critical analysis. Professor Corcoran describes RTÉ failures as well as successes and leaves his judgement open as to whether RTÉ can continue to be a viable and valuable public service broadcaster.
RTÉ and the Globalisation of Irish Television by Farrel Corcoran, is published by Intellect Books in their Cultural Studies series –

Magazine special features School contributions

December 2003 - The winter 2003 issue of the art magazine, Circa, is a special edition on Art and Film edited by School of Communications film studies lecturer Stephanie McBride. The edition contains features by Maeve Connolly, whose thesis was recently approved for award of a PhD in the School, by new media lecturer James Armstrong, who writes on Jean Cocteau, and by
PhD researcher Orla Ryan, writing on ‘found footage’ as used in art.
For more, see

School submission on defamation and Press Council

December 2003 - The School of Communications has submitted to the Department of Justice a commentary on the report of the Legal Advisory Group on Defamation. Senior staff members of the School, professor John Horgan, Colum Kenny and Brian Trench, took an active part in the department’s consultative conference on the same topic on Monday, 1st December.
The School submission recommends that the section within the proposed Defamation Bill that deals with a statutory press council be removed, in order to allow the proposals for reform of the libel laws to go the Dáil and Seanad, and to allow discussion and negotiation on the structure and operations of a press council to continue in parallel.

The submission commends most of the proposed changes in the libel laws. But it disagrees strongly with the Legal Advisory Group on the subject of a press council. The School makes a novel proposal for a two-phase approach to this issue. In the first phase, press publishers, unions and other interested parties would establish a press ombudsman and press council on a voluntary basis. If, after five years, this is generally found to have been inadequate or unsatisfactory, either changes would be made to the structure, or a press ombudsman and appeals board would be established within the public service.

The full text of the submission can be found here.

DCU project wins Europrix award

November 2003 - A project on autism prepared by students of the MSc in Multimedia at Dublin City University has won one of the leading European multimedia awards.

Savant, as the project is called, explores artistically the world experienced by those with autism. It is presented in a highly sophisticated graphic form.

Savant received the Europrix Top Talent award for an offline/ DVD project at a ceremony in Vienna, Austria, last weekend. The award carries a cash prize of €10,000, plus equipment.

The award citation notes that the project treats autism "not as a disability, but as a different and unique mode of being", and that its "excellent use of multimedia transposes users into the special states of the autistic mind."

The creators of the Savant project, David Coyle, Damian Polly, Deirdre Molloy, Mark Matthews, Oonagh Casey and Sinead Stafford, were students of the Masters in Multimedia in the School of Communications in 2002-2003.

Further details at

First BSc in Multimedia graduates

November 2003 - The first-ever graduates of the BSc in Multimedia received their degrees this month. The forty-three graduates are the first students in the state to receive such a degree. All of them have had valuable working experience with companies outside the university, or with departments inside the university, as part of their education. Several of the final-year projects of the BSc students were exhibited as part of Nexus, the School of Communications Mutlimedia Exhibition, that ran at the Helix 6-8 November.

PhD graduates

November 2003 - Four people received PhD degrees through the School of Communications this month, representing the highest number of such awards through Communications at one conferring.

NoelleAnne O'Sullivan received her doctorate for a study of telecommunications regulation and policy.

Sean Phelan was awarded a doctorate for his work on neo-liberal policy discourses. Sean is now a lecturer in the Department of Communication and Journalism, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.

Anthony Cawley received his PhD for work on innovation in multimedia industries in Ireland. Anthony is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Society Technology and Media (STeM), in the School of Communications, DCU.

Giovanni Manfreda was awarded his doctorate for work on the influences of the 1960s on the collective imagination of western contemporary popular culture.