If I had to do lockdown again, I would cut back on media…

In my younger years, I used to backpack around the world. One time I met an Australian girl who mentioned that she never consumed any news at all. This has always stuck in my mind. I was amazed and asked her was she not worried about missing out on anything important? Her insightful reply was that if it were important enough people would tell her. She gave the example of 9/11. The day after 9/11, someone said to her ‘Did …

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“Journalists have always had to have integrity”

The media are at a crossroads, with fears over the future of some of Northern Ireland’s best known newspapers. Existing trends favouring social media over print newspapers have been accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis, with additional financial pressures from a collapse in advertising revenues. This is an appropriate moment to reflect on the future of the media and on ethical responsibilities on journalists working in a post-conflict society. The latest Forward Together podcast from the Holywell Trust features an interview …

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How does our press emerge from lockdown? Part three: Regional Sunday Newspapers

I hadn’t planned a third instalment of this series as frankly I have little to no interest in the local Sunday newspaper market these days. Certainly my days of buying five or six Sundays that would see me through to midweek are long gone and, apart from a quick browse of the football sections (usually when I’m in Costa or Nero for an afternoon coffee) there’s not a lot on the front pages of our local Sundays to entice me …

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With Paywall in Place, has the Tele Lost its Welly?

Ten years ago, the Belfast Telegraph received a prestigious UK Award for Digital News Service of the Year. This was followed by multiple awards for website of the year, huge growth in on-line readers, and a new platform for digital debate that attracted thousands of comments. But with the installation of a new paywall on 19 May, are these achievements now at risk? Will the free and open voice of liberal unionism be silenced to all save a minority of …

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The Irish News should buy the News Letter…

I have been thinking about the death spiral of newspapers. If the internet was not bad enough, along comes Covid-19 to wipe out sales and advertising revenue. In particular, I have been contemplating the fate of the News Letter. As you may know, it is the oldest English language daily newspaper still in publication, having first been printed in 1737. Now whatever you think of its politics or the opinions of some of its writers, you would have to agree …

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What next for newspapers in NI: a shop-counter snapshot 

While a decision by the Independent newspaper to move to online-only has sparked another round of debate about the likes of clickbait and paywalls, thoughts also turn to the health of the main newspapers on sale closer to home. Not least among those talking about our own most popular titles this weekend are the buyers who continue to support the print versions of newspapers available in Northern Ireland. Their – often very blunt and at times grim – views about …

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Lessons from working in a local newspaper (and how they can work for you)

local paper mastheads Belfast Telegraph Irish News News Letter

A long time ago in a newspaper far, far away (well, Ballymena) I was kindly taught local newspaper writing by a fellow reporter and by our bosses. The lessons from those days have stayed with me so, for something a little more light-hearted at Christmas, it made me wonder how knowing the basics and banter of a local newsroom could help us to use the pages of a local paper today to promote our cause/ business/ party/ angry mob. Almost …

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Scars

It’s still there if you look closely. Just under my chin. Can you see it? Just zoom in a bit.   Ten years ago I was at the top of my game. Money was great, family was great, loved my job, loads of good mates; it was fantastic. Then the darkness. I can’t really remember the first experience but it didn’t seem to creep up on me. It happened suddenly and I was very aware of it. It terrified me. …

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Ireland’s Media War of 1914: the Bachelors Walk lessons

Basil Fawlty was wrong: the message this year is Do Mention The War.  Just remember that there are two wars to mention: a century ago, the Great War broke out in Europe, but at the same time (to my mind) Ireland’s war of independence was temporarily postponed. Irish media outlets – then as now – were a crucial political thermometer, and in the days before radio, television, and the internet, only newspapers had this power.  We can see this power in the newspapers of the time. On Sunday 26 July 1914 …

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SBP to look for examinership after the rest of the group bail into a financial lifeboat…

Whatever this is, it is almost certainly not good news for what has been one of the highest quality titles in the Irish newspaper market: The Sunday Business Post is to seek approval to enter examinership in the High Court today. The move comes after the Irish Examiner and a range of related titles and radio stations changed hands yesterday after the execution of a so-called pre-pack receivership process involving its parent company, Thomas Crosbie Holdings Ltd. The Sunday Business …

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National Newspapers of Ireland deploy the survival instincts of the Dodo…

So it’s Friday. On Sunday Simon McGarr wrote a fascinating piece in which he revealed that some of his professional clients were under pressure from Newspaper Licensing Ireland Ltd (NLI), a collection agent for the Newspaper publishers to pay for linking in to a number of newspaper articles about them. The piece went viral, and not just in Ireland. Some of the leading advocates for the Internet in the US went for it in a big big way, muttering darkly about …

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[Amended] Happy Birthday News Letter (the oldest regular English language newspaper in the world)…

In about half an hour, there’s an unveiling of a plaque to one of the least remarked upon artefacts of Irish history: the founding of the News Letter 275 years ago Francis Joy. Ben lowry of the paper notes this morning: Early News Letters are among the most important historical documents in Britain or Ireland (50 years before The Times), although most of the first 13 years is missing. There is, though, a fascinating intact six month stretch in 1739 …

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O’Reilly leaves Independent Newspapers; O’Brien consolidates as chief shareholder…

Yesterday an Irish dynasty came to a fairly sudden end. Within hours of a mystery buyer taking 2 per cent in Independent Newspapers, Gavin O’Reilly bowed out as Chief Executive of Independent Newspapers. It’s all change at the newspaper group, with Vincent Crowley stepping up to take on the job of Chief Executive but not it’s not yet clear where (if anywhere) the balance of power on the board now rests. Interestingly on Twitter, Simon Kelner of the London Independent …

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Media, politics and influence in the 19th and 21st centuries

Political Studies Association

It’s hard to talk about politics without the media encroaching on the conversation. In an after lunch session entitled Media, politics and influence three speakers presented papers that looked at a range of topics. Carole O’Reilly is a historian at University of Salford and talked about the influence (and funding) from municipal councillors that created some 19th century English local newspapers and filled them with content … and yet revelled in reporting ‘combative’ local elections, and printed strong criticism of …

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Do journalists’ arrests mark the end of the British scandal sheet?

Phillip Stevens nails a few things in the FT. And it picks up some themes from Blair Jenkins point that the transparency principle applies not just to politicians, but journalists too: By the time the myriad investigations end quite a few journalists may have gone to jail. The process will raise justified concerns about press freedom. For all their flaws, Britain’s rumbustious newspapers are a vital check and balance on the abuse of power. The big challenge, however, does not …

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Hold the Front Page: “Three serious daily newspapers in Belfast”

News Letter Belfast Telegraph Irish News

To finish off what O’Neill started on Sunday night with Tele takes a hiding and the discussion around the circulation graphs, former editor Steve Dyson dissected the morning editions of the three local papers over on Hold the Front Page. With his eyes set on the Wednesday 24 January morning editions of the News Letter, the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph:am, he comments on the “calm” headlines that accompanied one of that week’s main stories, the evacuation of 100 homes …

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Photograph of the Day – Stories already told

Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants from the …

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