Paper Round: The Indo’s Response?

For all our education and enlightenment, I thought I’d highlight this slightly peculiar article which appeared in Thursday’s Irish Independent. (brought to our attention by Travors. Many thanks.)

You might not have spotted it, as it is tucked inside a huge piece of advertorial for the Irish Financial Services Regulator.

The text flows in a Joycean manner, phrases emerging from the dense verbiage like nightmares from fog.
Re the internet; ‘Skeptics say most of what’s there is rubbish but actually quite a lot of it is porn.’
Re blogs: ‘the blog is a doodle, something done to pass the time but which does not demand public display’. At one stage even Pat Ingoldsby makes an appearance. (Pat’s books adorn my shelves and I always liked Pat’s Chat, so its good to see him back in business.)

It ends on a wintery, sinister note. Shades of solstice sacrifice are invoked. A moral becomes clear.

‘A piece of advice to bloggers: Don’t post the equivalent of a colleague’s head into which an axe has been embedded onto your blogsite. Oh, and get a life’

So sayth the Irish Independent.

Update: I can’t believe I missed quoting the best line: “Ever since they put the Internet on computers…”


  • copernicus says:

    Game, set and match.

    The cash cow is about to low its last moo.

  • travors says:

    Sad isn’t it? I can’t work out if Niall just writes like a child or if he considers the people who buy his paper to have the mentality of children and so writes at their level.

  • celtictigger says:

    Glad to see the Indo debating skills have risen to the level of veiled insult.

    Of course, they’re right. This internet thing will never catch on. Sure, Mr Graham-Bell’s “talking-to-people-far-away” device is only a gimmick as well. And as for Mr Guttenburg’s moveable type printing press… it just makes it easy for any fool to get their opinions printed. Huzzah.

    Here’s a sobering thought… it took the telephone nearly 150 years to be accepted as a way of doing business. The internet as we know it has only existed since 1994. There are kids alive today who can’t remember a time when there wasn’t an Internet. When I was in college, you were hard pushed to find people who couldn’t remember rotary dial phones.

  • celtictigger says:

    Actually. Having reread Niall’s piece, I have to agree. What sort of pontificating self-preener would publish their diaries (apart from Samuel Peyps, Michael Palin, Eisenhower, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Jeffery Archer — oh- forget about the last one).

    And I think they should take the internet off computers forthwith as it is a distraction from playing tetris and frogger.

  • Fergal Crehan says:

    “Oh, and get a life”

    We will as soon as you do Niall

  • Simon McGarr says:

    In fairness to Mr. Byrne, he only prints pre-written press releases on his blog. He never risks saying anything new himself.

  • Niall says:

    Wow! Little did I realise that a fairly innocuous stab at humour would have resulted in such vitriol. If anything it serves to add weight to the sentiment contained in my parting sentence. If people are annoyed then it’s probably worth doing, though.

    The Indo’s response? No, my own “tuppenceworth”.

    As for the references to my Joycean text, Simon’s descriptions of it far exceed my own humble scribblings.


  • celtictigger says:

    Humour: “a message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter”…

    OK, you’ve got me there Niall on at least 1 out of the three.

  • Twenty Major says:

    Has nobody called Niall a cunt yet or is that not the done thing round here?

  • soontobe says:

    As I posted on

    I think the fact that this piece has roused such attention shows its sentiment is fairly accurate. I take it you decided against getting a life then and are content to have some virtual fun, which might make your empty ‘real’ lives seem a little less vacuous, at least for a while.

    The truth hurts people. There’s nothing particularly wrong with being a computer geek, it can be fun I’m sure and there’s plenty worse out there. But don’t start getting all uppity just because someone (who is obviously a good enough writer to be paid to do it, unlike the vast amount of self-obsessed bloggers out there) tells it like it is.

  • chekov says:

    “The truth hurts people. There’s nothing particularly wrong with being a computer geek, it can be fun I’m sure and there’s plenty worse out there.”

    You really can’t generalise about bloggers. Even a brief glance around d’interweb will reveal very clearly indeed that all sorts of people write blogs – academics, politicians, writers, geeks, comic artists, etc, etc. The only thing that they have in common is that they have blogs. It would probably have been largely accurate to characterise bloggers as geeks 5 years ago, with the advent of free, idiot-proof blogging platforms it is no longer even nearly accurate. Far from being “the truth”, it’s demonstrably inaccurate and anybody who has even the slightest clue about such things would be aware of this.

    “I think the fact that this piece has roused such attention shows its sentiment is fairly accurate”

    That’s unbelievably poor logic, expressed in woefully error-strewn language.

    You are claiming that the only pieces which “rouse attention” [sic] are those with “fairly accurate sentiment” [sic]. Technically, attention is only aroused when one is woken up, otherwise it is perhaps “excited” or “attracted”, while “interest” can be aroused, which you presumably meant.

    Also, the concept of “accurate” sentiment is pretty much entirely meaningless. A piece that conveys a sentiment might accurately reflect public sentiment, which you presumably meant, but the sentiment itself can’t be accurate as that’s just meaningless.

    The logical flaw is more glaring. There are plenty of articles which arouse public interest despite the fact that the sentiment that they contain is not widely held and may often be considered abhorrent by the public. There is a simple way of demonstrating this. Publish an article which argues that the protocols of the elders of zion is an accurate historical document and that the jews should be rounded up. If you managed to publish this I think you would find that it arouses an awful lot of interest, yet very little of this interest would be due to the sentiment being an accurate reflection of public opinion.

