Opinion and reportage in the Irish Times

El Libre

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In a newspaper increasingly dominated by opinion columnists, O'Toole, Mullally, Ferriter, et al, I have long found the Irish Times's Paddy Agnew to be a readable and reliable old-style news reporter, giving us special insight into Italian affairs. The Sunday Times (no relation, yet) has reported that Agnew has been given the heave-ho by the paper of record (Irish edition 10 September, first few paras can be read on subscription site at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/irish-times-in-court-fight-with-axed-reporter-plrhxpkm0).

Apparently Agnew was asked last February to accept a 50%-plus cut in his earnings because of the Irish Times's financial difficulties (€50,000 down to €20,000, with no pension apparently). Agnew is taking his case to an Italian labour court, and it will be interesting to read the Irish Times's detailed and impartial coverage of these proceedings. Although Agnew has not written for the newspaper since March, he is still listed as Rome Correspondent on the Irish Times's website, and the quality of his work can be seen in the accompanying linked articles: https://www.irishtimes.com/profile/paddy-agnew-7.1837383 (subscription, limited access to articles).

Predictably, opinionator supreme Fintan O'Toole has gone to town today on the wretched rape-minimiser George Hook, declaring grandly that he will not appear again on Newstalk radio (https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-why-i-will-not-appear-on-newstalk-again-1.3216957) Says O'Toole of Newstalk:

'It is abandoning any pretence at objective presentation. Its own blurbs describe its main “news” shows as “opinion-led” and “full of personality”. The emphasis has switched from the journalist to the blowhard – news subjects are to be filtered through the (overwhelmingly right-wing) opinions of the “personality” presenter.'

O'Toole displays no sense of irony here, for if you substitute 'left-wing' for 'right-wing', the Irish Times itself comes to mind. I wonder if Fintan could update us on his no doubt proletarian-level salary, so that a comparison with Paddy Agnew's remuneration can be made?
 
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former wesleyan

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I'd like to hear posters views on what they think was " wrong " with Paddy Agnews' reportage from Italy. I would have thought that having a northern Prod report from Italy and the vatican would have suited the fairly liberal Irish Times down to a T.
 

Tommy12345

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In a newspaper increasingly dominated by opinion columnists, O'Toole, Mullally, Ferriter, et al, I have long found the Irish Times's Paddy Agnew to be a readable and reliable old-style news reporter, giving us special insight into Italian affairs. The Sunday Times (no relation, yet) has reported that Agnew has been given the heave-ho by the paper of record (Irish edition 10 September, first few paras can be read on subscription site at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/irish-times-in-court-fight-with-axed-reporter-plrhxpkm0).

Apparently Agnew was asked last February to accept a 50%-plus cut in his earnings because of the Irish Times's financial difficulties (€50,000 down to €20,000, with no pension apparently). Agnew is taking his case to an Italian labour court, and it will be interesting to read the Irish Times's detailed and impartial coverage of these proceedings. Although Agnew has not written for the newspaper since March, he is still listed as Rome Correspondent on the Irish Times's website, and the quality of his work can be seen in the accompanying linked articles: https://www.irishtimes.com/profile/paddy-agnew-7.1837383 (subscription, limited access to articles).

Predictably, opinionator supreme Fintan O'Toole has gone to town today on the wretched rape-minimiser George Hook, declaring grandly that he will not appear again on Newstalk radio (https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-why-i-will-not-appear-on-newstalk-again-1.3216957) Says O'Toole of Newstalk:

'It is abandoning any pretence at objective presentation. Its own blurbs describe its main “news” shows as “opinion-led” and “full of personality”. The emphasis has switched from the journalist to the blowhard – news subjects are to be filtered through the (overwhelmingly right-wing) opinions of the “personality” presenter.'

O'Toole displays no sense of irony here, for if you substitute 'left-wing' for 'right-wing', the Irish Times itself comes to mind. I wonder if Fintan could update us on his no doubt proletarian-level salary, so that a comparison with Paddy Agnew's remuneration can be made?
Reports are coming through that Fintan O'Toole and Una Mullally have gone on strike as Irish Times columnists pending their colleague Paddy Agnew's full reinstatement. Good on them both.
 
