Tag Archives: media

See-Ay-Oh.

That title may make no sense whatsoever to you, but I was just trying to mix things up a bit. And yes, I am aware that that was an extremely innovative and mind-blowing way of doing it. Titles are not my forte.

If you’re still lost, I’m talking about the CAO. Central Applications Office, for those of you lucky enough not to have a clue what those three little letters stand for; three little letters that strike fear into the hearts of sixth years nationwide. I’ve been thinking about what direction I want to go down later in life for a while now. I suppose that’s an obvious statement. In reality, I think that, as children, we’re always thinking about it, even if we don’t realise it. When I was four years old I decided I wanted to be a vet. Nothing else would suffice.

For the next nine years or so I watched every ‘Animal Hospital’, ‘Vets on Call’ and ‘Emergency Vets’ I could find. I dreamed of opening my own surgery and treating every animal that walked, hopped, flew, slid or swam through the door. Truth be told, I did manage to have my own veterinary hospital, where I successfully managed to treat all the stuffed toys I owned. There was a notebook too, where everything was recorded. I took things very seriously, although I did offer free check-ups.. Not sure was that such a good idea..

Fourteen years on, and I wish I was still as sure about my career as I was back then. Between then and now I’ve contemplated teaching, science, pharmacy, medicine, law, Irish, media and probably a lot more I can’t think of right now. The vet phase lasted until I started secondary school, and slowly I started thinking about science of some description. Then at some point, law became a possibility followed by journalism within the last year or two. To sum things up, I haven’t a clue what to do.

Since starting into our final year of secondary education, we’ve been bombarded with prospectuses, guidance sessions, predict-your-points worksheets, entry requirements, UCAS, HPAT, closing dates, open days and university fairs. That big, brown, scary CAO envelope was thrust into my hands all too soon, and things started to seem a bit too real and ‘official’.

My own dilemma is the fact that I am torn between two completely opposite areas. Should I go down the science route? Medicine, pharmacy, veterinary, biomed, biochem? After all, I’m doing both Chemistry and Biology, as well as honours maths, so surely this is the route I should be taking? We’re told it’s the future of our world, the smart economy, it’s where the jobs and the high salaries will be.

Then at the completely opposite end of the spectrum, we have law, journalism and media. Last Saturday, I went to talk upon talk at the UCC open day. Everything was great and interesting and what have you, but when I was listening to that law talk, it was like something clicked. When the lecturer described a law student, it was like she was describing me. When she talked about career opportunities, it was what I wanted to hear. I left UCC completely set on either Law and Irish or Law International. I had found ‘the one’.

Not for long though. The little insecurities slowly started creeping back. Will I like it? Employment opportunities? Is science ‘safer’? Is science more ‘sensible’? Am I really a more scientific person? So we’re back to square one.

After going through all of this, I have two main issues with the CAO system:

1. How are 17 and 18 year olds expected to know what they want to do? I know this has been said a thousand times before, but it’s so, so true that I see no harm in it being said again. The guidance we receive in school is minimal. Proper career guidance should begin well before we need to begin worrying about CAO forms, ideally in third year. I know that 5th year subject choice has affected a lot of people, so Leaving Cert is too late to begin talking about college courses.

2. My main gripe lies with the points system. This, too, is nothing new, but it probably affects me more than number 1. I’ll say it straight. A1 students only do medicine because they can. They do it for the prestige, to show forever that they got 600 points in the Leaving Cert. How in God’s name could they ever contemplate doing something like Arts? Sure, no-one would even know they were intelligent then! Ha! And so, we end up with lots of unhappy students: those doing medicine who wish they were somewhere else, and those who wish they had gotten medicine, whose place was robbed by unhappy student type 1.

Of course there’ll be exceptions. There are many students who get 550+ and do the low-points courses, because they realise it’s all based on supply and demand. But for the vast majority of them, they’ll always feel the need to answer ‘BIS, but I was thinking of doing Pharmacy too..’, when asked what course they’re doing.

Tomorrow I have my careers interview with the guidance counsellor. Let’s hope she can work some magic.

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Hello again..

I am such a bad blogger, I do know that. There is no regularity whatsoever to Wintertime Clothes anymore, so much so that I don’t think I should bother trying to make anyone read it. If they do, then I’ll be delighted but it’s like it’s always on the back of my mind if I haven’t written a post in a while. It used to be sort of a daily blog, and I was good at keeping that up for a while but I can’t seem to do that these days. I love writing, I love it a hell of a lot, but if blogging’s going to become a chore then I don’t think I should bother trying to pretend that I do a post everyday. Maybe if I say right now that I’ll do one post a week, or two posts a week then I’ll manage to stick to that. I read somewhere once that blogs should be regular. That doesn’t mean posting everyday, but just post at the same time every day/week/month so that your readers know when to expect a post.

