Former UL journalism students speaking at the recent conference at the university
JOURNALISM at UL celebrated its tenth anniversary with a series of discussions and debates about the current state of the media.
The keynote speaker, BBC Africa editor Fergal Keane, had to deliver his speech over the phone last Thursday as he was about to be deployed to Sudan to report on the coup in that country.
Following that, a vigorous debate was had on the concept of “fake news” and how populism ties into journalism.
However, the afternoon’s proceedings were much lighter in tone.
Five UL Journalism graduates - Hilary McGann, Cillian Sherlock, Denise Calnan, Andrew Shorten and Michelle Hogan - were interviewed by course director Kathryn Hayes about their experiences as journalism graduates, and what they learned on the course
Ms Calnan said: “The most valuable people in my contacts book are the people I met on my course.”
Now editor of the Irish Independent’s online news desk, Ms Calnan said: “The rush you get when covering a story comes from my days from working on the Limerick Voice in final year.”
Mr Sherlock, now a host on News2Day, said, “Your experience as a journalist starts before you leave UL” and echoed Ms Calnan’s sentiments by saying “a student could get you a job – so know what your classmates are studying!”
Mr Shorten, now with The Journal, said that it has been a “whirlwind” since he graduated from UL, receiving a Google Scholarship that led to work with The Journal, where he’s remained since.
“You can apply the same principles you learned in university to your working life, for sure,” said Mr Shorten.
Ms McGann, based with CNN in London, effused that the “radio days” and “TV news days” she had to carry out for her course was the “eureka moment” she needed to realise she wanted to work in broadcast journalism.
Ms Hogan, now with the Leinster Leader, also backed up her contemporaries about the practicality of the journalism course in UL, saying that “the course prepared me for working with multimedia – every element in the course is a sort of preparation!”
Head of Journalism, Mary Dundon was praised for her day-to-day running of the faculty.