Northern Ireland

Tributes paid to 'hugely respected' journalist and former Newry Democrat editor following death

Jackie McKeown, who died at her Newry home on Friday.
Jackie McKeown, who died at her Newry home on Friday. Jackie McKeown, who died at her Newry home on Friday.

A Co Armagh journalist will be remembered as an "extremely talented" reporter and editor by colleagues following her death.

Jackie McKeown, who was 54 and the former editor of the Newry Democrat, died suddenly on Friday at her Newry home.

Originally from Banbridge, Ms McKeown began her journalism career in London, working with newspapers including the Sunday Mirror and Evening Standard, before returning to the north where she went on to become a news editor with the News Letter.

She was appointed editor of the Newry Democrat in 2007, and later worked with outlets including the Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life, Irish Independent and Irish Daily Star.

During her time working with the Lisburn-based Ulster Star, Ms McKeown was named IPR Provincial Journalist of the Year.

She also spent time working with UTV's Kelly Show, presented by Gerry Kelly.

Among those to pay tribute to Ms McKeown was friend and former journalist colleague Carmel Robinson.

She said in a social media post: "Jackie was one of a kind. A truly talented journalist as well as a kind compassionate and understanding friend to many, including me. My deepest condolences to her daughter and all her family and many friends at this sad time. May her gentle soul rest in peace."

Former Stormont regional development minister and UUP MLA Danny Kennedy said Ms McKeown was a "highly professional and hugely respected journalist" who was "always fair and thorough".

A death notice described her as the "cherished mother of Ciara, dearly loved daughter of Rosa van Wijk and the late Alan McKeown, and much loved sister of Tara McKeown".