I have been teaching at the University since 2015. I hold a BA in English and History from UCC and considered teaching for a while, but was offered a job as a journalist with Radio Kerry. I worked as a Journalist and Deputy News Editor there for fourteen years. The role was challenging but varied. Throughout my work, I began to think about the process and practice of journalism and what areas we can pay lip service to, notwithstanding the pressures the industry is facing.
This led me to undertaking my MA in Media at IT, Tralee, where I made a radio documentary on people with acquired brain injury. It is called “The Silent Wounded”. This won gold at the New York International Radio Festivals. I was also fortunate enough to have been part of a multi award winning team of journalists with Radio Kerry and won a number of PPI/National Radio awards with them.
"This research is examining how the print media write about cases of murder-suicide in Ireland."
Once I realized that my interests in journalism were shifting somewhat, I was lucky to get a position here at the University of Limerick, teaching what I love. I teach on a lot of broadcast modules and some print modules. The varied nature of the role and the abilities of students is something that I embrace as journalism is such an evolving area of study.
After some time, I decided to undertake a PhD. This research is examining how the print media write about cases of murder-suicide in Ireland. It looks at the framing and their experience of writing these stories, the challenges they face and it offers some prescriptions for best practice going forward. I am really interested in this, as I feel that both media critics, do not give heed to the demands of the work of journalists and the ever changing and challenging environment under which they operate. Albeit, journalists are not without fault either and I have wondered, if they are speaking truth to power, who is their watchdog?
"The University of Limerick of is a wonderful hive of activity and support for PhD students"
The University of Limerick of is a wonderful hive of activity and support for PhD students. There are a multitude of courses, programmes, and advice sessions on offer to you, from undertaking academic referencing programmes to getting advice on how to get your research published.
I have attended numerous workshops, including on Nvivo which has been invaluable to me in my research. I have also been fortunate enough to receive two fee waivers from AHSS, which thankfully covered my fees.
My research has been presented in Dublin, Belfast and here at UL on more than ten occasions and it has been invaluable in terms of feedback from my academic peers. A number of years ago I organized a symposium here at the University, which examined issues around the media coverage of mental health. It was excellent to get the perspectives of national news editors, journalists, media watchdogs as well as those impacted by coverage.
Earlier this year I had my research published along with my supervisor Dr Fergal Quinn and colleague Dr Muireann Prendergast. I am in the process of working on my next article, which I aim to have submitted for publication in the New Year. I am also working a national review group, which is considering how the media report on familicide and make recommendations on best practice. The findings of which are likely to be published next year.