I was 17 when I first came across an equally geeky individual, Adam Ledwith, who shared my passion for the look of Sky News- back when they were good. I wasn’t at the time directly working within the newsroom but I found myself finding home at the political correspondent’s desk to answer and make calls for the late-night talk show I interned on.
At 17, I thought I knew it all; it was all about image right? Wrong. You had to actually write news which tough work, broadcasting it was even tougher. Over the course of two years, I learned a lot- from the construction of a story to the importance of pace and how to use the correct style.
College helped too, at this stage I was attending a college in Dublin but after two years of a radio Diploma, I decided to pursue a Journalism Diploma to give me a better understanding of how to write the news.
Writing news for radio and newspapers are worlds apart but what I learned was how to get the facts right, how to question and how to counteract that subsequent answer with a smarter question.
After that I moved onto my degree in DCU while doing a collection of work experience with different radio stations- I radio, Q102, Newstalk and 4fm. What each position though me was the value of journalism and the notion that writing well was sounding well.
At this stage I was always interested with how editorial decisions are made- in 4fm, for example, the News Editor hated international stories. But for me, a budding Washington Correspondent, reporting stories that weren’t necessarily relevant made for the most fun. I was, and still am; transfixed with American politics it’s just so interesting.
However, reporting stories that are both relevant and interesting will be the premise of Newsbeat- Open Fm’s news division. We are very much the first of our kind; we get to report news stories to a core LGBT audience and beyond. The issue for me, as News Editor, was to ensure the stories we reported weren’t too in your face. They need to project a sense of minimalism while at the same time sounding good.
At a time when most media organizations within Ireland are cutting their news divisions, OpenFM gives Newsbeat a platform to showcase the best of investigative and hard news journalism. Newsbeat’s core premise is to provide the listener with the truth- a virtue the news team will strive for. We will be the creators of OpenFM’s day to day conversation; certainly, we will play a big role in reporting stories which at the best of times go unheard of.
Apart from investigative reporting, OpenFM will devote comprehensive coverage to issues that affect not only our core LGBT audience but also our mainstream audience- both the positive and the negative. This week, for example, there was much debate about the recent admission by the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to amend the Civil Partnership bill to include cohabiting heterosexual couples when it comes to tax and social welfare amongst other things.
Meanwhile, Sean Flynn of The Irish times reported during the week that LGBT people feel ‘threatened’ by-laws which could allow school managements to ‘dismiss’ teachers in order to ‘protect their ethos’.
Both stories would be direct relevance to OpenFM’s core audience but beyond? Newsbeat will focus on political and social stories of the day with in-depth investigating reporting into local and national stories. The banking scandal, young people’s disengagement with politics and the ongoing child sex abuse fallout amongst other things.
We will provide this coverage by having the best team behind us, offering comprehensive coverage within both Newsbeat at ten to the hour and for extended news in the evening times. Also, the weekend will see an extended Newsbeat for an hour offering a panel discussion of the stories throughout the week with Newsbeat reports and contributors.
What we’re doing at OpenFM has never been done before; we are not as many have labelled us ‘a gay station’. We are very much a gay cultured station which is for everyone and Newsbeat has this in mind.
Just like OpenFM, Newsbeat is trying to break new ground in comprehensive and investigative reporting. As the Deputy Station Manager and News Director for OpenFM providing our listeners with news which gives in-depth coverage of stories in a conversational, cheeky, modern style will be at the heart of what we do.
A now you know the news.