Category Archives: 200 Words

Gerard Cunningham writes 200 Words at a time. Sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, whatever is going on around the place.

FOI: Censorship of Publications Board

Following a random conversation on Twiter in September 2018, I submitted a Freedom o Information request for the minutes of meetings of the Censorship of Publications Board between 2011 and the end of 2017. Alan Shatter’s Laura (“”) was complained about (the complaint was rejected) was among those books complained about, as was “Flatpack Feminism”, and for some reason, a book about St Anthony of Padua. So now, I’m curious… Read Article →

After Charleton

I wrote this before the Charleton tribunal first sat (and at a tim when I didn’t think I would be covering it). It feels appropriate to report it today. Every time a Morris report was published, experts and commentators suddenly appeared. They were almost entirely uninformed. And an awful lot of commentary will obsess about the tribunal’s costs. My sustained impression after almost a decade of seeing An Garda Síochána… Read Article →

Life Changes

Some thoughts while waiting for the count. Negative campaigning didn’t suppress the vote. It infuriated young voters tired of the dead hand of history and impatient for the polls to open so they could cast their vote and move on. And speaking of young people… The young voted against the Eighth in 1983, but they were outnumbered by the old. In 1983,Ireland has a young, educated population, half of them… Read Article →

The Eighth

Every foreign TV report of the Eighth campaign Cottage and sheep in the distance. Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Church spires. Farmer with a border collie. Keith Mills. Leo Varadkar’s socks. Nuns. Pantibar. Fintan O’Toole. Closing shot of sunset behind Hapenny bridge. Things you won’t hear during the Eighth campaign “And joining us now is [Insert Name] from Lolek Ltd, a privately-held limited company trading under the business name of the Iona… Read Article →

“What’s the going rate?”

Ideally, you decide your rate. Realistically, it’s a negotiation. Most of us start as pricetakers. If we’re lucky, we end up naming our price. We should all strive to reach that point. So what’s your rate? One way to decide is to work backward. Pick a gross yearly income target. Say €36K, more or less the average industrial wage. Research shows freelancers work about 180 days a year. Target divided by… Read Article →

Outside the bubble

About a fortnight ago, I accidentally escaped the Twitter filter bubble. Without thinking about it, I’ve been refining my online filter bubbles for a while, quietly unfollowing some accounts, muting others, occasionally blocking when to send a public signal. I do the same with particular keywords. Try it sometime. Twitter becomes a much nicer experience if you mute all mentions of ‘Trump’, for example. The thing is, at the same… Read Article →

Outside help

Last month, the Young Scientist of the Year contest was won by a kid who found  new kind of antibiotic in blackberries. There was some minor controversy afterwards, as it came out the kid had access to some facilities in a third level institution. It seems the use of outside facilities is allowed under the rules of the Young Scientist competition, provided it is acknowledged by the entrant, something that… Read Article →

Bump, Slump, and Subs

Facebook doesn’t want to be a publisher, and it really doesn’t want to be a news publisher, so it should come as no surprise their reaction to accusations they spread fake news is to kill all news in the “newfeed”. This brings us back to a long-running argument. The future of journalism is not in hunting page impressions on social media. Sure, tell people news sites exist, but the advertising micropennies… Read Article →

Journalism in 2018: A pocket guide

Don’t pivot to video. Or anything else that requires you to fire half your reporters in order to chase fickle advertising revenue. Google and Faceboook own advertising, That ship has sailed. Don’t think that anything good comes from firing subs. Fire your star controversialist first. Trust me, there will be a queue of mediocre white men lining up to replace him at half the cost. Don’t do humour. You’re not… Read Article →

Fry Up

They’ve wasted a perfectly good controversy The Irish police are investigating Stephen Fry for blasphemy. Well, not really. A few years ago, Fry gave one of those “If you’re so great, why is everything crap?” answers to Gay Byrne on a lightweight Irish religious programme when asked what he’d say if he ever met God. A viewer decided to put Irish law to the test, and complained to the police…. Read Article →