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 upcoming second series of You Couldn’t Make It Up, our comedy news panel show for Newstalk, fast approaches, it got me thinking about its long and treacherous journey thus far. Back on Newstalk for a second 10-week run from January 19th, it's been around the houses just to get this far. As we often describe it, it's the show that refuses to die, such has been its regular resurgences just when we think its pulse is no more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.