Irish News Young News Readers project scoops all-Ireland marketing award

A WINNING READ: The Irish News Young News Readers project scooped a prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Ireland Marketing Award. Pictured (from left) are Gráinne McCaffrey (Irish News marketing assistant), Karen Hoey (CBI NI), guest editor Annette Kelly (Little Penny Thoughts), Prof Peter Finn (St Mary's University College), John Brolly (Irish News marketing manager) and Niamh Hamill (Irish News marketing assistant)
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE Irish News' innovative Young News Readers project, which promotes the concept of critical literacy among students at dozens of schools across the north, has scooped a prestigious all-Ireland business award.

The initiative won the Best Corporate Social Responsibility at the Chartered Institute of Marketing's (CIM) Ireland Marketing Awards, held virtually.

The award recognises the effective harnessing of an organisation's influence to deliver a positive social or environmental change. Whether a one-off campaign or sustained approach, entries had to demonstrate how responsible business practice was at the heart of the organisation.

The judges said of the Irish News campaign: “This entry offered a succinct and valuable CSR proposition – to improve literary skills in schools.

“The range of ongoing collaborative partnerships showed a strong commitment to the CSR goal and the enduring legacy will benefit many school pupils in years to come.”

All-island businesses EY and Ulster Bank joined lobby body CBI NI this year in throwing their corporate weight behind the Young News Readers initiative, which is run in partnership with the Irish News and St Mary's University College in Belfast.

More than 9,000 pupils from 100-plus schools took part last year, involving young students in Key Stages 2 and 3, who were offered eight weeks of activities that also introduce them to newspapers.

The YNR initiative ( has been widely adopted by teachers as an excellent way of developing literacy levels in children by introducing them to the world around them using trusted news sources.

Irish News marketing manager John Brolly said: “We're thrilled to finish the year with this excellent news at winning the CIM Ireland Marketing Award.

“It was so uplifting to see over 9,000 pupils take part in the St Mary's University College literacy initiative earlier this year at a time when young people need to interrogate the information they are receiving from so many sources.

“A project of this scale was not possible without the support of key partners CBI NI, EY, Ulster Bank and the energy of my colleagues in the Irish News marketing team.

“The judges' comments of ‘enduring legacy' describe perfectly the impact that the project is having thanks to the help of so many teachers.”

St Mary's University College principal Professor Peter Finn said: “We entered into partnership with the Irish News because it is a newspaper that we respect and trust.

“Our objective was to make a significant contribution, through widespread resourcing and curriculum support materials, to the work of teachers in educating young people for the information rich world in which they will navigate their lives.

“Due to the innovative ideas of Dr Donna Hazzard, we decided to promote the concept of critical literacy. It was well beyond our expectations that over 9,000 pupils would be involved in the Irish News Young Readers Project last year.

“And for the project to receive the CIM Ireland Marketing Award for Corporate Social Responsibility is most fitting at a time when young people require the skills to extrapolate fact from fiction in a very complex and changing world.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access