‘I am not bound by decisions made by my predecessors’ – RTE FOI

A few years ago, after reading a news story about a “dossier” sent to RTE about its political coverage by a political party, I sent in a freedom of information request, asking for “any submissions from political parties regarding partiality and bias in political reporting and commentary on RTE”. The request was initially refused, on the grounds that RTE did not have to supply information on “programme related functions”, citing… Read Article →

What’s the worth of a a freelance?

A while back, someone posted to a freelance journalism group in Facebook looking for some advice on rates/ They’d been told by a published that they paid “standard rates”, and naturally, this raised the question, what are the standard rates? So I answered in part as follows: There is no such thing as a standard rate. and if I were to tell you one, I would be breaking the law…. Read Article →

FOI: The Poor Box

Ever wondered what happens to the donations people make to the poor box in the Irish courts system?  I sent in a freedom of information request to the Courts Service asking that question. Poor Box Donations 2014 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97BNQQ6gbcfdWdrb3IxRHBNSDQ/view?usp=sharing Poor Box Donations 2013 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97BNQQ6gbcfcUdTWjRpampGaFE/view?usp=sharing Poor Box Donations 2012 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97BNQQ6gbcfWmYwUF81QWNIcTA/view?usp=sharing

Phil Coulson

Civil War and civil rights

Civil War isn’t really sure what the conflict is about, only that it’s an excuse for fighting (Widow v Hawkeye, Ant-Man v Ironman, Spidey v pretty much everyone), and at the end of the day, it doesn’t do much except serve as a stealth origin story for Black Panther and a Peter Parker reboot. This is a pity, because there’s a big unexplored idea at the heart of Civil War…. Read Article →

Easter Risings

The disconnect between Official Ireland and the rest of the population has rarely been highlighted as effectively as during the past ten days. The early Easter, barely a week after St Patrick’s Day, marks the contrast between the 1916 anniversary parade in Dublin this morning and the multiple parades around the country on 17 March. Dublin earlier today was locked down, as only invited guests were allowed onto O’Connell Street… Read Article →

Comics 103

Comics 103 I’m not really a comic book guy. I’m a story guy with a strong Sci-Fi interest. I didn’t follow comics as a kid, outside 200AD and Dredd. Instead I picked up a comic here and there, inbetween reading the collected Asimov stories, or Ursula K Le Guin and Philip K Dick in the school library. And a lot of Harlan Ellison for some reason. And more recently, Terry… Read Article →

Comics 102

Comics are two dimensional. Literally. And because of that, I harbour a regular bias against comic characters, who are as two dimensional as the format in which they appear. But as more of my leisure entertainment is rooted in comics, that bias is challenged more and more. That is to say, more of my entertainment seems to be rooted in comic book characters. I rarely read actual comics, but much… Read Article →

Comics 101

When I was a kid, comics were mostly filled with American superheroes, and British war heroes. Superman. Batman. Spiderman. Avengers. Battle. Victor. Warlord. Fireball. Action. For the younger kids, there was the Dandy. Beano. Topper. Whizzer and Chips. Marvel and DC came in the post from the USA, an intermittent treat from the American cousins. One of the things I read it for was the classifieds, offering such intriguing goods… Read Article →

Balance. Image via Morguefile

Public interests

I see enough bad news about the news business (the latest ABC figures, for example) so I thought I’d post these words, from Mr Justice Max Barrett on court reporting and privilege recently, on why court reporting matters. Court reports are not just of interest to the public; they meet a great public interest. In a liberal democracy that prizes individual freedoms, all branches of government are rightly subject to… Read Article →

Idle thoughts

How come Hollywood can build realistic dinosaur models and CGI spaceships, but the special effects department still can’t recreate realistic puking? Can someone please do me a director’s cut of Julie And Julia so that it’s just Julia? When a party tells you its manifesto is “fully costed”, remember they were “fully costed” in 2007 too. Based on property tax revenues. If someone holds a press conference and photo op,… Read Article →