Press Pass is a News Literacy and Student Journalism programme run by NewsBrands Ireland, the representative body for Ireland’s national newspapers, print and online.
The initiative was launched in 2012 and 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.
To date, over 100,000 Transition Year students around the country have taken part in the initiative.
Schools register on the Press Pass website and are then sent a range of free digital resources. to use with their students.
The Press Pass workbooks are designed to be used in conjunction with newspapers or news websites in the classroom to facilitate students’ understanding of news journalism. We also provide a downloadable Teacher’s Lesson Plan and webinars with renowned journalists. 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 news journalism and the writing, analysis, preparation and photography that’s involved in putting a newspaper or news website 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 can submit entries in the six categories – news, sport, features, comment, school newspaper, and photo journalism . The winners are selected by a panel of eminent editors and journalists, chaired by Prof. Michael Foley. The closing date for next year’s competition is March 22nd 2024 Finalists will be announced in late April.