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The Quality of Journalism in Ireland


St Disibod

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Joined
Dec 3, 2005
Messages
113
centreleft said:
I don't see an Irish Jeremy Paxman on our screens
NickyG said:
My two cents, our standard of journalism is NOT amongst the best in the world, both with regard to blatant agenda-ising (?) and pure and simple investigative quality.
Cain1798 said:
The reality is that political journalism in Ireland is as deeply embedded in the political establishment as a Fox News reporter wandering around Iraq with the US Marines. They socialise with, drink with and go out with the politicians they're supposed to be covering. They live out of each other's pockets and this can lead to some reluctance on the part of journalists to go after someone they were drinking with the night before even when there's blood in the water.
I thought a separate thread was required to discuss this question, so to keep the other one from which these quotes were lifted (available here) on track.

I would not quibble with the suggestion that investigative journalism is somewhat lacking. Only RTÉ seem to dedicate the necessary resources to this necessary facet of journalism. Though The Phoenix does its share in a peripheral sort of a way. The Irish Times rely on what appear to be leaks and press releases for its stories, with the odd phone call for a comment. Nothing wrong if that’s the bulk of your news pieces, but when it’s all there is before jumping into opinion that is a problem.

Also there is a lack of analysis in the Irish Media, though this is improving. The Irish Times has employed some experts to go through policies and announcements to explain where they score and where they miss. Tom Clonan has been a particularly beneficial addition to their staff- he’s the security analyst that went through just how much bull excrement the IDF statements during the Israeli-Lebanon war last summer constituted.

As for the issue of hackery and the restraint Irish journalists show in attacking politicians, I do think this is an important issue. But it requires appreciation of the context. It does little good to measure Irish journalism against the foreign media outlets we have access to. Britain, France and the US are large countries- their journalists are numerous enough to form an independent pillar within the nation’s cognoscenti. In Ireland the numbers are smaller and so the various pillars overlap. We’ll never have a Jeremy Paxman because media consumption is not large enough to sustain one in Ireland. Leading journalists here require political as well as public support. The closest we have to Paxman is Vincent Browne, and his record on making self-sustaining journalistic outfits are poor. They tend to run out of money and guests/interviewees rather rapidly.

Journalistic restraint is common across small countries- it’s not an Irish phenomena. John Lloyd, writing in The Financial Times, considered the case of Israel:

At the same time, this is a country of only 7 million people. In a panel discussion with colleagues, Barnea said that the trouble with small societies is that if you last as a journalist (he is in his early 60s) you know everyone in power: you played in the street with them, went to school with them, lived next door to them. You knew something of their private lives, and they something of yours. Journalism becomes an intimate affair, and criticism or revelation akin to betrayal.

A former colleague on the FT used to say that journalists are more often corrupted by friendship than by freebies. It must be so: journalists don't mind biting the hand which gives them trips and treats in the hope of good coverage - indeed, it is a matter of honour with many to do so. Honour is more of an ambiguous commodity when you bite a hand that has held yours with affection.
So while improvements could be made, it's not all that terrible. And remember, for every Paxman you get a Daily Mail- which recently and needlessly was responsible for the scalping of one the world's leading businessmen- Lord Browne of BP. While we have our own tabloids in Ireland, they're not nearly as bad as the British ones. Improvements at one end of the spectrum often necessitates deterioration at the other end.
 

St Disibod

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113
Paddylekker said:
Eh? Didn't Lord Browne lie in court?

He deserved to be scalped.
He should never have been in court.

He made an error of judgement, unquestionably, and the board of BP was right to let him go. But he was trying to block a 'kiss and tell' story going to print, in essence he was trying to keep his private life private. The story had nothing to do with the public interest, except for people who want to nosey in on a man's relationship simply because he is wealthy and gay.

Associated Newpapers should never have forced him into the position they did, and I would hold them responsible for the mess.
 
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Paddylekker said:
Eh? Didn't Lord Browne lie in court?

He deserved to be scalped.
A blackmailer hires the likes of Max Clifford to sell a sex story to the Mail and as it deals with sex, there will be an element of truth and fiction in the account.

It's not journalism.

It's no surprise that Lord Browne is gay.

Five years ago, BP as the UK's biggest comapny, sought to attract gay and lesbian staff in Britain and the US by offering equal benefits for partners in same-sex relationships. This ensures that the traditional offer to spouses of pension rights, death benefit provisions and relocation allowances are extended to gay partners.

