Category Archives: Longform:200plus

On voting

I wasn’t at home for the divorce referendum in 1995, so I could only follow it from a distance online. It wasn’t until a few years later I got talking to my brother about the day of the vote. He was off work, or they finished a job early that day (I can’t remember which), and they ended up in the pub. And across the street from the pub is… 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 →

The Charleton Report

As possibly the only journalist in Ireland to have covered two Garda tribunals of inquiry in their entirety, I should probably say a few words about what will probably come to be known in shorthand as the Charleton Tribunal. For starters, although I’d be glad to do so, it’s deeply unlikely I will cover a third Garda inquiry. The Morris and Smithwick tribunals &em; Morris in particular &em; occurred under… Read Article →

Jobbridge and Freedom of Information

Victory of a sort…but mostly not In March 2012, I sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Social Protection (DSP), looking for the Jobbridge database. By July of the same year, DSP had replied with some of what I sought, but I had some problems, and so an appeals process began. My first problem was the DSP refusal to provide details of companies which had asked for… Read Article →

From Panti to Garth

200+ I was contacted by a student a few days ago, asking for my reaction to the statement that the media was overwhelmingly dominated by a narrow middle class perspective. This was my initial reply, which also riffed on the PantiBliss debate. I know some journalists who are predictably middle class. I know others who are right wing lunatics. And an equal number who are left wing lunatics. Mostly they’re… Read Article →

The news in 2014

JANUARY: Following Murdoch takeover, Storyful announce new unit dedicated to verifying iPhone papshots of C-list celebrities. FEBRUARY: MicroSoft finally figures out how to make money out of Nokia, announce relaunch of 6310i. MARCH: Edward Snowden reveals NSA secretly unfollows your friends on twitter, sends ‘likes’ of John Waters to Facebook on your behalf. APRIL: All national print and broadcast media put days of effort into April Fools’ hoaxes. Nobody laughs…. Read Article →

On copyright

I’ve been reading Modernising Copyright, the report of the Copyright Review Committee (CRC), and decided to put my initial thoughts down in writing. Be warned, if you’re used to the 200 word bites on here, this article is considerably longer. Colmcille As is noted to the point of fatigue in Irish writings on copyright, the Irish invented the concept, according to half-legend. Specifically, Colmcille copied a psalter, the creator of… Read Article →

Guest Post: Guth – why we need a new media voice in Ireland

By Philip O’Connor As soon as Gerard Cunningham suggested the idea of a new independent Irish news magazine run by journalists to me, I was onboard. And here’s why. Modern media is a complex business where the interests of shareholders, advertisers, editors, journalists and readers seldom converge. Decisions about what stories to cover are taken for a wide variety of reasons – many of them commercial, as evidenced by the… Read Article →

Commercially sensitive

Below is the decision of the appeals officer in the department of social protection in response to my arguments seeking the release of full records from the JobBridge programme. Short version, they said no. Back in June, I blogged the issues I intended to raise in my FOI appeal, for those of you who need a refresher. I have six months to appeal the decision. I’ve already outlined some of… Read Article →

JobBridge: The Story So Far

Back in March 2012, I sent a Freedom of Information request to FÁS and the Department of Social Protection (DSP) seeking two items: (1) Records maintained by FÁS relating to the number of jobbridge positions accepted by participants, how many jobbridge programmes have been completed, and relating to what happened afterwards to participants. (2) Records relating to the assessment, monitoring, quality control mechanisms etc FÁS is using in relation to… Read Article →