There are not that many journalists in Ireland according to former usage of the title. When I entered the newspaper industry in 1964 there were about twenty called journalists in Ireland, mostly in Dublin and Cork – the rest were called reporters.
You have many more College of Journalism graduates calling themselves journalists today, even commentators on local radio, sometimes even disc jockeys and comperes. None of them are journalists or even reporters, but rather media operatives.
The late President of the Institute of Journalists Chris Underwood of London, former home affairs correspondent of the BBC, always said that he has less time for the college graduates who called themselves journalists than he had for the school leaver who started into real journalism by joining the local newspaper to make the tea and light the fire.
He had a point for these latter were thrown in at the deep end and learned under fire, so to speak – and there were editors who could dish out the compliments as deserved in the most colourful language.
Sadly today the profession is governed by rules of political correctitude. For instance the NUJ had a Code of Conduct on ethnic issues drawn up – by a committee of ten without a Caucasian on it! The NUJ is ever governed itself by a national executive of some self-confessed trotskyists more concerned with their careers in London politics than with the status of journalism , pay and conditions.
They are more concerned with maintaining ever – increasing quotas of ethnic journalists in jobs in television in the BBC and ITV than they are with the quality of journalism overall. You can’t pick writers by their ethnicity. Their policing of what is written was well and truly foretold by Orwell – even worse has come to pass in the time from a 1984 that seems tame in comparison to the reality on the ground in journalism today in 2018.
It’s perfectly understandable if journalists take a leftist or liberal approach as we are dealing with injustices on the ground all our lives , but we must not lay down ground rules excluding other journalists who may disagree with the Union view. The profession was always known for its grand tolerance and understanding, thus the NUJ closed shop as it exists today is totally wrong as it is enforced.
It’s fine to ensure that all entering the profession have undertaken adequate training in their formative years, but laying down political and ethnic conditions and making them obligatory under the closed shop is wrong and in fact militates against the principles and practices of real journalism.
Thus we have political picketers who hardly ever write carrying NUJ cards today. There are horror stories of some of the more independent writers being barred or otherwise excluded that every journalist knows about and that serve to hold the rest of them in line. Some of the best journalists haven’t been published in years, but at least today they can publish online.
Concerning abortion, all NUJ member journalists are required to write in favour of abortion on demand everywhere and this has been the situation for years. As Chris Underwood held in his day, it is not the job of any journalists’ association to tell its member journalists how to write on anything – though he himself favoured the availability of abortion. It’s much the same writing about climate change – which we still regard as The Hoax of the Twentieth Century.
To get to the news that is deliberately being hidden you simply must go online today. A mosque was being planned for a provincial Irish city recently. The local online newspaper, The Kilkenny Journal, came out and revealed the news while the regular press either didn’t have the news or were hiding it.
Then the editor of the Kilkenny Journal was excoriated by left wingers online for daring to reveal that the mosque, which has now gotten planning permission from the local Council, was being built. The point that everybody has a right to know was totally ignored while the left went after the editor’s blood for daring to reveal that news.
Yet none of these lefties or liberals stood to profit in any way from their targeting of an editor for widespread abuse. Today in communications there are nasty little civil wars going on behind the scenes and we hope to report more of it. There was a civil war in Ireland, mercifully without the guns, over the marriage equality referendum.
There was more such abuse poured on the editor for supporting the new bridge for Kilkenny that is now built and loved by many drivers today – though there were very ugly scenes with the police and objectors while it was being built.
The editor, whilst agreeing with the local Kilkenny County Council that the new bridge was a dire necessity, though with the reservation that it could be designed to look more fitting into the medieval town vernacular, was still abused up and down the town by the protesters for daring to support that bridge, now a great success.
Incidentally the editor was right as the new bridge did not even have an architect as he pointed out, but was taken directly out of a local government catalogue of ready-designed bridges!
Yet, as we also pointed out, because of its situation it brought fabulous river vistas into view, such as this stunning photo taken on the new bridge.
“Dull would he be who could pass by…”
PHOTO BY MICHAEL McGRATH, KILKENNY.