Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Category: Media

“Speaking up every. Fucking. Time”

Elizabeth Spiers' fair profile (which became much more than that) of tech culture writer and activist Shanley Kane, which reinforces the impression generated by Kane's own words and deeds of someone who demands absolute, uncompromising control -- over their work, public image, whatever. So not a bad person, just someone who appears to have a character flaw that blinds them to the notion that media ethics exist as a concept independent of them. It happens. Bobbie Johnson provides more background to the story. #link

Isn't there a computer program for that?

No, 'subeditor' does not mean 'spellchecker'. It means pretty much everything Andy Bodle describes here; it's an often thankless task but one I love doing (provided I'm subbing stuff that's written by someone who cares about what they write). #link

Pencils Down: Know When to Stop Editing

Good advice here, which ultimately boils down to taking ego out of the situation. Everybody wants their bloody stamp on something, but that's almost always to the detriment of the thing itself, which should be the only focus. Too many cooks spoil the broth. #link

13 ways of looking at Medium

Finally an explanation of the thing, which is not explained very well on the Medium site itself. I still don't get it. I mean I understand it now, but I don't get it. #link

Inside the BBC's Verification Hub

It's just dawned on me that verification is what subeditors should be doing. American journalism has always had 'fact checkers' distinct from their copy editors, whereas on this side of the pond both functions were the preserve of the sub, a role that's been greatly diminished over the past decade, to the obvious detriment of the media. #link


"A treatise on fungibility, or, a framework for understanding the mess the news industry is in and the opportunities that lie ahead." Emphasising quality is the most important thing to take away from this, I think; there is certainly a tendency among traditional media outlets to assume their content has merit simply because it's theirs. #link

Mail Supremacy

The New Yorker on The Daily Mail: the closest media outlet in the UK and Ireland to Fox News in terms of reality distortion. #link

What Editors Think of Writers

The biggest surprise for any new writer/journalist/whatever is when an editor corrects their work. It's not about 'taking away their voice'; it's always about bringing out the best in the writer, and polishing it up nice for the reader. In my own experience, the most precious about their writing were the worst writers. #link

Roger Ailes and the rise of Fox News

"To watch even a day of Fox News -- the anger, the bombast, the virulent paranoid streak, the unending appeals to white resentment, the reporting that is held to the same standard of evidence as a political campaign attack ad -- is to see a refraction of its founder, one of the most skilled and fearsome operatives in the history of the Republican party ... Ailes has used Fox News to pioneer a new form of political campaign -- one that enables the Republican party to bypass sceptical reporters and wage an around-the-clock, partisan assault on public opinion. The network, at its core, is a giant soundstage created to mimic the look and feel of a news operation, cleverly camouflaging political propaganda as independent journalism." The rest is even worse. What a scumbag. #link

How To Build A Newsroom Time Machine

Shocking how much has changed in less than 20 years (I know one tabloid was still being cut-and-pasted into the late 1990s, though they'd moved to using an automated photo processor by then). #link

How live blogging has transformed journalism

Transformed? I don't know about that. But it's certainly made things more immediate, and works very well for events such as sports as they happen. In that respect live blogs might be the new radio. #link

Curation? What the hell does that mean?

Storyful explains it well: "Out of a fast-flowing river of news, curators are the zen-like bears, sitting amid the chaos, selectively plucking out the juiciest, shiniest salmon and then explaining which bits to eat." #link

What Scientology tells us about journalism

Bobbie Johnson on the crucial difference between balance and fairness. Is it fair to give both sides of an argument equal balance when we know one side is wrong? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way.) #link

Anger over Irish Mail on Sunday's 'Tribune edition'

Big furore over this; I can't recall it ever being done before. But it's no surprise that the Mail are behind the stunt. I mean, there's mockery at your competitors' misfortunes, and then there's a direct attempt to mislead consumers. Gutter journalism at its worst. #link

New papers: the San Francisco Panorama etcetera

Haven't yet opened my own copy of the Panorama. Yet no matter how good it is as a product in and of itself, if it's a prototype for what a daily newspaper should be it was ill-conceived from the start: there is simply no way that amount of effort, that amount of variety, can go into a daily publication. It's a pipe dream. Now as a weekend paper, that's a different matter. #link

Mind your language: in praise of subeditors

The editor of the Guardian style guide writes in praise of subeditors: "Given the indispensable contribution that they make, it seems perverse that the role of subs has been questioned, albeit mainly from those more interested in the cost of everything than the value of anything." #link

A True Story Of Daily Mail Lies

If there's one thing the US media has over the press on this side of the pond, it's this: fabricated stories end careers in the States, but seem to make them over here. #link

Dancing About Architecture

"It’s about experience and advice based education and information -- telling people who want to get into various sectors of journalism the truth of the business, giving practical advice, encouragement and tips." Site seems to be a bit fallow at the moment, but I'm still looking forward to those podcasts. #link

Popular Science+

I was sure I blogged about Mag+ before, but anyway: the concept has now come to life as an app for the iPad. I want to try it for myself to make a proper judgement, but conceptually this is the kind of thing the iPad needs to do well if it's to have any kind of longevity, IMHO. #link