Its not for you.

Didn’t think I’d end up asking any questions or talking much at the UL #CrisisJournalism conference, being a lowly blogger. But ya know, instinctive decisions an all particularly when Dobbo makes a joke about having to declare an interest in the University while skeletons are being cleared out of wardrobes to make way for Panama hats.

Meant to  just ask him that, but the other speakers said some interesting things an Gemma O’Doherty  (multi award-winning Irish investigative journalist, blacklisted by the Irish mainstream media establishment and considered a “rogue reporter” by her former employer INM, Denis O’Brien. ) spoke who’s obviously pretty fuckin cool. Tone setting an all.

So thought maybe it was a real lets talk about ideas thing. Went to ask my question an got lost in my notes as it rapidly became obvious that wasn’t the case an forgot to ask my original one: do you have any other interests to declare?  So just did da usual make some noise an tell the establishment they’re being all establishment an that’s not going to get us anywhere. And threw the interests thing in as an afterthought to very poorly expressed thoughts.

Not sure what I said, the notes are all a mix of how to overcome this Us Vs Them setup with one culture of people doing all the talking. Which was fine when the rest of us had a culture and hope and now this crisis in journalism is really a reflection of a need to evolve psychologically and culturally in how we view ourselves as human beings.  We’re flawed, deal with it.

It isn’t a difficult thing to do to convince people that a lil more tax in favour of a better infrastructure and health system is all around a good thing. The Irish Times own exit poll said pretty much that.  It isn’t a massive leap from that starting position to postcodes don’t determine genetic code.

Maybe that was a bit much for so lil sleep, no prep an one of the first people to grab da mic coz I was hyper as fuck after Gemma O’Dohertys talk to attempt to properly convey along with some sort of air of legitmacy. The piece with the Inquirer was my favourite to date to do and to let other people do the talking, as you can see self expression isn’t a problem.  Usually.

It seems to work like this, the big names just talk. You can ask a question but no follow up questions, although this is something other journalists on the panel were raising as an issue for them when they ask questions so it seemed like a legit enough route, to take a conversational tone. Nope.

I’ll put more time into that in future, its a two way street, compromise happens on all sides. I’m also learning to spell these things out, and be clear who the tone is aimed at, what’s a casual joke to some seems to really grate on the class sensibilities. Which is something that would be influenced by experience. If you experience more extreme situations there appears to be a larger threshold for shock. So jokes are read as aggressive a lot of the time. Fair enough. Its something which used to get to me, lets talk about our emotions sometimes instead of turning everything into a buzz, within reason don’t start going low fat butter on me but when times are tough people tend to be tough on each other. That probably serves some sort of social purpose. And it seems like in general people are being a little bit kinder and gentler with each other.

So lets make that clear, its a fairly safe bet that people who want to influence ideas in the same direction are better off for the most part getting on with each other. At least to the point of being able to debate ideas without taking everything personally.

And some of the ideas were interesting, the only thing is that we’ve kinda heard all this before, its the standard spiel on the most part, something people will admit to. Which is cool when its not a crisis. When it is a crisis, people like me happen. People who’ve had enough of other people just doing enough to keep their own head, a lot of the time quite comfortably above water. When times are good we can all go back to doing that.

The panel discussion was interesting in terms of what some of the other lads were saying about how their particular outlet of ‘Radical media’ operates.  I never claimed be that radical or to speak for anyone but myself because I can’t and it’s pretty much the most patronising thing you can do. Particularly when its ‘people pissed off enough at austerity to shoot Labour in the head and collectively as a citizenry stand there with arms folded in disgust at the games being played out as the country mysteriously seems to be running itself although we all know it’s the shadowy civil servants (I did tech support in Forfas) and the implications it has on our lives which are getting shitter’. That’s a lot of people, which was something I didn’t expect to have to get across.  There’s a whole spectrum of people all living utterly different lives, as easy as it is to reduce everything to Tabloid Vs Clever Academics, it gets us exactly where we are as a culture. Leave it up to the experts, the people who know better, don’t try that now you might make a mistake. Please do make mistakes. That’s how we learn and adapt. We all make mistakes, I seriously regret not preparing better for the conference and not being more reasoned and chilled.  Suppose personally it was intimidating because suddenly I was surrounded by people who all seemed to know me quite well which was unexpectedly off putting. Both because people knew quite a bit about me but I knew next to nothing about them. Which seems to be a reflection of the established culture of ‘radical’ journalism, there seems general disdain for celebrity mixed with a fear of revealing yourself or your views about anything inside the echo chamber. Outside, not a bother.

It’s uncomfortable for me too, one of the organisers remarked that I seemed quite shy, I dunno about shy, tired and a lil overwhelmed yup and very nervous. When Gemma O’Doherty  (multi award-winning Irish investigative journalist, blacklisted by the Irish mainstream media establishment and considered a “rogue reporter” by her former employer INM, Denis O’Brien. ) congratulates ya its a little bit of a jump from making grim tea and poverty jokes on Facebook, which again apparently a lot of people read. I wasn’t really aware of how many eyes were on da book but the t’s are well crossed if the quantity is anything to go by.

And that’s kinda the point, it does take guts to ask questions and to try to communicate your position in an environment where ya haven’t a clue who’s who and everyone knows you. But as journalists that’s the job. I’m a gobshite. I studied Physics (degree well yet to be finished) made a few mistakes an fell into journalism. Why is Gemma O’Doherty  (multi award-winning Irish investigative journalist, blacklisted by the Irish mainstream media establishment and considered a “rogue reporter” by her former employer INM, Denis O’Brien. ) Congratulating me?  I only started writing last year.

There’s a serious problem if a woman with that kind of bravery is congratulating me at a time like this when there are so many ‘Irish Watergates’ to be had. It was raised at the conference that Irish Journalism missed its Watergate in the crisis. Does Irish journalism want to look back in another 8 years and see the devastation which happened under its watch?   A lot of people are not doing their jobs if it takes a muppet like me slagging off a few hacks from a Travelodge to be getting recognition from someone like Gemma. The Travelodge needed bigger tea making facilities we’re gonna need bigger, braver hearts. And a lot of people to start doing their J.O.B’s. We’re paying.  A lot of people are paying a big price for want of some research teams, a little backbone and some respect for ideas and thinking again.

Like the Broadsheet.ie team did, g’wan da sheet!

In Othered News Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey changed politics in Scotland by writing an article and then he released this timely track.  I’m misquoting his excellent lyrics so go listen, then form some opinions then break em and form them again, differently.

 

‪#‎ShareIfItsUnfair‬

#itsUnfair
Sign my petition please tryna grab myself a ticket outta da inner city by writing music that appeals to white journalists in their 50s. I’m ok with bridges but I’ll leave ya in stiches with ur bodies of work twitchin’ nervously.
‪#‎Hashtag‬
We besto rights on other people but our shit ideas still need protecting.
Hashtag Share If Its Unfair
‪#‎shareCozItsUnfairNotCozItsObscureItsunfair‬

 

 

 

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