Irish Journalists Wary of Social Media

Over half of Irish journalists use social media for sourcing news stories, according to the results of the first ever nationwide survey on the role of social media in journalism. Last week, the Digital Humanities and Journalism group of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), released its report Social Journalism Survey: First National Survey on Irish Journalists’ Use of Social Media (2014).

In order to get the broadest range of responses, the survey was open to all professional journalists in Ireland. Respondents worked in a range of media varying from print to broadcast to online-only publications. They operated across a wide variety of fields in all areas of reporting, including news, arts, sports and technology. 58% of Irish journalists use social media for news leads and content but very few rely on it for verifying information, preferring instead to directly contact the individuals in question.

Dr Bahareh Heravi, leader of the group at Insight NUI Galway, said that “very few journalists use specialist tools to validate information, instead relying on the practice of contacting individuals directly.” This was reflected in the finding that over half of the journalists questioned said that they believe social media undermines traditional journalistic values.

TCD to Receive €70 Million Loan for Capital Projects

Trinity College Dublin is set to receive a €70 million loan from The European Investment Bank (EIB) in order to help finance proposed capital projects at the university. Approved in principle, both sides are yet to agree the term and interest rate on the loan. A formal deal is expected to be reached in the coming months.

Some of the funds will be used to finance the establishment of the new Trinity Business School, which was announced as part of the university’s €600 million, five-year strategic plan last October. It will be co-located with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, which will see that development costing around €70 million.

The loan will also facilitate improvements to its IT infrastructure, the purchase of a location to host the Institute of Population Health, along with a cancer research institute at St. James’s Hospital. The estimated total cost of all these projects is approximately €148 million.

TCD also hopes to raise €20 million for capital projects from philanthropic donors, some of which are believed to be graduates of the institution. A spokeswoman for the university declined to name any donors at this point in time.

US University Establishes a Campus in Dingle

Sacred Heart University (SHU), of Connecticut, USA, is set to establish a campus in Dingle, Co. Kerry. The Provost of SHU, Laura Niesen de Abruna, signed a memorandum of agreement with University College Cork (UCC), the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), and the Institute of Technology of Tralee (ITT).

The new campus will be based in a former Christian Brothers School. SHU is currently in the process of  buying the building, which it plans to refurbish at a cost of €1m.  It also plans to develop a coastal research and learning centre with Dingle’s Ocean World Aquarium. In 2004, Irish scholar and parish priest of Dingle, Monsignor Padraig O’Fiannachta, established links with the Catholic SHU, through the Diseart Centre. Since then, students have been coming to Dingle to participate in short term courses at the Irish Centre for Cultural Studies.

Over 6,000 students attend SHU, and from next autumn students will have the opportunity to study part of their degrees in nursing, marine science and the performing arts in Dingle. 120 students are expected to attend the campus when it opens next September. Conservative estimates put the value of the project to the local economy at €500,000 annually, which has been widely welcomed by local groups.