The future of public service media in Ireland

RTÉ director general Noel Curran gave a closely argued “state of the nation” address to an invited audience at DCU on Monday October 24, the first of a series of lectures on the public and the media arranged by the university’s school of communications. To download the lecture The Future of Public Service Media in Ireland,The future of public service media in Irelande (link to PDF). Here are some of my reactions, in no particular order.

He set out the case for the cuts made in staffing and said they would continue.

He admitted that what he called “top talent” had been overpaid and by next year they (fill in the names yourself, none have second names, Joe, Pat, Marian, Miriam et al) will have taken a 30% cut over three years and if any jumped ship for TV3 or the BBC ( I reckon that means you Ryan), he would be sorry to lose them, but RTÉ would bring on new talent.

He apologised to Fr Kevin Reynolds who was libelled by Prime Time, but said that investigative journalism would continue.

And of course he defended public service broadcasting, but allowed that others could play a part in providing it.

He managed to turn a compliment to TV3 – for increasing its Irish-made output – into a patronising pat on the head.

And he promised in a vague way partnerships, sharing of content (what I grew up thinking of as news) again. I think he’s trying to firewall the RTÉ website against accusations of unfair competition, but that is only a guess. I cannot shake off my gut feeling that the management of the Irish Times and Irish Independent (both of which employed me) arent bending Pat Rabbitte’s ear on licence fee money being used to subsidise a competitor.

There’s much more. I suggest you read it. He’s a bit too fond of the sanctity which permeates the Montrose complex for my taste – my mother would say “self praise is no praise” – but I think you will find it interesting.

Depressing too for those of who make our crust in the “meeja”.