independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Dynamic 'Independent' prepared for future, says editor

Irish Independent Editor Stephen Rae addressing an issue at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland’s annual conference at Clyde Court, Dublin yesterday. Also pictured are Press Ombudsman John Horgan (left) and Angelina Fusco

THE Irish Independent is transitioning from a newspaper into a broader news organisation, its editor Stephen Rae said.

The future of media involved telling stories through print, audio, video and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, he said.

Mr Rae, speaking at the annual conference of the Press Relations Institute of Ireland in Dublin yesterday, said people would continue to consume news from trusted brands, adding: "People ask about newspapers, but we call ourselves a news organisation."

The newspaper and the website Independent.ie were already telling stories in different mediums. "We are in transition and it's exciting for all involved," said Mr Rae.

Leading figures in the PR industry gathered yesterday to hear speakers, including RTE's managing director of news Kevin Bakhurst; Angelina Fusco, editor of TV News, BBC NI; Press Ombudsman Prof John Horgan, and social media specialist Gareth O'Connor.

The PR industry in Ireland is facing huge challenges as audiences become fragmented and brands try to reach their customers.

The use of social media to connect with consumers and audiences was key as consumers transformed from being passive receivers to active participants.

Dr Gavin Titley, of the Centre for the Study of Media, Power and the Public, said the increasing fragmentation of media audiences had led to an "expansion of options".

Social media and traditional brands, he said, had provided a torrent of information but people still prized accurate news.

RTE managing director for news Kevin Bakhurst said the broadcaster had submitted its five-year strategic plan to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

RTE was continuing to modernise and would continue to provide Irish content as well as accurate, impartial reporting.

On recent controversies such as the botched Fr Reynolds 'Prime Time' programme, Mr Bakhurst added: "Journalism is a human business. You can only do your best to avoid mistakes."

Irish Independent

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