Reporting on a Tragedy in the Age of New Media

Editor of JOE.ie, Paddy McKenna, on how the online organisation reports on a story like the Brussels bombings

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Most people know JOE.ie from its sports coverage and viral articles such as ‘If Irish political parties were Game of Thrones Houses’.

But in the wake of Brussels bombings it was also a font of information, updating readers with details as the event occurred; from where the bombings were taking place to the names of the suspects behind the attacks.

JOE.ie didn’t always cover breaking international news. But when Paddy McKenna took on the job as editor, that changed.

“When I came in first of all, within two weeks Charlie Hebdo happened,” he says. “I was interested to see how the audience would react to it… (they were) really interested and really engaged.”

“It’s likely that age group (of 18-34 year olds) will get their news from us, so we have to treat that with respect.”

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Beware the Youth Voter

As Government parties scramble to figure out what they did wrong, many still don’t appreciate the seismic shift caused by the increase in voting by young people

“I feel that the youth turnout probably will exceed the average turnout nationally.”

Kevin Donoghue, the Union of Students in Ireland president, has just come from the count in the RDS in Donneybrook to the USI offices in Ringsend. It has already it has become clear that no party has won the day.

“I think there was huge engagement,” Donoghue says. “I’ve been doing voter registration drives and voter registration campaigns with USI for a couple of years and I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Discussions about the formation of a government are expected to take weeks. Many party strategists say that a lot of soul-searching is needed. The overriding feeling among Fine Gael and Labour members is shock. None of them saw this coming.

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