Home News Community Murdered journalist Lyra McKee honoured with MA

Murdered journalist Lyra McKee honoured with MA

Journalist Lyra McKee was murdered last year.

By Annie Driver 

Journalist Lyra McKee, 29, who was murdered as she reported on riots in Derry last year, has been honoured with a Posthumous Master of Arts Degree in Online Journalism from Birmingham City University.   

Lyra wrote extensively about post-conflict society, most notably in her article The Ceasefire Babies: Why did the suicide rate in Northern Ireland soar following the Good Friday Agreement?   

At the time of her death Lyra was researching unsolved killings in Northern Ireland in the 20th century and was awaiting the publication of her non-fiction book Angels with Blue Faces. 

Lyra was also a passionate advocate for LGBT+ rights and delivered the powerful TED Talk ‘How uncomfortable conversations can save lives’, at 2017’s TEDx Stormont Women, about the 2016 Orlando shootings.   

Lyra studied the distance learning master’s degree at BCU between 2012 and 2014.   

Brother-in-law John Corner, sister Nichola Corner and Birmingham City University Vice Chancellor Philip Plowden

Professor Paul Bradshaw, Course Leader for the MA Data Journalism and the MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University, said: “Lyra’s path to studying journalism at Birmingham City University was, like her, special.  

“The tenacity and creativity that took her to BCU continued throughout her work here, and on into the successes that led to her pausing her studies.  

“Lyra was a very special student, a very special writer, and an inspiration to many. It was especially important to see her achievements during that time recognised by the University — and this award demonstrates that.” 

At the ceremony held at Symphony Hall, Lyra’s sister Nichola Corner and brother-in-law John Corner accepted the award from Professor Alison Honour, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean for the Faculty of Art, Design and Media. 

Birmingham City University Vice Chancellor Philip Plowden spoke about Lyra’s life and work: “Lyra was 29 when she was killed.  

- Advertisement -

“She was an outstanding young journalist whose book Angels with Blue Faces was about to be published. She wrote about the consequences of the Troubles, (in the) world in which she had grown up.” 

“There are no positives to be drawn from her death, we are all the poorer for it.  

“But it reminds us why we need great journalists; we need those who can uncover truths and open our eyes to things we may have chosen not to notice.  

“I am very proud that Lyra was part of our community and I’m proud that she was such a powerful example of our individual ability, each and every one of us, to work to change the world around us.” 

Lyra won the Sky News Young Journalist Award in 2006 aged 16. A decade later she was listed among Forbes Magazine’s Thirty under 30 in Media in Europe.   

Lyra held journalism training courses for The Times and The Sunday Times and, in 2016, delivered a presentation at BCU on class bias in the industry.   

Just a month before her death she was among those listed in The Irish Times’ Best of Irish: 10 rising stars of Irish writing. 

Journalistic commitments meant Lyra never actually graduated from her MA course in 2014. 

Lyra’s sister, Nichola Corner, paid tribute to her sibling:  “Lyra worked tirelessly not just in her journalism but in helping others around a wide range of causes, in Belfast and beyond, by opening doors and helping others gain useful contacts and opportunities.  

“She made friendships in all walks of life, and it was the same attention to people that drove her to succeed in her writing.  

“We feel very honoured and privileged that the university has conferred this honour upon her. We wish she’d been here to accept the award for herself, but we continue to be proud of her achievements as we’ve always been”. 

The for same sex couples to be allowed to marry was a topic frequently written about by Lyra as was the power vacuum at Stormont.  

Last week same sex marriages became legal in Northern Ireland and power sharing resumed at Stormont. 

A memorial anthology of Lyra’s articles, Lost, Found, Remembered, will be released on 22 March ahead of the first anniversary of her death on 18 April. 


- Advertisement -