DCU graduate received the top award and a sum of €1,000 at the recent Bursary Awards of the Press Council of Ireland for students of media, journalism and communications.
Conor McCrave, a graduate of the MA in Journalism programme in DCU, was honoured by Chairman of the Press Council, Sean Donlon, for a series of five articles he wrote on the topics of foster and residential care in Ireland.
“I was inspired to start writing and researching the topic when I heard advocates speaking about the issue on the radio. The overview of the situation and the difficulties facing the many children was an eye opener for me,” McCrave said when asked why he took an interest in the story.
“As a result, I investigated the issue further and found that the system was basically crumbling, leaving nearly 6,000 children in great difficulty. I felt I needed to promote awareness.”
The Irish Independent journalist saw the Bursary Awards as a great opportunity to showcase his pieces and highlight the key issues affecting foster and residential care in Ireland today.
The type of investigative journalism sought by the judging panel in the Press Council of Ireland was seen in line with the work McCrave produced in his series of stories.
“I read the criteria for the Bursary Awards and saw a great opportunity to get my findings out there. The panel seek journalism that represents public interests and affairs. My main objective was to portray the current situation as it is, I am just fortunate that my findings were viewed favourably in terms of winning the top prize.”
McCrave praised DCU’s School of Communications’ programmes in Journalism for equipping him and many other young journalists with the appropriate skill set to be able to be in contention for such prestigious awards.
“In compiling my research into the stories, I used most of the skills I learned while being a School of Communications student in DCU. I applied skills I acquired across various modules, such as those in research and critical thinking to enable me to search in the right places and speak to the right people on the topic.”
“The most satisfying aspect of compiling the information was talking to people on the issue. I enjoyed listening to the stories of people with real life experience with the system and how it has impacted their lives.”
McCrave will continue to research and write stories on the issue of residential and foster care in Ireland. He is currently investigating a recent report on foster care released by EPIC, an advocacy group for people with care experience.
By James Nolan