On a flying visit to his native Dublin, freelance journalist Philip O'Connor, the man behind his own media blog and podcast, the wonderfully titled Our Man In Stockholm, dropped by for the tenth media-savvy Off Message podcast. We chewed the fat on his attempt to crowdfund much of his journalism income, how he uses social media to generate work, his often outspoken tone online, his unique and unusual route into journalism, and loads more.
As the Press Council of Ireland nears the end of its tenth year in operation, Press Ombudsman, Peter Feeney is my guest on the ninth media-savvy Off Message podcast. Our chat explored the vagaries of dealing with complaints for both online and print publications, his previous lengthy career in RTE making programmes and overseeing their Freedom of Information activity, his love of local newspapers, his predictions for the future of the press and public service broadcasting, and lots more.
Just a year into her most high-profile radio job to date, the eighth media-curious Off Message podcast features Newstalk's Lunchtime Live presenter Ciara Kelly. During our 50-odd minute chat we chewed the media fat on debating extremists, social media bullying and detoxing, developing a media career without having to hustle, taking over a big show after an equally big controversy, and loads more.
The seventh media-friendly Off Message podcast - Off Message #50 overall...hurrah! - is with Nadine O'Regan, Books and Arts Editor and current (no relation) Off Message columnist with the Sunday Business Post. During our chat, Nadine discussed how it felt to recently have her long-running Today FM show, Songs In The Key Of Life, rather unceremoniously dropped by the station; her own not insignificant role in the globally successful West Cork podcast; growing up in a household steeped in print journalism; her own very peculiar roundabout route into the business, and much more.
Now that all the fuss and excitement has died down I figured I should write a few words about the whole First Dates experience. When I agreed to do it little did I know the impact it would have. Of all the one-off television appearances I’ve done over the years, there’s no doubt it was the one that blew up the most. Mostly due to one simple factor.
Dealing with the musical chairs of changing commissioning faces is part and parcel of being a freelancer pitching ideas in the media. Here in Ireland such cross-network, -station, -site or -publication movement is relatively rare but in bigger media markets it’s so frequent as to be expected. When it happens it has both its pros and cons.
The third Off Message media-mad podcast features Mark Little, a man who's already been around the media block more than once. As you might imagine we had a lot to talk about, from the nitty gritty of his new business venture, to his reaction when Rupert Murdoch came sniffing round his last one, to the importance of genuine critical feedback, to how his own personal media consumption has changed radically over the years, and loads more.
Here, is the second media-curious Off Message podcast, featuring Susan Daly, editor of TheJournal.ie for the past seven years, and during our chat we debated, discussed and dissected the impact of fake news, the existence of media bias, the role of an online news editor, sexual discrimination and harassment in the media, whether TheJournal.ie would ever charge for news, and loads more.
Christmas may well be the season for giving but in the particularly unforgiving media business rejection happens all year round; and the festive season is no exception. Dealing with all this negativity successfully is vital if you want to stay the pace.
The debut Off Message podcast, featuring the media-related wit and wisdom of RTÉ 2fm's music-and-movie-mad Dave Fanning. Over the course of our chat Dave reminisces about his almost completely accidental career journey; how his RTÉ career hasn't exactly gone to plan; whether he'd ever ask U2 the hard questions; his unconventional advice for succeeding in the media world, and at a typical Fanning rate of knots, of course much, much more.
Off Message won an Irish Blog Award recently. Get us, huh? I was of course delighted. But now I'm wondering if winning an award like this has any real and measurable impact on one’s career. It's tricky to quantify.
The other day I had the most unexpected – and more than a little frightening – thought: I wondered if coming home was a mistake. I spent 11 years in London, returning to Dublin in 2009 when RTÉ commissioned a TV idea I'd had. It got me thinking about the pros and cons of my return.
Real honesty in the media is a rare thing. I don’t mean in its coverage and output. No, I’m talking about the honesty of those of us lucky enough to work in the business when we're discussing in public the day-to-day workings of our job. And my blogposts to date prove I'm as guilty as anyone else.
When freelancing work dries up (or at least goes eerily quiet for a while) you’re forced to get your pitching mojo back on. Which is where I’m at right now, partially because of Brexit, surprisingly enough. And whatever the outcomes it’s the waiting that kills you.
I spent most of November in Maximum Media helping them produce a series of short videos. I’ve read a lot about ‘new media’ changes and their impact on their ‘old media’ cousins over the past decade but seeing one of these ‘new media’ models up close and personal over the past while was an invaluable personal first.
As I left RTÉ last week at the end of another long run there I was very aware that I hadn’t a gig lined up to go to anywhere else anytime soon. Oddly I wasn't too worried, which as a freelancer is a very weird feeling.
10 years on from Reporters At War winning its Emmy, I remember I hoped it'd help me get to spend some real time in NYC. It didn't. I blame Steven Spielberg...kinda.
Now the taxman has done damage to bank balances it is indeed beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And it's a particularly weird period in TV and radio.
Having to look after all your own tax affairs is just one of the things you have to consider when thinking of becoming a freelancer. Here are the main pros and cons, as far as I can tell.
As a freelancer I’m constantly thinking about what makes a successful idea. And in most cases, especially for long running formats, simplicity is the key. If you can’t explain it in a very short paragraph – think of the sentence or two you’d have in TV listings – then the odds are stacked against you.