PROFILE: PAUL O’NEILL
NÓRA QUOIRIN: THE FRENCH CONNECTION
IRISH TIMES IMAGE
IN AN unusually unsubtle PR move, the Irish Times announced the editorial promotion of two women the weekend following The Phoenix story about alleged bullying and discrimination against the paper’s women journalists (see The Phoenix, 26/7/19).
MICHELLE’S MAYO MADNESSFINE GAEL farming members, a mainstay of the party for generations, are not enamoured of their Galway West TD, the fragrant Hildegarde Naughton, but they do rather like their party’s Mayo senator, Michelle Mulherin. Hildegarde is chair of the Oireachtas joint committee on climate action... Read more »
BANNING THE DAILY MAIL
THE SINDO’S TOP TIPS
ANYONE paying rent these days is aware of the extortionate prices being charged by landlords, but never fear the Sindo has some groundbreaking tips to escape the “rental trap so you can own your home.”
And here they are: Start saving, move back home, get a handout, get a state digout, get an exemption, record rent paid, tidy up finances, move county, move country, get it tax-free, watch out for CGT and last but not least – avoid family rifts.
MEDIAHUIS SPANNER IN IT WORKS
DENIS O’BRIEN’S TROPICAL STORMS
FIRST CLASS SECOND CAPTAINS
PRESS COUNCIL — SECRET INFO
KATIE TAYLOR’S (UN)DISPUTED VICTORY
MARIA BAILEY AND PAUL ALLEN
RTÉ’S POLITICAL PRIORITIES
THE INDO has finally caught up with Goldhawk who predicted at the start of May that Peter Vandermeersch would be keeping a close eye on the Talbot St outfit.
NIALL MCGARRY’S ‘IRISH BUZZFEED’
IRISH TIMES RESUMES BANGING THE DRUM
NO CHANGE IN CLIMATE AT RTÉ
RTE’S LIBEL REGIME
CHANGES ARE afoot at RTÉ where Eamonn Kennedy has left the role Director of Legal Affairs after 24 years.
He will be replaced by media Lawyer Paula Mullooly who is also stepping into the role of Group Secretary.
Previously working with A&L Goodbody, Mullooly has advised the station in its programme making for a number of years and has served two terms on the Compliance Committee at the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
Nervous souls at the national broadcaster will also be encouraged that Mullooly served on the government’s Advisory Committee on the Defamation Bill in 2003.
FIANNA FAIL AND LIBEL REFORMIN laudable proposals to “sustain high quality journalism in Irish public life”, Fianna Fail last July demanded a review of the libel laws in a cry from communications spokesman, Timmy Dooley, in support of “the democratic need for freedom of expression”. This was welcomed by... Read more »
RTÉ’S COMPLIANCE CONCERNS
FANS OF Irish daytime TV will be familiar with Today with Maura and Daithí, fronted by the dream team of Maura Derrane and Daithí Ó Sé. This is the daily, two-hour, RTÉ One show that “brings you the latest showbiz news, comment and opinion, Ireland’s biggest giveaways, inspirational fashion tips and recipes”. However, according to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland(BAI), the popular production may also be bringing viewers some product placement. This has resulted in the issuing of a warning notice.
Read more in the latest issue of The Phoenix.
REVIEW: WINGMAN – RTÉ ONE
THE LATEST Baz Ashmawy vehicle got off to a typically improbable start when the manic-eyed presenter assured viewers that, “with the right help, anything is possible”. This new exercise is depressingly similar to his hit show 50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy – a huge commercial success thanks to Sky’s involvement.
Read the full review in the latest issue.
DANA’S CROSS-BORDER LIBELS
EX-PRESIDENTIAL candidate and singer, Dana, took the Sunday World for a sum not far off €200,000 plus mammoth legal costs in the Belfast High Court last November with the newspaper apologising for material on its website and Facebook page.
Despite this admission from the Sunday Worst, Independent News & Media (INM), owners of Sunday Newspapers – its subsidiary that publishes the Worst – is resisting exactly the same libel action in the Dublin High Court.
Read more about it in the latest issue.
And you can read more about ‘Dana’s Libel Saga’ from November last, here for free.
SAME OLD SONG: ‘ANTI-SEMITISM’
IRISH TIMES opinion formers lapsed into pro-Israeli sentiment recently, not for the first time, as defenders of Israel’s hosting of the Eurovision song contest dominated the newspaper’s columns. Supporters of BDS (Boycott, Divestment Sanctions) were relegated to the letters pages and occasional quotes rejecting allegations of extremism.
The IT published a lengthy interview with Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, Ophir Kariv, in which he denounced boycott supporters as “a very extreme minority”. This was followed by another substantial column by staff journalist, Mark Paul, who claimed that boycotting Eurovision in Israel paralleled the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in the 1930s.
Two lengthy opinion pieces from resident PC polemicists, Fintan O’Toole and Hugh Linehan, agonised over the arguments on both sides but failed to say whether they agreed or disagreed with the boycott.
‘SEXED UP’ DEBATES
RTÉ have taken some flak and even a High Court challenge in recent weeks over the selection of panels for election coverage. Labour’s Dominic Hannigan was incensed following his exclusion from a Week in Politics debate and penned a letter accusing the station of “sexing up its coverage” and “making up the rules as it went along”.
RTÉ have justified their decisions based on past and present electoral performance. However, even Luke ‘Ming’ Flannagan, an outgoing MEP, tweeted his surprise after RTÉ shared a photo of rival candidates preparing for a debate in studio yesterday.
