“If a man is skilled enough that he can get Courtney Love to tell him about a threesome she had with Kate Moss, then there must be something in it…”

After their first in a series of workshops, UCC Journalism Society’s Rosie O’Keeffe writes about their first, a Writers Workshop, held on Wednesday the 14th of October in UCC’s Council Chambers, and featuring journalists Richard Barrett from Pundit Arena, and Hot Press writer Olaf Tyaransen.

The first of a series of workshops ran by UCC Journalism Society took place yesterday evening in the ornate Council Chambers in the North Wing of the Quad. We kick-started these events with a Writers Workshop and were lucky to have guest speakers Richard Barrett from Pundit Arena and the distinguished journalist Olaf Tyaransen from Hot Press magazine come and join us.

Pundit Arena is a sports media website that is ran by articulate fans and both aspiring and established journalists. The team at PA place an enormous emphasis on the journalist and try to characterise each individual. For example, you might be a ‘Matt’ – an undergraduate Commerce student, involved in the Journalism Society and with an active interest in sports and writing. The other character they use is ‘Philip’ – within the region of 35-44 years. Philip knows everything under the sun about a certain sport but is too busy with work and family to get his opinion down on paper. Whether you vision yourself as a Matt, a Philip or a grey area between the two, Pundit Arena makes it their mission to provide an outlet for you to express your thoughts.

The content of the journalists work is the product, and their job is to market it – a job which they can do very effectively, providing access to 550’000 followers across social media. Another refreshing aspect to this website is that it encourages their journalists to grow and move on rather than hinder their progress. If someone is writing articles frequently for PA and is consequently asked to write for the Sunday Times, the team at Pundit Arena will support their development as a journalist. Pundit Area currently has 1.1 million users and their vision is to reach 5 million. So if you think you know sports, and can put pen to paper, email write@punditarena.com to join the team.

Olaf Tyaransen has had a very interesting life, both personally and in terms of his career. Having grown up during the Rock and Roll scene he is an advocate for the legalisation of drugs and has spent time in places like Thailand and Ukraine, experiences which he later used to write about. He began his talk by reading out an interview he conducted with Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, an Ulster Loyalist convicted of many murders. Tyaransen’s journalistic style is both challenging and humorous; traits depicted when he questioned Adair about his sexuality and went on to say that his bravery was spurred on by the presence of his parole officer.

Having a colourful career in writing poetry, books and even films, his career in journalism really began by sending in film reviews to the Galway Advertiser in 1988. The editor didn’t want them. He kept sending them in anyway until they did. He began writing for Dublin’s Hot Press magazine in 1991 and remains today one of their most ‘controversial and adventurous writers.’ He has worked with names like Hugh Hefner, Courtney Love, Gerry Adams, Nick Cave and Damien Rice, some of whom inspired him to write the book ‘Palace of Wisdom’ in 2004 which was made up of a collection of his Hot Press interviews.

It was clear throughout the entire talk how passionate this man is about his writing. He is now looking to pursue some work in film because he sees a lot of potential money in it and although journalism is his first love, he feels it is very much a ‘feast or famine’ type of work – and if a man is skilled enough that he can get Courtney Love to tell him about a threesome she had with Kate Moss, then there must be something in it.

After the success of this event, we would highly encourage all to attend our next, a Radio Workshop on Wednesday the 28th of October. Our second in a series of workshops this term, our Radio Workshop aims to inform all attendees of what life as a broadcastor is like. We will feature some of Ireland’s greatest broadcastors, providing information on how they go about their day-to-day work, how they continue to stay on top of their game in a highly competitive field, and what you can expect if you were to follow a similar path.

For more information on this, or any other of UCC Journalism Society’s events, contact them using journalism@uccsocieties.ie.

 

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