When is a journalist not a journalist? When his/her work is published online. Or such seems to be the case on RTE's online news service.
Yes, this is one of the biggest news service in the country. Yes, it carries RTE's reputation with every piece published. But do the people who write the pieces get attributed? Nope. It's an absurd state of affairs.
"In Ireland, there has been resistance to viewing those working in online journalism as being journalists," says Michael Foley, a senior journalism lecturer in DIT.
"This has been encouraged by management who haven't had to pay them as much. The traditional journalist has been reluctant to debate what the impact of the internet is and what it might mean to journalism. Anything to do with this new tech world, they view it with suspicion and view it as a threat."
(I was talking to Foley for an upcoming piece this Sunday on the impact that Twitter has had on the media. However, we strayed onto this topic.)
"I think that one of the problems has been that the Irish media hasn’t adapted very much to the web, to be quite frank," says Foley. "When you look at the number of really good Irish media websites, it’s very few. We haven’t, as a country, been very quick to adapt. And those journalists who are are involved with websites have tended to be worse paid than traditional journalists."
Now, some might say: "but it's only breaking news. It doesn't take the same amount of work." This is rubbish.
Let's look again what an RTE online journalist does. In summary, he/she:
-- writes a news piece
-- ensures that is accurate, fair and balanced
-- sees it published and viewed by more Irish people than almost any other single newspaper piece
And they are not to be attributed as journalists? This is absolutely ridiculous.
(Note that I do not have any brief for anyone in RTE online, as I don't know anyone in there.)