Newstalk's Chris Donoghue with UL Journalism students, Ruth O'Shaughnessy and Liam Gleeson.
Newstalk’s Chris Donoghue is the latest journalist to openly criticise Independent News and Media’s (INM) proposed editorial charter.
Speaking at the University of Limerick (UL), the co-host of the popular breakfast show on Newstalk Radio, also controlled by Dennis O’Brien’s Communicorp Group said that he certainly ‘would not sign anything like it’.
“Sustained and constant criticism was what was missing during Ireland’s boom years,” according to Donoghue.
“Journalists got very caught up in the situation like everyone else. Just like regulator, Patrick Neary was asleep, some journalists were also asleep,” he added.
“Such criticism definitely has a place in Irish journalism, and I for one would not sign any charter to say that I wouldn’t use it within news reporting.”
The charter proposes that journalists should obtain written approval from INM’s group managing editor before they submit material deemed to include sustained and constant
The draft agreement is primarily aimed at INM print titles, the Irish and Sunday Independent and the Sunday World, of which O’Brien now holds nearly a 30 per cent stake.
Although it does not include radio, the charter would cover online and digital platforms, and any journalist found to be in breach of the charter would face disciplinary action and even
The charter is currently only at discussion stage, but has already been criticised as interfering with the freedom of the Irish press.
It has also received internal criticism by journalists within the INM Group.
In an article printed in the Sunday Independent, Colum Kenny wrote that: ‘sometimes a bit of harshness is due’.
Kenny also said that the decision of when to use sustained criticism should lie in the hands of the newspaper’s editor and not management or investors.
O’Brien, who owns 29.9 per cent of INM had previously expressed his dissatisfaction over how his business affairs had been covered by the Sunday Independent, especially since he successfully opposed the re election of the group’s chairman, James Osborne and finance director, Donal Buggy.
Decline of Print media
Donoghue was speaking as part of UL’s Current Issues in Irish Journalism seminar series yesterday.
The Dubliner also challenged the belief that print media is in decline.
He said events such as the Savita Hallapanavar story could only have run on broadcast media after they had been broken through print first.
“Radio has different strengths, and although I love working in radio, it often struggles to put something like that on record, so that people can go back over the actual facts of the story.
“Give me ten minutes on the internet and I will find you at least ten stories that wouldn’t have ended up on broadcast if print media had not broken the actual story first,” Donoghue said.
Talking about the migration from print to online content, Donoghue said the problem faced by the media industry was how to make people pay for content.
"RTE usually dominates the direction that Irish media follows in relation to charging for content," he said.
He added that, by deciding not to charge for their original news app, other media organisations then followed suit, and the problem commercial media outlets then encounter is how to make people pay for anything.
“People today are willing to pay a euro for one bar of chocolate, yet they’re not willing to pay 79 cent for a media related app’s”.
He also outlined the importance of shorthand as a journalistic skill and being able to diversify skills over different media platforms, especially in relation to new media.
My Purple Chair
The My Purple Chair title was born from my favourite place to sit and think about what's happening in the world. It's old but comfortable. So i suppose it's a bit like myself!