MY LOCAL NEWSAGENT gives me four newspapers and some change when I hand over €8.50 every Sunday. And I cull questions every Sunday out of habit. It's a habit grounded in the Monday Media Writing class that I teach during the academic term--questions I use to elicit student responses. That class is retired for the summer break but the questions keep arising. Today, they came from stories that have roots in at least two of these titles: Sunday Business Post, Sunday Times, Sunday Tribune and The Nationalist.
1. What tactic returns value for money consistently for Irish advertisers? Sponsoring an award that appeals to mini-celebrities in Ireland. Low-wattage luminaries--people like TV3 entertainment news presenter Lorraine Keane--heartily embrace their roles as walking billboards. This is a tendency spotlighted by Liam Fay.
2. Enda Kenny, the opposition political leader in Irish politics, roundly denounces every aspect of decentralisation. But which element of decentralisation has merit, in his opinion? The decision to move a government department to Knock, located in his own constituency of Mayo. Matt Cooper, Alan Ruddock and Damien Kiberd have noted Kenny's parish pump politics on several occasions.
3. When measured as a percentage of the workforce, union membership in Ireland is declining year after year. Why is that happening? Because people are looking for careers, not jobs for life. You can do that best without joining a union that restricts your work practises. David McWilliams won't say this openly but Alan Ruddock does quite often.
4. In which Irish city do employees work the least number of hours? In Dublin, workers put in 34 hours a week, or six hours and fifty-two minutes a day. The figures come from Amarach Consulting in a press release they've managed to stick into the mainstream media.
5. Who is the veteran entrepreneur turned venture capitalist who is twice as old as the average Bebo user, had never heard of Bebo four months ago, and now is a board member of the social network? Barry Maloney, whose communications staff have plastered his presence in all the Sunday papers today.
6. What do appraisers believe a garage in Rathgar or Rathmines is worth? One million euro. That's a Sunday Business Post story.
7. Babcock and Brown's plan to increase Eircom line rental charges by 6% will boost company profits by how much? €30m annually. This press fodder is an opening salvo in a campaign designed to show how Eircom is offering increased services for customers. You will pay for that increased service.
8. Who has told Fianna Fail that the route back to success is for the party to spend less time and money on focus groups and more time listening to its own elected deputies? John McGuiness, TD. McGuinness is good at flying kites for the back benches and he takes his share of hits because of it.
9. What single act would inject more democracy into Irish politics? Eliminate social partnership agreements between government, unions, and special interest groups. All the mainstream business writers say this.
10. What price will property portal MyHome.ie fetch when sold? Around €40m. That's a talking point among Irish tech developers and the Sunday Business Post staff too.
That's my picture of the Rock of Cashel which has been used in several government and touristic promotions. It's free to use through a Creative Commons license.