    “But don’t start getting all uppity just because someone (who is obviously a good enough writer to be paid to do it, unlike the vast amount of self-obsessed bloggers out there) tells it like it is.”

    Now you’ve given the game away. Let’s run through the clues.

    * You use overly complicated constructions incorrectly, yet lecture others about their literary standards.

    * You have an embarrassingly bad grasp of evidence, proof and logical reasoning

    * You consider a short, ill-informed and sneering rant, which shows many signs of being written by a person who is entirely unfamiliar with the domain to be “telling it like it is”.

    * You consider bloggers beneath you (“don’t start getting all uppity”).

    * You believe that the fact that somebody is employed as a professional hack is a useful way to evaluate their literary ability! In reality, as long as you are semi-literate, you have more than enough literary ability to work as a hack. The important skills have nothing to do with literary ability at all (cunning, plausible manner, absence of integrity, etc).

    * You haven’t noticed that the residents of are all extremely good, talented and entertaining writers.

    All of the above can only mean that you are writing from O’Reilly Towers! C’mon out and tell us who you are!

  • Celtictigger says:

    How exactly did a semi-scientific study of the content of Irish newspapers come to be seen by soontobe as some sort of personal attack on journalists?

    A few thoughts:

    1)From the methodology outlined, much of the analysis of the newspapers was done ‘in the flesh’, or more accurately in the Westin. That sounds pretty real and social to me. Its a shame that with my various extracurricular activities I wasn’t able to join in. Next time… can we do it on a mid-week evening over a dinner guys?

    2)The fact that the PaperRound study has attracted such righteous indignation from traditional print media camps could just as equally be held up as evidence that it is fairly accurate.

    To say that the simple fact that something gets attention or is spoken about is a measure of its accuracy is errant nonsense. For example, Johnathon Ross’s recent comments at the Q Awards about Heather Mills attracted a lot of media attention. However that does not lend any degree of accuracy to the comments (which for the sake of brevity I won’t repeat). Likewise, Creationism attracts a lot of attention. Does that mean it is accurate?

    I could say more, but Chekov has deconstructed things admirably, and I have an allegedly empty real life to get back to – much to do tonight.

  • Celtictigger says:

    To clarify my last post… I get the sense from the piece in the Indo and SoontoBe’s comment here that the view has been formed that this is bloggers-vs-journos…

    I had thought this was about whether newspapers contained news or not (and the Paperround study showed a fairly mixed bag).

    In my job I get a performance review every 3 months. If I’m not delivering to expectation, I view the feedback as constructive criticism and look for ways to improve (either by improving performance or clarifying expectations).

    I don’t question my boss’s ability to assess my performance because he doesn’t do (and has never done) my job. If I threw a tantrum like that, I’d be sacked.

    Likewise if a customer criticises a company’s product most clued in companies try to find out how to make their product better, not berate the customer for not being clever enough to build the widget (or laptop or dishwasher) themselves.

    Non-clued in companies ignore their customers, who then go to other suppliers (such as transitioning from print media to on-line sources of information).

  • touchyhack says:

    This is hardly a response from the Indo. It is just a short piece in an advertorial.
    It may not win a Pullitzer prize, but it is no worse much of the stuff I have read on Tuppenceworth.
    Personally I found the Tuppenceworth analysis of the indo’s output interesting, but flawed.
    What is wrong with using the reports of news agencies? The indo, for example, carries the reports of Robert Fisk from the London Independent.
    There are pros and cons involved in using wire copy from Reuters and AP. On the plus side they tend to be dispassionate and accurate. On the negative side, they can be bland and passionless.
    There is nothing wrong with using a Garda source, so long as the information is accurate, and other sources are used.
    It is fashionable to knock the mainstream media – and often these attacks are justified – but a remarkably high per centage bloggers rely on newspapers for information.

  • Simon McGarr says:

    Hello there Touchyhack.
    I think you raise some good questions. The question of relying on wire reports is one I felt a bit mixed about. Ideally, we ought to have people, be they staffers or freelancers, writing specifically for an Irish audience in foreign climes.

    Wire reports have the both the pros and cons you say. Other than the above, I don’t think I disagreed with their use- just noted it- as long as the reader is made aware that they are reading a wire report. There were a number of instances where that wasn’t made clear.

    Using a Garda source is fine in the circumstances you describe. The problem is that most of the stories, in all of the papers, marked as Garda Source didn’t use another source. And, as some of them involved leaks from ongoing investigations, it is hard to imagine what other source could have contributed to the story.

    The Gardai’s job is policework. That doesn’t involve keeping the papers updated on investigations. And some of the pieces, in particular in the Evening Herald, were of a sort that carries a risk of actually jeopardising any future attempt to bring a conviction.

    I want to rely on my newspapers for information. I am a longstanding and voracious reader of newspapers. But it was because I felt I wasn’t getting that info that I set out on this trek. Seamus Dooley of the NUJ, speaking this week at the UCC Law Conference, agreed that standards in Irish newspapers had slipped in the last 5 years so I’m clearly not alone in this opinion.

    As to the above article’s publication in the Indo- an editor made a decision to publish it. That it wasn’t really given any prominence just reflects that editor’s opinion of the piece and of the importance of addressing their reader’s concerns meaningfully.

  • John says:

    The guy who wrote that is such a loser.. What a sap!

  • […] of the nation, they be. Those of us in the Irish blogging community may remember some of the more amusing glimpses of nose hair from those so much better than […]

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