About the University Observer
The University Observer is a broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout campus of University College Dublin every three weeks. It was launched in 1994 by University College Dublin Students’ Union as an immediate successor to the Students’ Union News, and was granted complete editorial independence from UCD Students’ Union.
The paper was founded by dual editors Pat Leahy, now of the Irish Times, and Dara Ó Briain, now of BBC and RTÉ comic fame. It has provided a number of notable Irish journalists their first break, including Roddy O’Sullivan, now of the Irish Times, Declan Walsh, now of The Guardian, Shane Hegarty (Irish Times), Alan Torney (RTÉ Radio 1), Sinead Ingoldsby (BBC NI), Daniel McConnell (Irish Examiner), Juno McEnroe (Irish Examiner), Steve Cummins, now editor of NME Ireland, Samantha Libreri (RTÉ News), Emmet Ryan (Sunday Business Post), Sorcha Nic Mhathúna (Daily Star), and Stephen Carroll (Sky News), and Gavan Reilly (The Journal.ie and Today FM). The University Observer is also quoted regularly by the Irish mainstream media.
The University Observer and its contributors have been consistent winners at the Oxygen.ie National Student Media Awards (Smedias). The paper itself has won the Oxygen Smedia Newspaper of the Year Award five times since the awards began in 2001. Most recently the paper, under the direction of Gráinne Loughran and Patrick Kelleher, won Newspaper of the Year 2016 at the Smedias. Writers are also regularly nominated with the University Observer receiving more individual writer nominations than any other student newspaper in 2016.
The University Observer is also the only Irish student paper to win an award in the Best Newspaper category at The Guardian Student Media Awards, which are held annually. The newspaper took runner-up spot for the Best Newspaper in 2002 (Volume 8).