Off Message

Media-curious podcast and blog based on personal experience and coffee-fuelled observation

Podcast 16: Jon Williams – Off Message 64

In Off Message #16 Jon Williams, Managing Director of RTÉ News & Current Affairs, discusses with Pat the massive changes RTÉ have implemented in the face of the Covid19 crisis, the lengths they’ve gone to to deal with any mental health issues their employees might now have, the unprecedented financial hit RTÉ and all other media organisations are currently taking, his own fascinating pre-RTÉ career, and loads more.

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Action Stations: The Media in This Time of Coronavirus – Off Message 63

It’s been fascinating to watch, read and listen to from outside the massive impact the coronavirus has been having on the media since the outbreak rapidly took hold here and globally a few weeks back. In a business that has undergone dramatic changes in the last few decades, particularly since the onset of digitalisation, these have paled in comparisons to how production practices have altered in the last month across radio, television, print and online.

It’s been a real eye-opener to observe from a distance how consentingly quick these universal updates have been implemented to ensure programmes go to air, papers and magazines go to print and all kinds of websites get published, while simultaneously attempting to ensure the health of everyone involved.

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Podcast 15: Ian Kehoe & Tom Lyons – Off Message 62

In Off Message #15 Ian Kehoe and Tom Lyons, the pair behind the new Irish business-news website, The Currency, discuss with Pat O’Mahony the ethos of their new venture and their plans for its long term future, the need for more diversity in the media, why being banned by Communicorp’s radio stations was such a big deal, and loads more.

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Podcast 14: Trust Me, I’m A Journalist – Off Message 61

Has the media lost our trust? If so, what can it do to regain it? More importantly, should we ever actually fully trust our media?

On the night Ireland played Denmark in a vital Euro 2020 qualifier down the road in the Aviva Stadium, a quartet of the good and the great of Irish media gathered in Whelan’s on Dublin’s Wexford St as part of the Dublin Podcast Festival to discuss and debate with me perhaps the most important issue of a business they would all see as vital to the well-being of society yet one which has long been in a state of turmoil, exploring why trust in the Fourth Estate is currently at an all time low, explaining the very real impacts this lack of trust in our media is having on everything from politics to climate change to vaccinations uptake, suggesting ways in which that trust might be restored, and arguing the toss about whether we should even trust the mainstream media in the first place.

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Podcast 13: Baz Ashmawy – Off Message 60

The thirteenth – lucky for us – Off Message podcast is with Baz Ashmawy, of ’50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy’ fame.

In his central Dublin office he revealed the exact moment he knew a suit-wearing career in recruitment was not for him, the shock of being shut out of RTÉ, how subsequently not getting a radio gig was more than likely a blessing in disguise, knowing when an idea’s time is up, and loads more.

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Collectors’ Items: On The Importance Of Archives – Off Message 59

That once upon a time in the media we didn’t realise the value of archives, of holding onto original programming and editions, never ceases to amaze me.

Of course, as the ongoing fallout from the devastating fire in 2008 at the Universal Music archive warehouse in Hollywood shows, it wasn’t just a media shortcoming and that even now, what we chose to store and how we store it is far from perfect.

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Podcast 12: Lise Hand – Off Message 58

The twelfth media-mad Off Message podcast features political writer, Lise Hand, soon to be ex- of the Times Ireland edition parish.

In Buswells Hotel, across the road from her major work haunt of Leinster House in Dublin, and in many ways over the years her office away from her office, she came clean on the life of the political hack, the impact of social media on the world she covers, the downside of the closure of local newspapers, why the Times Ireland is closing and how she’s dealing with it, and much much more.

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Podcast 11: Seamus Dooley – Off Message 57

For the 11th media-curious Off Message podcast I dropped into the NUJ’s Irish HQ in Dublin to talk all things media with the Irish Secretary of the journalists’ trade union, Seamus Dooley.

We discussed the recent shooting dead of freelancer Lyra McKee in Derry, the lack of genuine media ownership diversity, their ongoing campaigns, fixing trust in journalism, why he thinks all journalists should join the NUJ, and loads more.

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Podcast 10: Philip O’Connor – Off Message 56

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.

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You Couldn’t Make It Up: Its Long and Winding Road – Off Message 55

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.

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Podcast 9: Peter Feeney – Off Message 54

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.

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My Luckiest Break? – Off Message 53

My luckiest career break may well have been a literal one. It happened 40 years ago this month. I could be a very happy headmaster somewhere now if it hadn’t happened. Though I suspect my break really was for the best.

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