Independent News - the 'quality' pretence is abandoned

Tony O'Reilly's Independent Newspapers has initiated the most radical and damaging wheeze yet devised by media accountants: the outsourcing of a key editorial function. Over 150 journalists have left Independent Newspapers in Dublin in the last three months By Martin Fitzpatrick

Rate My School

A league table of 400 secondary schools was published recently which lists schools based on the percentage of sixth formers attend university. The study reveals a clear bias in favour of private fee-paying schools. Of the 54 fee-paying schools listed in the table, 34 are in the 70 highest listed schools. Nine of the 10 highest listed boys schools and five of the 10 highest listed girls schools are fee-paying.

Media's drug of choice

There is no danger of this columnist moving on to pastures new as PRO for the pharmaceutical sector, at any level from Big Pharma down to the local chemist. But the media's sudden autumn discovery of deepest sympathies for the poor oppressed heroin addicts of Dublin, victimised by a load of greedy pharmacists, did come as something of a shock. It was clearly symptomatic not of a rush of compassion but of the opportunity to put the boot into an unloved and not-especially-powerful occupational sub-group.

Women and children first

In much the same dopey wide-eyed manner that RTE reacted to Jim Beglin's belated criticism of Steve Staunton – “they were Liverpool team-mates!” voices cried in amazement but with only a modicum of truth, since Beglin was on his way out of Anfield with injury when Staunton developed as a young reserve – the national broadcaster reported recently that the US had admitted “killing 17 civilians” in Iraq, “all of them women and children”.

Website Flips and Flops

Mobile heavyweight Vodafone Ireland with its massive financial clout really has no excuse for the poor redesign of its popular website. Far be it from Village to complain about getting free stuff, but, complete with free mobile texts, is simply too slow. There seems to be a problem with heavy traffic - it takes more than 30 seconds (we stopped counting) for the homepage to load during the day but this seems to be alleviated in the evening when traffic would be lower.

Stan the playmaker

Around here we're always complaining that journalists lack a historical perspective. Arguably, many political hacks, with their capacity to rattle off past election results and previous ministerial office-holders, are a partial exception to what we regard as the rule. Sports reporters, too, tend to share with sports fans a frightening store of history's trivia.

And The Winner Is...

Radio winners and losers, anti-trust madness in the US and a step in the right direction for RTE Radio 1

The McCann's Reality Soap Opera

  • 26 October 2007
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In May 2007, Madeleine McCann was reported missing by her parents during their holiday in a Portuguese resort. Within days her disappearance had gone from being a tragic missing person's case into an international media extravaganza. The story has continued to dominate the news agenda for the last six months, regularly making front page news all over the world and filling tens of thousands of column-inches in the process.

Tipping the balance west

A recent RTÉ news item on deaths in Iraq failed to report both sides of the story and just refelcted the US stance. An Irish media website, Mediabite, challenged them on it. By David Manning and Miriam Cotton.