It wasn't as if Browne was like politicians - saying one thing and doing another.
 

hiker

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May 9, 2005
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St Disibod said:
While we have our own tabloids in Ireland, they're not nearly as bad as the British ones.
:shock:

Its the British pseudo-Irish ones that are causing the greatest problems.
These are British papers.
They have a few Irish workers. They stick "Irish" somewhere on the banner and ,hey presto, you have an Irish newspaper. :?

I dont think so.

But lets be honest. They would'nt sell if there was'nt a demand and there obviously is.
I think that political parties may find themselves having to go into the newspaper publication business in the near future in order to balance the feild.
 

madura

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May 26, 2006
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266
A word about Paxman. Although he has a very imposing presence and speaks incisively, I'm not entirely convinced that his aggressive style of questioning is the best way of shedding light on any question.

He fillets politicians, sure, as in that notorious interview with Michael Howard (wasn't it), but did the public really learn anything they didn't already know from (say) his questioning of David Cameron about the lewd names for cocktails?

I feel I'm getting more bang for my buck from more colourless interviewers.
 

JCSkinner

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hiker said:
St Disibod said:
While we have our own tabloids in Ireland, they're not nearly as bad as the British ones.
:shock:

Its the British pseudo-Irish ones that are causing the greatest problems.
These are British papers.
Are the Indo and Tribune Bahamian papers, then? They're also owned by people abroad, but operate in Ireland with Irish staff.

hiker said:
They have a few Irish workers. They stick "Irish" somewhere on the banner and ,hey presto, you have an Irish newspaper. :?

I dont think so.
Why not? Do they pay taxes here? Sell papers here? Write about here? Employ Irish people to report on Ireland?
What in your opinion IS an Irish paper, Hiker? An Phoblaicht? Ireland's Own? Kiss magazine?

hiker said:
But lets be honest. They would'nt sell if there was'nt a demand and there obviously is.
I think that political parties may find themselves having to go into the newspaper publication business in the near future in order to balance the feild.
I've got no end of sh!te through my letterbox from politicians purporting to be newsletters but which are in actual fact simply 'elect me' freesheets.
I don't know how their existence in any way balances whatever imbalance it is that you detect within the media.
Unless you see party-approved spin as being a balance to honest reporting, that is.
 

joel

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May 3, 2007
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810
The Irish Independent is the worst newspaper I have seen. An anti-Irish propaganda sheet.

I thought the British Daily Telegraph (under Lord Black) was the most anti-Irish, but the Indo tops it. In contrast, The Independent in Britain is a quality newspaper, with some quality people, instead of the trash the Irish put up with.

Surely the Irish should demand better.
 

FutureTaoiseach

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I think the quality of Irish journalism has certainly deteriorated since the entry of the British-owned tabloids into the Irish market, with their loud over-simplistic attitudes to a range of political issues - not to mention their nasty personalised attacks on politicians such as Mary Harney and Michael McDowell. Sadly this trend seems to have contagiouslly spread like the Plague to the broadsheet newspapers too.
 

BertiesYellowPants

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Jan 7, 2007
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FutureTaoiseach said:
I think the quality of Irish journalism has certainly deteriorated since the entry of the British-owned tabloids into the Irish market, with their loud over-simplistic attitudes to a range of political issues - not to mention their nasty personalised attacks on politicians such as Mary Harney and Michael McDowell. Sadly this trend seems to have contagiouslly spread like the Plague to the broadsheet newspapers too.
How much do you get for working on this site? You are like some kind of advert for the PD's.
I am sure you will take this as 'an attack' so I will consider your fanatical (pro-PD) response as read. (That means you dont have to responde because I already get the jist of it). Unless you get paid by the word, in which case feel free to eulogise.
=======================================
As for Irish 'journalism'...
Well for one our censorship laws are far too authoritiarian, second our 'journalism' only leads into costly Tribunals. Those Tribunals are substitutes for criminal cases and other punishments for lies and frauds.

I would suggest that we are not a proper democracy until this is fixed; then I will tell you if 'journalism' is any use here, let alone any good...
 

jmcc

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Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Messages
42,297
One of the biggest problems with journalism in Ireland lies not in journalism itself but in the law. The libel laws in Ireland, it could be argued, exist to protect the guilty. They are often exploited not for redress but for financial gain and to suppress investigation.