I also know that blog posts should be short. I’m not good at keeping things short though. Once I start writing I don’t want to stop and then I think of a topic that would make a good blog post but I don’t know whether to throw it into the middle or do a separate post straight afterwards about that topic. I usually go with the former meaning that this blog has no structure whatsoever apart from the fact that the post title will most definitely not be applicable by the last sentence. If you get my drift.

I think I first started blogging just to keep me writing regularly. An English teacher told me that you can’t just not practice writing and expect to get an A in your essay. She said just write, about anything and everything once you’re forming words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs in some coherent manner. Hopefully this is semi-coherent anyway.

If you like reading all this stuff that has no logical sequence whatsoever then I’m a very lucky blogger. Recently, I’ve kind of started thinking about trying to build up a bit of a portfolio or something. Some day in the near-ish future I’ll need to be sending CVs to newspapers looking for a bit of freelance work and I’ll need something to show them. I write here about once a week but to be quite honest this isn’t something I’d want to be sending to a newspaper editor. It’s fine for a blog, but that’s what it is. There are two articles I could include in my ‘portfolio’ so far, namely a piece that was published in the ‘Go’ travel supplement in the Times, and an article I wrote about Plugd Records which won an award in an Irish Times competition. This blog isn’t exactly on par with that stuff like..

Speaking of journalism and all that jazz, I’m beginning to think I should just do what I said I never would and do journalism in DCU or UL or somewhere. Forget that whole get-a-solid-degree-and-then-do-a-masters shite. Media studies in NUIM looks very tempting too because you can combine it with a arts degree so you take media and two arts subjects in first year, drop one of the arts and continue to degree level with media and one arts subject. There’s Irish and Journalism in DCU too but I don’t think that’s exactly what I’m after. Maybe I’ll completely change my mind by CAO time but at least I’m doing some bit of thinking about it all.

There’s two other things I was going to mention but I just found out that Reeling in the Years is on Youtube and I now feel like looking back on simpler times. Ahhh..

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Filed under rambling

The Future of Media

Newspapers have always played an integral role in the reporting of news in years gone by. As the primary source of news, newspapers were a vital aspect of everyday life, and were usually the first outlet to deliver news stories to civilians.

As radio and television came to the fore, newspapers took a step back. Still though, most people comtinued to buy a daily or weekly paper. There are numerous Irish newspapers in operation today on both a local and national scale. They have huge offices, employ hundreds of people from journalists to photographers, graphic designers to reporters, and are a powerful force in Irish media.

Today, however, many newspapers are struggling due to a change in the way we source our news. Whereas once before newspapers delivered breaking news stories, these events are now reported on television and radio long before they ever reach the front page of a national publication.

A new phenomenon being witnessed is that of real time news via the Internet. Recent news stories such as the Iranian elections, Michael Jackson’s death and the earthquake in Haiti are perfect examples of how media is changing. You don’t just have professional journalists, photographers and TV crews in the area, but also local people, spreading their knowledge through the medium of websites such as Twitter.

Twitter has become infamous in the past couple of years, and is a widely exploited resource for individuals and companies alike. In the last Irish general election, results were first posted on RTE’s twitter page, providing up-to-the-minute content for the world to see. Anyone can post a message on Twitter, and because of this, it is difficult to sort out the reliable from the timewasters.

So therein lies the question. Each one of us has at our hands access to more information than our grandparents could have thought possible. The problem we face is trying to find the good, and reject the bad. Mark Little, an Irish journalist, has taken a year out from his position as host of RTE’s Prime Time to focus on a digital media and global journalism project that aims to deliver to us reliable news as it happens. An avid Twitterer, Little is convinced that the Internet has changed media forever.

One has to contemplate what lies ahead for traditional media outlets. In 2008 The Irish Times made its articles available for free online, along with a real-time news feed. Is this the future for print media? With online news sources gaining more popularity, the stories in newspapers may be viewed as history due to the time constraints they are under to get the newspaper printed.

The younger Irish generation will not be willing to pay for news if they can obtain it for free online. I read irishtimes.com daily, and therefore have no need to read any newspaper my parents may buy. I regularly hear breaking news stories long before my parents, who rely on television, radio and newspapers.

There is no doubt that the way we source news is changing. The burning question is whether or not this will lead to the demise of the traditional print media. Personally, I believe there will always be a need for reliable sources of news. There’s nothing like having a physical copy of a newspaper to flick through, and reading not only the news stories, but comments and analysis on a wide range of topics including society, education, and life. Who knows what lies ahead; we’ll just have to wait and see.

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