Monthly Archives: December 2011

The web’s political rainbow

The latest article from MediaBite takes a look at the “network of websites publishing information and debating issues that Ireland’s mainstream media should have but did not”.

“The citadel of mainstream Irish journalism has been disturbed by the arrival of interactive, internet-based news and discussion forums that anyone can participate in. A vibrant network of websites has appeared and while they could be as much criticised as praised, many are a serious challenge to the status quo…continued here

Originally published in the October 2011 issue of Village magazine.

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The web’s political rainbow

This article first appeared in the October 2011 issue of the Village magazine (Part 1, Part 2).

The citadel of mainstream Irish journalism has been disturbed by the arrival of interactive, internet-based news and discussion forums that anyone can participate in. A vibrant network of websites has appeared and while they could be as much criticised as praised, many are a serious challenge to the status quo. And most of them are free. This phenomenon is not generally liked by the Irish media establishment which has had to make concessions to it by putting its own offerings online – albeit with strictly controlled opportunities for interaction with the hoi polloi, if there is any at all. There’s a lot of harrumphing about the need to protect professional journalism which in reality may be as much about a desire to keep control of the news agenda in certain hands as it is about any threat to the quality of journalism. Despite this, the mainstream media have been compelled to acknowledge facts and opinions they would much rather have ignored were it not for the healthy debates taking place on internet forums that frequently expose gaping holes in media coverage. Anyone who doubts this should visit the Ballyhea Bondwatch Ireland site, the NamaWinelake blog or The Story.ie to mention just a few of the sites which have stolen a march on mainstream journalism by researching and publishing information that the mainstream should have, but did not.

A survey of some of the main political news and discussion websites follows below but first a few things to be aware of for the uninitiated web-surfer. Most of these sites allow comments or news stories to be published by anyone who thinks they have something to say. The quality of what is published can therefore vary a lot. Keep an open mind and remember that joining the discussion is very often like taking a walk down Main Street – every sort of person is there. Some of it, it must be acknowledged, is just plain dross – and some of it is brilliant and original. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking the owners or moderators of a website are responsible for or endorse the content of posts and comments when they do not.

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