FAQs and Teacher Testimonials

What is Press Pass?

Press Pass is a Student Journalism and News Literacy programme for Transition Year students. The programme gives students the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the media, how it works and who to trust by learning to do journalism themselves. If a student knows how good journalism is made, then they are better equipped to interrogate the information that bombards them daily.

What is news literacy?

News Literacy is the ability to determine the credibility of news and other information and to recognise the standards of fact-based journalism to know what to trust, share and act on.

How does it work?

Over a set period between January and April every year, registered schools receive access to free resources including a Teacher’s Lesson Plan, Student Workbook, and access to news websites and award winning journalism. Students are encouraged to engage with the newspapers and online journalism in the classroom, to analyse the content and then to create their own original journalism, the best of which is entered into a national competition. Through Press Pass, students become familiar with a variety of language types (information, argument, narration, persuasion) that they will encounter during the Leaving Certificate English programme. Students also learn to analyse content and are asked to think and form opinions about important social issues.

Key dates 2024:

1st of November: Press Pass 2024 opens for registration via PressPass.ie

23rd of January: 2024 resources including new Student Workbook and Teacher’s Lesson Plan will be sent to registered schools

22nd of March: Closing date for student journalism competition

Finalists in the competition will be announced at the end of April and the awards ceremony will take place in Dublin on April 17th 2024

How much does it cost?

Press Pass is a free programme.

Student Journalism Competition

At the end of the Press Pass programme, teachers are encourageed to ask their students to create their own journalism and to enter our annual Student Journalism competition. Categories include: School Newspaper, Opinion journalism, Sports journalism, and Features journalism. Full details are in our Student Workbook.

Awards ceremony

Finalists are invited to a very special awards ceremony in Dublin in April and honoured for their work. Last year’s event took place in the Aviva Stadium and was attended by Minister for Media Catherine Martin, and a host of award winning journalists and editors. You can watch highlights of the event here

What is the aim of Press Pass?

Along with encouraging the next generation of journalists through the Student Journalism Awards, the main goal of the Press Pass TY Programme is to help students make informed judgments about the news they read and share online. It is vital that young people are encouraged to develop their news literacy skills and we believe that Press Pass plays a positive role in this respect by providing schools with a free and very practical set of resources.

Teacher Testimonials:

The Press Pass Transition Year News Literacy and Student Journalism Programme can be linked effectively to Paper One in the Leaving Certificate. The Department of Education and Science LC English Syllabus states that Paper One is specifically aimed at ‘improving students’ composing abilities’. As an English teacher, I believe Press Pass is a very effective programme that helps students explore, develop and improve their writing skills.

“Through the Press Pass Programme one encounters the five language genres – information, narration, persuasion, argument and aesthetics – in articles, features etc. in both print and online versions. Press Pass helps to make the teachings of these language genres a very real and tangible experience. And, for the Press Pass Writing Competition, the variety of entry categories allow students to produce work that mirrors what they will encounter in responding to the Question B and Composing sections of Paper One in the LC.”

Edward Newman, Christian Brothers College, Cork

Press Pass facilitates the focused exploration of the outside world within the confines of the TY English classroom.  It encourages students to review how language is used and manipulated in their world and to evaluate its power and impact.  Students who often flourish within the scaffolds of Press Pass are those who find English challenging.  For these students, it seems to spark an interest in writing and journalism that they hadn’t experienced before.  This, I feel, is due to the great variety of opportunity that Press Pass offers.Richie Hayes, Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare

Press Pass has been one of the most enriching and fulfilling initiatives for Transition Year students in which I have had the pleasure of being involved. Over the past nine years, I have seen my students go beyond the fundamentals of journalism writing, becoming actively engaged with the world around them and developing a critical awareness of the role of the journalist. The initiative has taken them outside the classroom and into the community as they undertake research, conduct interviews, attend events, experiment with photography, forge critical opinions and compose articles.  

As well as forming a solid foundation for their Leaving Certificate compositions, the conversations around critical thinking, truth, accuracy, misinformation, ethical journalism and its role in functioning democracies and wider society have been insightful, illuminating and invigorating. I cannot recommend this initiative enough. ” – Kelly Motherway, Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, Youghal, Co. Cork 

The Press Pass programme is brilliant for Transition Year students as it offers the opportunity to discuss many contemporary issues regarding media and news consumption. Students were given the freedom to enter the national competition under several different categories, from sports journalism to photojournalism, ensuring that there was plenty of scope for them to choose which suited them best. The resources were well planned and easily downloaded. I would definitely encourage schools to give it a go! ” Anna McKay, Blackwater Community School, Lismore, Co. Waterford

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