Regards...jmcc
 

NickyG

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
32
St Disibod said:
centreleft said:
I don't see an Irish Jeremy Paxman on our screens
NickyG said:
My two cents, our standard of journalism is NOT amongst the best in the world, both with regard to blatant agenda-ising (?) and pure and simple investigative quality.
Cain1798 said:
The reality is that political journalism in Ireland is as deeply embedded in the political establishment as a Fox News reporter wandering around Iraq with the US Marines. They socialise with, drink with and go out with the politicians they're supposed to be covering. They live out of each other's pockets and this can lead to some reluctance on the part of journalists to go after someone they were drinking with the night before even when there's blood in the water.
I thought a separate thread was required to discuss this question, so to keep the other one from which these quotes were lifted (available here) on track.

I would not quibble with the suggestion that investigative journalism is somewhat lacking. Only RTÉ seem to dedicate the necessary resources to this necessary facet of journalism. Though The Phoenix does its share in a peripheral sort of a way. The Irish Times rely on what appear to be leaks and press releases for its stories, with the odd phone call for a comment. Nothing wrong if that’s the bulk of your news pieces, but when it’s all there is before jumping into opinion that is a problem.

Also there is a lack of analysis in the Irish Media, though this is improving. The Irish Times has employed some experts to go through policies and announcements to explain where they score and where they miss. Tom Clonan has been a particularly beneficial addition to their staff- he’s the security analyst that went through just how much bull excrement the IDF statements during the Israeli-Lebanon war last summer constituted.

As for the issue of hackery and the restraint Irish journalists show in attacking politicians, I do think this is an important issue. But it requires appreciation of the context. It does little good to measure Irish journalism against the foreign media outlets we have access to. Britain, France and the US are large countries- their journalists are numerous enough to form an independent pillar within the nation’s cognoscenti. In Ireland the numbers are smaller and so the various pillars overlap. We’ll never have a Jeremy Paxman because media consumption is not large enough to sustain one in Ireland. Leading journalists here require political as well as public support. The closest we have to Paxman is Vincent Browne, and his record on making self-sustaining journalistic outfits are poor. They tend to run out of money and guests/interviewees rather rapidly.

Journalistic restraint is common across small countries- it’s not an Irish phenomena. John Lloyd, writing in The Financial Times, considered the case of Israel:

At the same time, this is a country of only 7 million people. In a panel discussion with colleagues, Barnea said that the trouble with small societies is that if you last as a journalist (he is in his early 60s) you know everyone in power: you played in the street with them, went to school with them, lived next door to them. You knew something of their private lives, and they something of yours. Journalism becomes an intimate affair, and criticism or revelation akin to betrayal.

A former colleague on the FT used to say that journalists are more often corrupted by friendship than by freebies. It must be so: journalists don't mind biting the hand which gives them trips and treats in the hope of good coverage - indeed, it is a matter of honour with many to do so. Honour is more of an ambiguous commodity when you bite a hand that has held yours with affection.
So while improvements could be made, it's not all that terrible. And remember, for every Paxman you get a Daily Mail- which recently and needlessly was responsible for the scalping of one the world's leading businessmen- Lord Browne of BP. While we have our own tabloids in Ireland, they're not nearly as bad as the British ones. Improvements at one end of the spectrum often necessitates deterioration at the other end.
Some excellent points there, St Disibod.. not sure if the final statements' simplicity does justice to the subject matter.. but otherwise, very salient points.
 

St Disibod

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Messages
113
NickyG said:
St Disibod said:
So while improvements could be made, it's not all that terrible. And remember, for every Paxman you get a Daily Mail- which recently and needlessly was responsible for the scalping of one the world's leading businessmen- Lord Browne of BP. While we have our own tabloids in Ireland, they're not nearly as bad as the British ones. Improvements at one end of the spectrum often necessitates deterioration at the other end.
Some excellent points there, St Disibod.. not sure if the final statements' simplicity does justice to the subject matter.. but otherwise, very salient points.
It's not that I'm objecting to the dissent, but which point to you regard as simplistic?

That improvement at one end of the spectrum require deterioration at the other (that every Paxman requires a Daily Mail) or that the Daily Mail was responsible for Lord Browne's downfall?
 

Nils

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Mar 20, 2004
Messages
66
madura said:
A word about Paxman. Although he has a very imposing presence and speaks incisively, I'm not entirely convinced that his aggressive style of questioning is the best way of shedding light on any question.

He fillets politicians, sure, as in that notorious interview with Michael Howard
St Disibod said:
The closest we have to Paxman is Vincent Browne
If I remember, just after Paxman asked Michael Howard the same question 14 times (or whatever number it was...), Vincent Browne tried a similar approach on Dana and he was generally pilloried for it for being an intolerant bully.
 

badinage

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Joined
Oct 21, 2004
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776
St Disibod said:
Paddylekker said:
Eh? Didn't Lord Browne lie in court? He deserved to be scalped.
He should never have been in court.

