A Quick Interview with a Female Journalist

Journalism is such a big career choice for students nowadays. Every day we are subjected to some form of journalism or media, be it the radio in your car or kitchen, the newspaper you buy every evening or happen to have in the home. According to the American Press Institute “Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.”

There are many different roles in journalism, role in both print, broadcast and online. Some of the roles in print journalism are: editor, sub editor, picture editor, feature and sports editors. With Journalism being a male dominate field it is always wonderful to hear about the women who do just as well. Orla Ryan, a journalist with the Journal.ie had a few things she wanted to tell us about journalism.

Orla Ryan always enjoyed her English class in school and when they did media based projects. As part of Transition Year in secondary school, Orla did her work experience with The Western People which helped her direct her future career in journalism. Once secondary school was over, she did a Communications BA in DCU and two years later did a Journalism MA in NUI Galway.

There are a number of different ways to study journalism, by going to third level college or by doing a QQI course. Post Leaving Certificate courses or PLC’s are another way of studying or become a journalist after a PLC you can then progress to a Higher National Diploma course or straight into third level education.

Orla started working with TheJournal.ie back in October 2011. Her first article was a book award piece when Seamus Heaney was to ‘get lifetime award as Irish Book Awards shortlist released.’ Orla has written many different articles for TheJournal.ie on female sport as well as some opinion pieces.

When she was asked about the pros of working in journalism and she responded with, “Every day can be different. You get to meet lots of interesting people and see new places… It was really rewarding to be involved in compiling extensive surveys of TDs and Senators on important issues such as marriage equality, the 8th Amendment and water charges.” Being in journalism, Orla managed to “cover the Siteserv story in detail” which cost taxpayers to lose millions.

However, Orla mentioned a few cons about being a journalist. Around the time of diary events and big other major event, like a general election, can be crazy. “You can end up working very long hours” with trying to get all the new and exciting news to report.

Unsociable hours are nothing new for journalists but around these big events, they get worse.

Working as a journalist can have many perks, some being: traveling, meeting famous people and having your name in the public. Orla was lucky enough to travel “through internships with the New York Observer and the Guardian, and a volunteer placement via EIL (an NGO based in Cork) in South Africa, where I made a radio documentary about HIV.”

EIL Intercultural Learning is a “not for profit” organisation based in Cork, Ireland. The provide intercultural learning for people by studying abroad in a number of different countries. Some of the countries available to travel to are; Ghana, India, Nepal, Guatemala and Ecuador. According to the EIL website, “EIL programmes are designed to provide tools to survive and thrive in another culture or in a different language.”

She has also had a major work experience in TheJournal.ie last November when she was in charge of a series on death. “I came up with the concept of the series and several of the article ideas. I wrote a number of pieces about the death of loved ones” including her own personal experience. “The series really struck a chord with people and helped them discuss a topic that is very important but often extremely difficult to bring up.”

Orla gave some really good advice for young people who are looking to go into journalism; “Read a lot and take in as much news as you can. Twitter lists can be a great source of interesting articles and information.” Taking in as much news as you can be an important part of becoming a journalist. You need to be on top of what’s going on around you. Following big news sites and journalists on Twitter and Facebook will help you stay informed.

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