Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí students set to be journalists of tomorrow

Tralee Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí students pictured front: Mairead de Búrca agus Jousha Ó Morningside and back: Rachel Ní Shé, Nia Ní Chiarba agus Roisín Ní Mhathúna.

Fergus DennehyKerryman

Could the next Woodward or Bernstein be a Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí student?

Who knows what the future holds but what we do know is the journalism journey for a number enthusiastic Tralee students began earlier this month when they were given the chance to take part in something called the ‘Tomorrow’s Journalist’ module.

This three-day online event gave students the opportunity to undertake a brand new online journalism module where they were taught by some of the leading TV, radio and digital journalists.

Writing about how they found the course, two students from the Irish school, Rachel Ní Shé and Máiread De Búrca gave a breakdown this week of what they learnt and what they experienced over the three days.

“I was ambivalent about registering for it [the journalism course] at first but my teacher did a good job at convincing me and I suddenly found myself entering my details into the registration form. Now, after completing the course, I would say that I’m glad that I submitted,” said Rachel.

Going on, the pair said that as the days progressed, they were lucky enough to get a chance to listen and speak to a number of journalists working in the field on a variety of topics.

One such journalist was Dan Dwyer who discussed the history behind journalism and how it evolved from coffee houses as they served as a repository of intellectual debates about current events, gossip and the opportunity to voice one’s opinion.

Soon, Dan explained that radio became an outlet for just that with people such as activist Margaretta D’Arcy who set up a radio station named Radio Pirate Woman. She used this as a way for all women no matter what political affiliation to speak transparently about issues and their view on matters.

The students said that Dan stressed the importance of using your position as a journalist to confront social issues and to always remain critical.

Another who generously gave his time to the students was Journalist Shane Ó Curraighín and during the course, students got to watch clips of Shane’s previous stories regarding the lack of rights regarding surrogacy, the debilitating nature of cystic fibrosis and the controversial action of imposing a windfarm in a place named Gougane Barra.

Despite the critical nature of his pieces, he also emphasized the importance of remaining neutral and unbiased when reporting a story.

In addition, Ó’ Curraighín stated that when covering stories with such sensitive substance you have to be careful and discerning when it comes to interviewing people and sharing their story to the eye of the public.

Finally, the last journalist who spoke to the students was Sonia Nic Giolla Easpaig.

Covering just as heavy topics as Shane, Sonia shared with them her time in Israel experiencing part of the long-lasting war between Israel and Palestine for herself as well as her interview with a woman who contracted ovarian cancer and her struggle but in contrast her bravery surmounting her disease.

On a lighter note, Sonia reminisced to the students about her experience climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and how she was granted that opportunity by sheer circumstance, but she made sure she took it.

A piece of final advice that she shared with the students was this: take any opportunity you get.