Maureen's Irish showbiz award

Coleman with Justin Timberlake

Belfast Telegraph reporter Maureen Coleman was named top Irish entertainment journalist at this year’s Big Buzz awards.

Coleman – who beat Tim Calder of The People, Paul Martin of the Mirror and Eddy Rowley of the Sunday World – said: “I was pleasantly suprised to win as I was up against tough competion.

It is the second time I have been nominated for the award so I am pleased to finally be successful.”

The awards are organised by Irish entertainment magazine The Big Buzz .

Calling them “the barometer of the entertainment industry”, editor Barry O’Kane said: “We recognise the best entertainment journalists, television personalities, bands and DJs.”

The general public nominated and voted for Coleman as the top showbiz reporter. O’Kane said: “She won because she is good at finding exclusive stories and her interviews reveal a celebrity’s true character.”

Coleman’s most exciting interview was with Justin Timberlake. She said: “He was really down-to-earth and friendly. We got on so well the interview went on for an extra half an hour.’ Her most memorable was with Lionel Ritchie, who sang his hit song, Hello, down the phone to her.

Coleman has been covering the showbiz world for the Belfast Telegraph for four years. She began her career as a news reporter on a freesheet, The Community Telegraph, in 1989. Moving from news to features, she was in charge of the supplements, writing about fashion and entertainment. In 1996 Coleman moved back to news, preferring the pace of daily deadlines.

She is hoping the award will open up greater opportunities. “I have good contacts within entertainment, the award will mean I am recognised by more PRs. It will look good on my CV.”

However, she plans to stay at the Telegraph: “I have a free reign when writing entertainment stories and I am happy where I am.”

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