Pressure Points

I posted this graph in yesterday’s 200 Words.

Scandal timelineI created it as a clearer version of Simon McGarr’s “Scandal Timeline”, below.


Journalists have criticised the graph, pointing out the story in response to which it was created — Tuam mass graves — was broken by the Daily Mail (and earlier, the Connacht Tribune).


They have a point. The Tribune, Mail and Journal covered it. Philip Boucher-Hayes did an excellent Liveline. That’s the news process. A story breaks. Others move it on.

And yet, there’s a kernel of truth to the graph. It wasn’t until international media reported the story that the Irish Times ran with it. Why, social media asks, didn’t the Paper of Record do its part to move the story on?

McGarr points to other stories fitting the Scandal Timeline template. Gutting Freedom of Information. The McAleese Report. Brian Cowen’s portrait. Pantigate.

Yes, some were broken by the mainstream press. Yes, the Timeline is a blunt instrument. But yes, there are stories that bubble under until social pressure pushes them outwards.

Too often, a story isn’t reported until there’s an official reaction, Too often, it’s not until a foreign outlet reports that an Irish story gets an official reaction.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.