Tuesday 25 April 2017

Ireland through a grimy windowpane

Aengus Fanning

TIM Pat Coogan bears the scars of life lightly. A veteran of a thousand battles in newspapers and politics, he is as engaging as ever, as vital, and as fond of the vivid soundbite as he was when he was the youngest editor in the country and had brought the Irish Press to sales of 104,000.

He is proud of his role as anenlightened pathfinder for women in journalism, and of his discovery and promotion of sometimes awkward talents like MaryKenny, Anne Harris and Rosita Sweetman.

The old warrior surveys today's newspaper landscape with a sombre eye. "I think there is a big threat over it from foreign competition," he said, as we stood, appropriately enough, in the Garden of Remembrance. "There is a certain inertia in our response to the challenge of the growth in Ireland of people like Murdoch, both in print and television, and to Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail. "These are profound threats which call for a lot of investment and thinking ahead by the Irish controllers of the print media," he continued. "You've only got to look at the pricing - I mean, you can buy the Guardian and the Irish News together for not much more than the cost of buying an Irish morning paper.

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