— Luke 'Ming' Flanagan (@lukeming) May 15, 2019
SHADY DATA PRACTICES
READERS WILL have been amused to see Breda O’Brien railing against online political advertising in last weekend’s Irish Times. While referencing the 2008 Obama campaign and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the columnist had rather less to say about technical innovations adopted by the No campaign during last year’s Eighth Amendment referendum.
Shady data practices and ethically dubious modern campaign methods became typical in this jurisdiction as two major anti-abortion groups, Love Both and Save the 8th, employed a host of digital gurus and gimmicky applications in an effort to emulate sensational right-wing victories elsewhere.
COURT’S MEDIA MUZZLE
THERE WAS much consternation on Friday when Justice Paul McDermott ordered reporting restrictions on the Ana Kriegel murder trial. Journalist Sarah Jane Murphy was quick to condemn “careless/vindictive tweeters” who “act like children on social media”.
Michael O’Toole from The Star lambasted Twitter to “stop fucking commenting, flutes”, while Declan Brennan of Courts News despaired at the “level of misunderstanding in the general public about how criminal trials run”.
Later, however, the Judge varied the original order to restrict a single media publisher, without reference to any social media commentary.
DERVAN’S FIERY FAI DEBUT
THE THEN FAI boss John Delaney announced the appointment of veteran sports hack Cathal Dervan as the FAI’s director of public relations and communications, with the following remarks: “These are exciting times for the game in Ireland… there is a lot to look forward to… we are also about to introduce new governance procedures at an EGM in early February and how we communicate all this going forward is very important to the association. I wish Cathal and the team the very best.” Ironic or what.
Read more in the latest issue.
‘BUSINESS POST’ BUSINESS
SUNDAY BUSINESS POST chief executive Siobhán Lennon’s goodbye bash in Doheny & Nesbitt’s Baggot Street hostelry last week saw her replacement, Colm O’Reilly, mingle with the newspaper’s hacks and other staff. O’Reilly has a rather different professional pedigree to Lennon’s, but he is a close colleague and partner of Post proprietor Enda O’Coineen.
Read more in the latest issue out now.
FIONNAN SHEAHAN’S PROMO
HOW VERY strange are the promotions of Irish Independent editor, Fionnan Sheahan and Sunday Independent editor, Cormac Bourke to the new posts of editor-in-chief, and editor of the Irish and Sunday Indo titles respectively. And what timing, with the titles bestowed on them within two days of the Belgian takeover.
Just under a year ago the Irish Independent gave the official line about “a new group strategy” with the abolition of Stephen Rae’s job as editor-in-chief. There followed —within days of Rae’s departure — the appointment of Richard McClean in the newly created position of managing director of publishing in Ireland. As the Indo pointed out, the job of editor-in-chief had “been discontinued”.
Now, the job of editor-in-chief has been, er, recontinued with Sheahan in position while Bourke has added the daily paper to his Sunday newspaper editorial responsibility. Even more confusingly, the editor-in-chief post was to be replaced by the new post of MD publishing, ie, McClean.
SEX & MURDER: THE INDO’S SALACIOUS COVERAGE
CONGRATULATIONS to the Indo for managing to churn out no less than 25 stories over 21 pages of print on the so-called ‘Love Rival Murder Trial’ over the last two days. Here are those headlines:
‘We have got justice for Daddy today’ – relief for family after trauma of three-month ordeal
Prisoner 107243 put on suicide watch as Quirke begins his new life behind bars
Eerie silence hung in court as jury delivered verdict
INM’S BELGIAN IMPORT?
NERVOUS HACKS at Independent House must be wondering what kind of changes the imminent Belgian owners of Independent News and Media have in mind. While the current noises emanating from Mediahuis are soothing, it is clear that any new owner of a media group will bring its own ideas. Interesting then to see that one Peter Vandermeersch, outgoing editor-in-chief of the Mediahuis-owned Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, has taken a very strong interest in Irish journalists.
No sooner had the Mediahuis-INM deal been announced than Van de Man got busy following an array of hacks on Twitter – most of them, naturally, from INM’s stable. By Goldhawk’s reckoning, the Belgian editor is now following around than 120 Irish hacks of various hues.
While it is not surprising to see the likes of Indo editor Fionnan Sheahan and Sindo editor Cormac Bourke, as well as their many minions, appear on the list, Vandermeersch has also expanded his range to include various other media entities (print, online and broadcasting) and their staff, including the likes of Pat Kenny, Emmet Oliver, Katie Hannon and Róisín Ingle.
While shareholders may have taken a bruising this week, press reactions to the takeover at Independent News & Media were broadly optimistic. Commentators were keen to emphasise the business acumen of Mediahuis and their “focus on quality journalism”. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Belgian publisher which had some INM-type battles of its own.
The Irish Independent reports that Mediahuis “continues its rapid expansion” while the Irish Times announced the arrival of “one of Europe’s fastest growing media groups”. The company was invariably described as an international group despite the Dublin takeover being their first foray outside of its Benelux heartland. READ MORE »
ANNE HARRIS & DENIS O’BRIEN’S ‘CONTROL’
“A JADED CANARD laid to rest” was how Anne Harris described Denis O’Brien’s approval of the INM sale in today‘s Irish Times indicating, she claimed, that this proved he had controlled the company all along, despite vigorous denials.
In fact, the sale’s approval was a result of not only O’Brien’s but also Desmond’s endorsement. No matter. Harris had a particular grievance arising from an article that she wrote — as Sunday Independent editor — and which was heavily ‘edited’ (ie, censored) by then group-editor-in-chief, Stephen Rae in later editions of the Sindo that Saturday night. Chief among the changes was the deletion of a sentence stating, “in practice he does (control INM)”.