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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

For as long as I can remember, I’ve read and loved newspapers; even back in boarding school, I used to breach the security cordon to go to the shop and buy a paper – and I can admit that now because the statute of limitations as to my crime is long past.

To be clear, the crime was not buying newspapers; it was leaving the school grounds in the first place.

But roll on a few years later and the chance to earn a living, working in newspapers was a dream come true – even though one teacher whose counsel I’d sought told me I’d be better off applying for the ESB.

We laughed about it years later and by then I’d landed a job in the Connacht Tribune – to my father’s delight – before setting off on a tour of Ireland to work in Cork, Dublin, Athlone and back to Galway over 17 years ago.

The journey isn’t over yet, but even if it ended now, it’s been a privilege to be able to work at something I love – a job that gives you a whole new challenge every week and sense of pride every time the paper hits the shops.

Yet now more than ever, the newspaper industry is under threat and, while the new media converts might believe otherwise, the world would be a poorer place without them.

That doesn’t mean that the future necessarily involves getting your diet of news from the printed page, but it equally doesn’t mean free access to the news of the world on your phone or tablet.

Because gathering, generating, distilling and packaging the news comes at a price, whether you want to read that digitally or in the old-fashioned way on the page.

And if that isn’t done by journalists, you cannot be entirely sure where it came from.

That doesn’t mean you have no choice but to read them; of course you do. You can use whatever sources you so choose – but ours has our name on it and that’s a more of provenance and verification that anonymous posts haven’t got.

And still it’s never been more fashionable to suggest we’re finished, that we’re biased and that there’s a new world order when it comes to news and communications.

Donald Trump in particular has done immeasurable damage to the business so many of us love and are proud to be a part of.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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