Sunday 25 February 2018

The Irish Independent roster, 24/04/1916

The Irish Independent newsdesk diary entry for Easter Monday, 1916.
The Irish Independent newsdesk diary entry for Easter Monday, 1916.

The day-to-day operation of a newsroom is underpinned by the diary, and its list of 'markings', the known events for which a reporter and/or a photographer is assigned.

So it was in the Irish Independent in 1916, when the news diary for April 24, Easter Monday, was drawn up.

One reporter was marked for the Viceregal visit to Belfast, but simmering national unrest was obvious. A reporter called Linnane was required to check out 'Brittas and dynamite' and 'volunteers and Kerry incident'. Two others were also marked for 'volunteers', one of them to take in 'strikes' as well.

Most were not to finish their shift without a theatre assignment, at venues including the Abbey, Queen's, Tivoli, Royal and the Empire (today's Olympia).

Some of those theatres have long gone but, 100 years on, the diary has a certain familiarity. A reporter called Knightly was down for the Teachers' Congress, in Cork, which we would know today as the INTO annual conference. Among the motions for discussion was one condemning 'the Irish Government and the British Treasury for the callous indifference shown to the conditions of the Irish teachers'.

Another reporter was assigned to the drapers' assistants' annual convention and dinner. Mandate, the union representing retail trade workers, still holds its delegate conference at this time of year.

They were among the markings - but then there was also the dramatic, breaking news, carefully recorded and writ large across the diary page: 'Revolution breaks out in city between 11 and 12 noon'.

Katherine Donnelly

Irish Independent

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