A chance for all of us – Rebooting RTÉ Investigates

RTÉ News/Investigations to get a revamp. As mentioned everywhere including a very insightful piece by Laura Slattery in the Irish Times.

“They will be broadcast when they are ready, not where everyone is working towards a date in the schedule that they have been given three months in advance,” he said on RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime on Tuesday.

Curran’s remarks confirm that the lessons of its libel will go beyond finger-pointing at individuals and “back-to-school” training on journalistic standards for everyone caught in the crossfire. He insists the broadcaster is “not shying away from challenging journalism”.

New training and methods etc. Wouldn’t it be great if all their policies and training material were put online for everyone? Why not push the standard and up the game of everyone in the field? Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out before that everyone upped their game when Tiger Woods came along, good for all. Better quality news may happen. The Government too have a policy of reusing information data/putting it to good use for all. Imagine if RTÉ did that?

One of the issues too with all media in the past few years/decades is not showing people the work that is actually done and the processes involved in putting programmes together. With that happening it is hard for people to value work when they are hopping from channel to channel and going from one cut and paste journalism “article” to the next “Are racists racist?” poll. In particular for RTÉ they get hammered for cheap television and also for spending money on television.

Media orgs need to open themselves up more to the public to explain how they work. If they don’t, they’ll be forgotten about, misrepresented and not respected. RTÉ did well many moons ago inviting us to the launch of their new News Studio but they need to go much further now. I know a lot of people that work in the media and the hours some put in, the work they do to ensure quality and sometimes just for a three minute news segment. We may not have to respect or like their work but we should still be informed before we do the usual: “Meh, dinosaurs that can’t be fired doing lazy journalism”. And I am just as guility.

Live minuted editorial meetings in the Guardian. The BBC editors defending their editorial decisions. I’m looking at you too Irish Times.

Of course even sharing and opening yourselves up won’t keep people happy. When every Friday you have the Late Late show baiting on Twitter with people saying the show is shit and others replying “Then stop watching it”, it shows you will get people that are not impressed. Yet the same audience or some of them watched the Nuala documentary and cried their eyes out. Same station, same organisation. So the argument that Twitter people are always knocking RTÉ isn’t fully true.

And why not listen? Why not take on some suggestions, make some changes, listen, respond and point out why things are they way they are. Vincent Browne got flack for having the same people on the show the whole time, got dug for gender imbalances and sought to rectify it by asking on-air for new contributors. Shockingly obvious.

So, share journalistic skills and knowledge, make yourself more transparent and take and respond to constructive feedback. I’m not sure to survive is ethics training and new editorial policies enough for any media organisation not just RTÉ.

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