As I’m making my final preparations for my Northern Ireland peace journalism project, sponsored by the US Embassy in London, I thought I’d assign the class some reading to get you up to speed on the media situation there.
First, take a look at the mainstream media in Northern Ireland. These include the Belfast Telegraph https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/ and Irish Times newspapers https://www.irishtimes.com/ . It will be interesting to visit with journalists from these outlets about how they perceive their coverage, and particularly to what extent it’s colored by sectarianism and bias.
An online outlet, Slugger O’Toole-- https://sluggerotoole.com/ , “takes a critical look at various strands of political politics in Ireland and Britain. It tries to bring its readers ‘open source analysis’ from both the mainstream media and the blogosphere.”
The site is full of interesting and deeply analytical reporting about Northern Ireland. For example, in an article analyzing Derry’s central role in the dissident republican movement titled “Why Derry,” writer Steve Bradley has an interesting postscript:
“It has taken three attempts over eight months to write this article – from the time of the July rioting in Derry last year, to the murder of (journalist) Lyra McKee at Easter. What has prevented completion on those previous occasions was concern at the response it would provoke. Some will seek to dismiss this article as providing excuses for Dissident activity (it does not). Others will brush it off as just ‘Derry whinging’ (as if there isn’t sufficient weight of evidence for people there to justifiably complain). Others still just don’t want to hear the fact that Northern Ireland’s second city has been cut adrift from the rising tide of post-Troubles prosperity. But I believe that each significant outburst of Dissident activity in Derry makes the case for this article stronger, and proves that the issues and questions it raises can no longer be brushed aside…”
I’m excited that my sponsor at the Queen’s University in Belfast has arranged a workshop for me with the Slugger O’Toole staff. It will be fascinating to discuss their approach to journalism.
Finally, take a look at a different kind of outlet called Shared Future News-- https://sharedfuture.news/ --This is “an online publication dedicated to providing news, information, and personal stories on the topics of peacebuilding, reconciliation, and diversity. Posts are published at least once weekly to an audience interested in the history and politics of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We believe that it is important to spread the news of those working for a shared future in Northern Ireland.”
I hope to be able to arrange a meeting and/or workshop with their staff. Their approach sounds very much like peace journalism, and I’ll be interested in hearing about their successes and challenges.
I’ll be enjoying Scotland and Ireland for the next few weeks, but will be ready to plunge into Northern Ireland later in May. Stay tuned for details.