Journalism: A Tough But Exciting Industry

Tuesday, 1st August 2017

Henry Silke - Journalism Lecturer

I am a lecturer in journalism with a focus on teaching investigative journalism and research methods. I’ve been lecturing in journalism here for one year; I come from a communications background. I was a TEFL teacher for years before and I have been teaching for over 10 years and lecturing on a part- time basis for 5/6 years.

In research I mainly look at ideology; I just wrote a paper about the representation of privatisation in the Irish media looking at the coverage, or lack thereof, of the recent privatisation of Bord Gáis Eireann. I am also exploring the role of journalism and communications in economics, such as the role of the press in the Irish economic crisis.

I am also involved in a major international project studying journalistic role performance. This investigates how journalists see themselves, what they believe they are doing, and the kind of journalism they would like to be doing. Then, via content analysis, we compare their thoughts to what they are actually doing.

We are teaching some of the latest developments in media and journalism such as MoJo, mobile journalism, and how it works. A smartphone is a production, editing and distribution system all in one, broadcasting to potentially millions.  As software is constantly changing we teach the underlying principles of subjects such as editing, that remains universal across platforms.

Journalism is a really exciting industry that is changing a lot, there are lots of things happening so it is a very exciting time to be in it. While it is a difficult time to establish a career, there are also opportunities there that did not exist even ten years ago. The media-sphere is constantly changing but we believe that there is still a need for good professional journalism.

Journalism is a tough industry, however, the students do really well here and they can diversify into loads of different areas. Students have gone into the Irish Times, the Irish Independent and the Irish Examiner; our industry contacts are really good. You can also study journalism but you don’t have to be a journalist, you can go into PR, content writing; it is wide open and we are introducing more digital elements to the MA such as digital design.

Journalism as a subject in UL is only 8 years old; it is very new and wide open to build something very interesting here. In UL we can go with the research we want to do and we are hoping to establish a school of critical journalism. We organised a conference here last year, “Journalism in Times of Crisis”, and I was at conferences in Bulgaria and Leicester; I try to go to two conferences a year.