Press Pass was launched by NewsBrands Ireland in 2012. The initiative was developed in consultation with the Department of Education (Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Policy Unit) and was launched by the then Minister for Education, Mr Ruairi Quinn TD, in September 2012.
To date, almost 80,000 Transition Year students around the country have taken part in the initiative.
Schools register their interest on the website and nominate a local newsagent.
On October 21st, we arrange for newspapers and workbooks to be delivered to the newsagent free of charge for collection by the school. The workbooks are designed to be used in conjunction with the newspapers to facilitate students’ understanding of the newspaper format. We also provide a downloadable Teacher’s Lesson Plan. Whilst Press Pass is aimed at TY students, some schools run the programme for all strands of secondary education from 1st year right up to Leaving Cert.
Press Pass is designed specifically to enable students and teachers alike to learn all about newspapers and the writing, analysis, preparation and photography that’s involved in putting one together.
Students become familiar with the five language types which form the basis of study for Leaving Certificate English paper one in a very practical way; the languages of Information, Argument, Narration, Persuasion as well as the Aesthetic Use of Language.
Press Pass also introduces students to a variety of texts – among them interviews, news reports, feature articles, sports commentary etc. By reading these texts students will become alert to different language registers and styles and will gain an awareness of language in context.
Press Pass also provides students with an opportunity to focus on current issues, current affairs, current trends – which can lead to interesting debates in the classroom.
Feedback from teachers suggests that Press Pass motivates students to become more critical of the material they read, and, consequently, become more critically aware of their own writing style.
A key element of Press Pass is the national writing and photojournalism competition. Schools are asked to select a maximum of three pieces in each of five categories (news, sport, features, comment and photo journalism) for entry to the national competition. This year there is a new School Newspaper competition and News Literacyt Challenge. The winners are selected by a panel of eminent editors and journalists, chaired by Prof. Michael Foley.