By Aoife O’Rourke, BA in Journalism and New Media, University of Limerick
The Current Issues in Irish Journalism Seminar series allows all Journalism students at UL to hear talks from a variety of speakers in the industry. This semester saw the Irish Examiner’s Investigative Journalist Conall O’Fatharta speak about his experience in his career and the challenges he faced along the way.
He spoke about a wide range of topics that he has investigated which mostly included illegal adoptions, foreign adoption waiting list and mothers and babies deaths at Tuam. Conall said that he wanted to do the story on the illegal adoptions when he saw the simple words, ‘illegal’ and ‘adoptions’. He said he saw a story behind that that he thought would be of interest which turned out to spark quite an interest in the nation.
Conall gave some great advice throughout this seminar, advice that he has learnt through experience in his career. Conall said:
“You need the courage to go on your gut. If you see something that doesn’t stick right with you, make a few phone calls, meet people and ask questions”.
Conall spoke about how he has been threatened with legal action in the past which comes with the type of work he does but nevertheless he still works on his passion. He came across as very passionate about his job and spoke in a very uplifting manner.
Conall gave some great advice to the training journalists about FOI’s (Freedom of Information Act Requests). He told all students to know their rights and not to be afraid to act on it.
Conall ended the seminar with something for all students to remember when writing a story:
“…changing the narrative, that’s what good journalism is”.
Watch Conall’s full seminar below: