Advertiser editorial named as winner in international newspaper editorial contest

Declan Varley, group editor, Galway Advertiser. 

Pic: Mike Shaughnessy.

Declan Varley, group editor, Galway Advertiser. Pic: Mike Shaughnessy.

An editorial from the Galway Advertiser has been named as a winner in a global contest to honour the best editorial writing in weekly newspapers. The Golden Quill and Golden Dozen award winners were announced by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors at a banquet in the University of Missouri on Sunday. 

The Golden Quill contest is open to all weekly newspapers worldwide with the objective of encouraging excellence in newspaper editorial writing.

One of those chosen as a winner was an editorial published in the Galway Advertiser and written by its editor Declan Varley. The editorial (reprinted below ) entitled “No Country for Old Men” won praise from the panel of judges for the “high quality of its penmanship and the almost musical cadence of its writing.”

The judges went on to say “I’m not sure which drew us most to Mr Varley’s strong editorial – the grey in our own hair or our delight in the almost musical cadence of his writing. 

“The use of identifiable persons and universal fears went straight to the heart. I especially liked the way he spoke directly to the reader in his call to action,” they said.

The article covered the story in early 2014 in which a Clare man spoke of having been terrorised by a gang of thugs, forcing him to pack all his belongings into a bag and cycle 30 miles through the night before admitting himself to a nursing home. 

It also focused on how institutions such as the banks were making it more difficult for the elderly to access their services with security and confidence.

Mr Varley has been group editor of the Galway Advertiser group for 15 years and has worked as a journalist and writer for more than three decades. This is the second time that he has won a global Golden Dozen award for his editorials published in the Galway Advertiser.

Speaking last night he said that he is honoured to have been named as one of the winners.

“While there is obviously a personal excitement, the real fulfilment is that the Advertiser editorial slot has once again been recognised for its ability to highlight social injustice and to give expression to the voices often silenced by modern life.”

“The Advertiser specialises in three different types of editorials — the satirical, at which we make strong points through the cloak of humour to an intelligent audience; the reactive, which will be based on a topical issue of that week; and the final one, is the social conscience model, of which this editorial was one, in which we highlight issues faced by the most vulnerable in our area.”

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