By Andrew Carey
WHILE technology is dictating how news is delivered in the age of digital media, good storytelling and quality journalism will stand out on any news platform, according to Irish Times editor Kevin O’Sullivan.
Presenting the Irish Times Journalism award to University of Limerick student Ruth O’Shaughnessy for her work on the implementation of the European Globalisation Fund programme at Dell, Mr O’Sullivan said that while news gathering was increasingly ‘digital first’, it didn’t mean the role of the newspaper was devalued.
“We are, and will continue to be, in the business of breaking significant news but a core strength in our case will be interpretation. That’s what we feel we are good at. We will publish journalism in the public interest – and that might come at a cost,” he explained.
In the new world of citizen journalism, Mr O’Sullivan said that tweeting first may not always be correct as it is still important to check all the facts.
“The world has got very noisy in the media sense but good storytelling and quality journalism still stand out on any platform or channel… and are increasingly considered of value,” he continued.
Addressing UL journalism students on the role of the journalist in the multimedia era, Mr O’Sullivan acknowledged that a cultural shift in tone was needed to respond to the change in reading and consumption patterns.
Acknowledging that there would be winners and losers in the new media landscape, the Irish Times editor said that the world of journalism was still “exciting, chaotic and unrelenting”.
He said that a vibrant curiosity, a sharp news sense and the ability to write and communicate with clarity are still highly valuable in the media business.
Addressing the issue of how journalism will be financed in the future, he questioned whether or not the ‘paid content horse’ had bolted in that “the majority of consumers will never again consider news something they have to pay for”. Mr O’Sullivan added that “digital platforms are notable for their new and engaging informality, but for many traditional newspapers, that is a different country. A cultural shift in tone is required… a move to smart, fun, witty; basic and sophisticated all at the same time is required, it’s the digital way of doing content. There is no guarantee of media success in the current flux but fairness and rigorous adherence to facts are prerequisites for sound journalism,” Mr O’Sullivan concluded.
By Andrew Carey