Mountmellick journalist Michelle Hogan
Two ambitious young Laois journalists who attended the same local schools are both forging ahead in their journalism careers.
New graduate Michelle Hogan from Mountmellick, and established journalist Sean Dunne from Clonaghadoo, both were inspired to study journalism while attending Clonaghadoo NS and then Clonaslee Vocational School.
Michelle has just graduated from the University of Limerick, with a BA in Journalism and New Media.
Last April, she was nominated for Editor of the Year, for the college newspaper Limerick Voice, in the National Student Media Awards.
“It was great to be nominated, a really good achievement to top off my final year in college. It represented the huge amount of work we had put into the paper, and two of our team came away with national awards,” she said.
Being an editor brought its own challenges.
“It was a team of 40, so it was a challenge to constantly know what everyone was working on, and help them where I could, while they are all as capable as I am. I had previous experience as the editor of An Focal in UL, and my lecturer Kathryn Hayes guided me greatly,” she said.
A daughter of Ray and Frances Hogan, with two older brothers Jason and Eoin, Michelle knew from the age of 13 that she wanted to be a journalist.
“I loved formative writing, and my teachers always said I had so much potential, I’m so happy to have graduated now,” said Michelle, who hopes to work in print media.
“I am passionate about print. It gives more space for in-depth analysis that people don’t have the attention span for online,” she said.
Sean, 28, is starting a new job this week as senior news reporter with the Irish Times, having spent the past two years writing for the Irish Mail on Sunday and Irish Daily Mail newspapers.
“It was a great experience working for the Daily Mail, moving to the Irish Times felt like the next step. It’s a great paper, I am very excited,” he told the Leinster Express.
Sean has won a National Justice Media Award from the Law Society of Ireland, and also the National Young Journalist of the Year at the Newsbrand Ireland awards, for his interviews with two Irish survivors of the Bataclan terrorist attack in France.
His love of writing was supported he said by Clonaghadoo principal Goretti Whelan, and his English teacher in Clonaslee, Breda Campion. “They both encouraged me, they were a great influence,” he said.
He too sees a future in printed newspapers, despite a worldwide decline in sales.
“It’s a scary time for all journalists, but I feel that there will always be an appetite there for a newspaper, there is nothing like a good piece of investigative journalism, they have been big game changers in society,” said Sean, who has one older brother Edward, and is a son of Edward and Elizabeth Dunne.