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Is Agnew on a permanent contract or is he freelance on a contracted basis?
 

mr_anderson

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The problem is, it's not about Paddy, Fintan or Una.
The simple fact is that the newspaper industry is dying.

I just hope the IT management have cut their own cloth accordingly.
 

Dame_Enda

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I don't regard NT as right-wing apart from Hook. But I do agree that NT is turning into opinion journalism - though mostly of a Progressivist globalist variety.
 
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A Voice

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I've always thought Agnew was the jammiest journalist in/out Ireland. What a gig! I mean, he gets to live in Italy and write about the Pope! Cushy or what? Nothing against him. I've never heard him say anything objectionable - unlike McGarry.
 

El Libre

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The problem is, it's not about Paddy, Fintan or Una.
The simple fact is that the newspaper industry is dying.

I just hope the IT management have cut their own cloth accordingly.
A fair point about the death of the traditional newspaper. However, I doubt strongly whether the Irish Times management or Fintan and pals have had to endure a 50%-plus pay cut. I would say that given the quality of Paddy Agnew's reportage and the apparent absence of pension entitlements, €50,000 per annum was good value for money. Cutting old-style information based reportage and treating long-standing staffers shabbily will accelerate not slow the decline of newsprint. Yet I do wonder if we are looking at the last days of the Irish Times in its present form, which will be a loss.
 

gerhard dengler

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Paddy Agnew and Derek Scally are the only two writers who I miss reading since terminating my purchase of all IT content nearly a decade ago now.

Vote with your wallets folks.
 

jmcc

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Reports are coming through that Fintan O'Toole and Una Mullally have gone on strike as Irish Times columnists pending their colleague Paddy Agnew's full reinstatement. Good on them both.
Really? :)
 

jmcc

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The problem is, it's not about Paddy, Fintan or Una.
The simple fact is that the newspaper industry is dying.
Or, more precisely, that the "news" angle has been sacrificed for the opinions of irrelevant people in an effort to save money. With the rise of the internet, the decision, in the 1990s, to concentrate on views rather than news has effectively destroyed many newspapers. Provincial 'papers like the IT ape their betters like the New York Times and the London Times but in reality, they don't have the same scale of audience to support the wafflefest of opinion. The IT has been losing readers and sales for years now and with the web, anyone can publish their own opinion.

I just hope the IT management have cut their own cloth accordingly.
They only cloth they'll be cutting will be that for their parachutes.
 

wombat

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I'd like to hear posters views on what they think was " wrong " with Paddy Agnews' reportage from Italy. I would have thought that having a northern Prod report from Italy and the vatican would have suited the fairly liberal Irish Times down to a T.
He wrote a terrific account of Italian football a few years ago, full of information.
 

wombat

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Reports are coming through that Fintan O'Toole and Una Mullally have gone on strike as Irish Times columnists pending their colleague Paddy Agnew's full reinstatement. Good on them both.
If true, it would almost tempt me to buy the paper.:lol:
 

jmcc

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I think the post is ironic. Not sure. You'd never know ... they might some day redeem themselves.
Your belief in the goodness of human nature is always reassuring. :) Freelancers are always in a very tricky position and I doubt if either of those two members of the commentariat would jeopardise their IT position for such an important matter.
 

Breanainn

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Not entirely sure about his contract arrangements with the IT, but can't imagine World Soccer pay much for his monthly contributions on Serie A.
 

lostexpectation

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Is Agnew on a permanent contract or is he freelance on a contracted basis?
this from the ST
He said his Italian lawyer advised him that the newspaper had incurred “serious liabilities” to him given that “a verbal contract resulted in a modest salary” with no provision for pension or social welfare contributions.
how did Agnew get himself in this position?
 

DaveM

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He wrote a terrific account of Italian football a few years ago, full of information.
That was Forza Italia, wasn't it? Alternating chapters about Italian football and his experience of living in the country since moving there. That was back around 2005 I think. Absolutely cracking book.
 

GDPR

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That was an excellent book. I thought I would be bored rigid by it, when it was the only thing I hadnt read knocking round the house, as football makes me comatose, but I found myself really gripped.
 


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