As someone that is greatly interested in pursuing a career in the field of journalism, visiting the Irish Times headquarters was a great experience. During our tour, we were granted the opportunity to sit in on an editorial meeting to view how the editorial process occurs and meet with a journalist who discussed with us the challenges of a changing industry.
The editorial meeting itself was a great experience due to both timing of our trip and the opportunity meet the administration of the publication. Though we were granted a great chance to see breaking political news in action, it is sad to say that the night before our visit South African political leader Nelson Mandela had passed. While it was quite sad to hear of his passing, as he was an incredible man who defined a generation, the opportunity to discuss the impact of such breaking news was priceless. The night before it was said that upon hearing of Mandela’s death the Irish Times spent the majority of the night reforming the paper to center around such important news. In fact, one of the editors had explained that this change in editing occurred virtually hours before the mass printing and distribution took place. If the Irish Times had failed to report on Mandela they could have faced negative consequences such as loss of reputation. Another great aspect of the meeting was that because some of the other editors were late we got too talk with some of the head editors. Too much of my embarrassment, I accidently asked Kevin O’Sullivan, the editor of the Irish Times, what his position was. I believe Mr. O’Sullivan found my question humorous, as he probably has not been asked that in a very long time but nevertheless he answered my seemingly silly question in a very polite manner. Regardless, the opportunity to talk with the head editor of such a prestigious publication was invaluable resource for an aspiring journalist.
In the second part of our tour, we were given the opportunity to discuss the editorial industry with one of the journalists. As I am aware, the industry is currently going through a major shift where print media is decreasing at fast rates. This decrease coincides with an increase in online viewership and thus, the Irish Times, along with other publications, are slowly digitalizing their content. I was quite curious to discuss the necessary skills modern journalists would need which includes knowledge of content management systems such as WordPress. Obviously the Irish Times does not use WordPress but they most likely use a more advanced version of software. Either way, knowledge of such programs is considered a necessity in the modern media industry.
In conclusion, I must say that my experience at the Irish Times was great as I was given the opportunity to visit one of the major news agencies in the world and learn from acclaimed journalists. If anything this visit furthered my interest in a career in journalism. Hopefully this summer I will be able to intern at a major media company, using my experience from the Irish Times as reference point to how things are done in the profession.