In their ongoing rearguard action against encroachment from online media, professional journalistic standards are the newspapers' principle propaganda weapon. Columnist John Waters has, as ever, been in the vanguard. Following an opinion piece in The Irish Times in which he came out against the Internet, he faced off with blogger Fergal Crehan of tuppenceworth.ie in a debate on Newstalk. Waters denounced the “poisonous” culture of blogging and contrasted it with the “know your facts, check your facts” tradition of the press.
I have always been a fan of Sean O'Rourke and his lunchtime radio show, News at One, on RTE Radio 1. Informed, intelligent, concise and most importantly clear and easy to understand. There is no waffle on it – a rarity in RTE and elsewhere. You only have to tune in to Ryan Tubridy, Marion Finucane, Pat Kenny, any of them really, to get an articulated truck-load of baloney dumped right on top of you. Not a pleasant experience.
Stateside coverage of the Iraq War drops down the news agenda, while Ireland bids a sad farewell to two of the country's quirkiest magazines. By Tom Rowe
Pity the poor John Kelly fans stranded in the fourth green field – some of the people who started the buzz about this extraordinary music broadcaster way back when he was spinning his stuff for the BBC in Northern Ireland.
Vague inklings of digital radio may have passed through your consciousness recently. RTÉ announcers occasionally quietly mention that listeners in the greater Dublin area and the North East can now tune into their favourite shows on their digital radios, or make low-key announcements to the press about trial runs of new digital radio channels.
Sure, I get hot and bothered about media failings. In fact I've made a pretty good career-sideline of getting thus hot and bothered.
The launch of the office of the press ombudsman and the press council of Ireland at the start of January was greeted with much fanfare by the press. An Irish Times editorial called it ‘a defining moment in Irish journalism where the rights and responsibilities of the print media can be held to account by readers.' It expressed the hope that the newly adopted code of practice ‘will provide the impetus to improve journalistic standards into the future'. Unfortunately, however, such lofty aspirations are so implausible as to be actively misleading.
Sport is now commercialising to take advantage of the online medium where broadcsaters, clubs and associations will capitalise upon exposure to a global audience that is ever increasing. The attraction of online broadcasting for the Premiership is particularly strong as internet connectivity becomes more widespread in China and India where merchandising campaigns and satellite broadcasting of live football have been successful.
The collapse of Katy French on Monday 3 December and her death several days later in hospital provoked a full scale outbreak of media hysteria. The story's combination of celebrity, drugs and a tragic young death unsurprisingly proved irresistible, and not only to the tabloids. The first ten pages of news section of the Irish Independent on Saturday 8 December, two days after her death, were entirely devoted to the story and were further supplemented by several features.
Avoid forays into the crowded high street this year and take the annual splurge online. By Tom Rowe