He made an error of judgement, unquestionably, and the board of BP was right to let him go. But he was trying to block a 'kiss and tell' story going to print, in essence he was trying to keep his private life private. The story had nothing to do with the public interest, except for people who want to nosey in on a man's relationship simply because he is wealthy and gay.

Associated Newpapers should never have forced him into the position they did, and I would hold them responsible for the mess.
I don't think his sexual orientation is all that vital to the story - if it had been a female prostitute in her mid-twenties, as opposed to a gay male, and Lord Browne had allegedly abused his position in B.P. to provide for her, then later called her all kinds of things in court (alcoholic and drug-addict, etc), it'd be just as big as story. Possibly bigger actually - the story is of less interest to Joe Public because it involves gay men: it would be 'jucier'/better gossip if they were a straight couple, Pretty Woman style
 

St Disibod

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badinage said:
I don't think his sexual orientation is all that vital to the story - if it had been a female prostitute in her mid-twenties, as opposed to a gay male, and Lord Browne had allegedly abused his position in B.P. to provide for her, then later called her all kinds of things in court (alcoholic and drug-addict, etc), it'd be just as big as story. Possibly bigger actually - the story is of less interest to Joe Public because it involves gay men: it would be 'jucier'/better gossip if they were a straight couple, Pretty Woman style
Well I would certainly accept that the bigger part of the equation was Lord Browne's public position as CEO of BP; but I am not sure it would have been pursued as doggedly as it was had all factors been held equal bar changing Jeff Chevalier, the other half of the relationship, into a woman.

I wouldn't charge that anti-gay prejudice was involved either- just that public interest was piqued by this slight twist on what would otherwise have been an insignificant story and so Associated Newspapers ran with it.

I mean Chevalier was not a prostitute, he was an escort- though certainly those two industries lack a clear line between them. But this fact only related to their first meeting as far as I know- for a relationship that lasted several years. As for Browne abusing his position in BP, Chevalier borrowed a lap top and a BP employee ran an errand for him. Hardly overstepping the mark into impropriety.

Had this been the case with a woman in her mid-twenties would the Daily Mail have bothered? I don't know. It's definetly not the central issue however. This was an attack on privacy, not homosexuality.

The latter is only a peripheral- and if you are correct, unrelated- consideration.
 

Thac0man

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The general level of journalism is appauling in Ireland, though there are exceptions,
they are too few.

Taking aside the Tabloids, for a start nearly every major broadsheet is in the pocket of big businessmen (the Sunday tribune was kept on life support because it acted as Tony O'Reilly's mouth piece, its owner). That makes their editorial line the whim of vested interests and the paper a tool in a broader arsenal or its owner. Other journalists are unashamidly politically partisan, while portraying themselves and their work as having intergrity and neutrality or being in the public interest - so dishonest is their baseline there.

Back to the Tabloids - stupid and hysterical as they are they none the less have repeatidly tackled the issues of gang crime which afflicts Ireland. This issue as it affects the everyday man on the street has yet to become an important one for the broadsheets who relate the subject only to the percieved higher echelons of Irish society, ie. its effects on markets, politicians and house prices.

And before anyone mentions strict libal laws as binding the hands of journalism in Ireland (oops too late), utter nonsense. While politicians and the Garda denied there was a drugs problem in Ireland during the 70's and 80's where Heroin was tearing through impoverished Urban communities, the Media kept silent. They have always towed the line.

Irish media is detached from reality. It always has been and it always will be. It is almost exclusivly serving vested interests to which they are tied.
 

joel

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If these "vested interests" were pro-Irish it wouldn't be so bad.

O'Reilly seems to be anti the Irish state and pro British, in spite of all they have done to Ireland. He, along with Conor Cruise O'Brien and Dudley Edwards are evil people. All fellow travellers.
 

Kev408

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Our allegedly most heroic journalist today is Paul Williams. That bloke Bradley went on Liveline to challenge the story Williams wrote about him in last weeks Sunday World where Williams said Bradley fled the country to avoid paying a CAB bill. Williams had no answer when Bradley said 'if I fled the country what am I doing sitting in me Ma's living-room in Finglas?' People then got on the line singing the praises of Williams but Williams never responded to the core question. He lied to make an already juicy story about a convicted criminal juicier. Thats the level of Irish journalism today.
 
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