Reporting on a Tragedy in the Age of New Media

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

Most people know 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. 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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When Relationships Go From Safe To Sinister

What is dating abuse, and why is it sometimes difficult to recognise?

This post originally appeared on

I, like many 16 year old girls, read Twilight. There’s nothing I like more than a good romance novel. And while I enjoyed the book in spite of its awkward turns of phrase and the two dimensional characters, the thing that disturbed me was how stalking was idealised.

In the beginning there’s lots of longing looks. Then Edward follows Bella when she goes out with her friends. Then she wakes up one night to find him in her bedroom.

I don’t care how in love you are with a person, that’s insanely creepy. Even if you were living with someone, and madly in love, I would find it odd if the person was sitting at the end of the bed staring at you while you sleep.

In fact, the relationship in Twilight meets all 15 of the criteria associated with being in an abusive relationship, where one is enough.

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Why We Don’t Get What We Vote For

Why young people are not being represented and what they can do about it

Originally posted on

Pat Leahy wrote a piece in the Sunday Business Post, arguing that Fine Gael are going to war to get the “the middle-ground voters who feel they have a stake in society.”

Leahy didn’t say anything that wasn’t conventional wisdom. Representing other groups is nice, but at the end of the day, it’s the middle who will make or break a party.

We see this reflected in how the parties are campaigning. Each of their key issues speaks to the middle aged tax payer.

We also saw the same thing in the last budget, the budget which supposedly gave something to everyone, except to young people.

The 2011 Census showed there are about 350,000 people aged 13-18, and this group is now at prime university age, 18-23. There are also around the same number of people in the age group just above, aged 24-29. Therefore, more than 1 in 6 people is a ‘young person’.

You would then expect that about 1 in 6 policies would cater to young people, and so would 1 in 6 politicians.

While it goes without saying that young people are not a homogenous group, there are certain issues which affect us particularly which have passed notice and gone under the radar.

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Course Decision Cannot Be Taken Lightly

A look at why students are dropping out of third level courses

This post originally appeared on the Irish Times Student Hub

The Irish Times recently revealed 1 in 6 students do not progress past first year of a higher education course, with up to 80% dropping out of maths related courses.

Obviously it’s partly explained by the fact that it is hard to ask an 18 year old to pick the course that will likely decide their career for the rest of their life, especially when they will have had little experience of what those courses or careers would be like.

For example, I knew quite a few people who hated studying law. One person ended up changing courses but the others continued with their studies because they didn’t really know what they wanted to do, and it was better to have a degree than not.

These people had all been told law was ‘a good degree to have’. They knew they were good at English and history and figured law would be a good fit.

Even though I had the benefit of studying a three week law course when I was a teenager, I’m now studying journalism. I don’t regret studying law but I realised I didn’t necessarily want to practice it. That took a few years and the benefit of experience for me to recognise.

Nowadays, when students are sitting down to put together their CAO list, chances are the only things they’ll have to go on are the three weeks of work experience in transition year, hearing about their parents’ jobs, and what they’ve seen on TV. A friend said he decided to put law down on his list after watching an episode of Law and Order.

It’s not surprising, then, that many people get to college and find that studying a subject is a far different experience to what they expected.

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Ireland’s Housing Crisis

The Housing Crisis is the biggest challenge facing our country. But how did we get here?

‘Housing crisis’ has become part of Irish vocabulary in the last couple of years. But what are people talking about when they use the phrase?

Are they talking about rising rents? The increase in homelessness? The growing number of house repossessions? The lack of construction?

Unfortunately, Ireland’s housing crisis does not involve a single issue, but represents a confluence of problems that have been growing under the surface for many years, and each issue exacerbates the others.

Housing Problems

I will look at the issues individually, examining the background, the keys figures, the causes and the suggested solutions.

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You Could Be Hacked

We assume that hackers directly target people rather than, for example, sending out phishing emails to everyone they can get an email address for, or leaving an infected file ready for someone to download when they’re trying to look at a website with discounted computers.

The vast majority of hacking is for quick financial gain.

This post originally appeared on

Young people don’t care much about data security according to a recent study by Norton Antivirus.

Of a poll of 500 people under 35, Norton found that while young people were concerned about their online security and privacy, they were unlikely to do anything to protect themselves online.

72% did not have security software on their device, 49% had low privacy settings on social media sites, 72% did not regularly back up their files and 48% admitted to using variations of the same password for every site.

It is therefore unsurprising that 55% of those polled said that had been affected by a computer virus, 26% by a phishing scam and 14% by ransomware attacks.

Given that young people are the most tech-savvy generation, why are we leaving ourselves open to online attacks?

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