Journalists’ departure

The steady migration from media to politics

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

A chara, – In her column, Justine McCarthy (“Why are so many journalists leaving to work for government?”, April 26th) laments the transfer of journalists to trade in the dark art of spin-doctoring.

The words of Virginia Woolf come to mind – “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for friends, and then you do it for money.” – Is mise,




Co Dublin.

Sir, – Justine McCarthy gives voice to what many of us know to be true.

But then your columnist says, “The time has come for media organisations to impose specific rules of conduct for its journalists working in the national parliament building.”

When the chief of staff to An Taoiseach is a former, well-regarded journalist with this newspaper, good luck with that. – Is mise,



Co Kerry.

Sir, – Describing the steady migration of journalists to careers as political advisers, perhaps understandably Justine McCarthy sees the process from the perspective of the fourth estate – as a loss to her profession.

I honestly see it in even more negative terms.

Given the complexity of modern life, I accept that politicians will need advisers. Modern science, engineering, medicine and logistics are beyond the likely comprehension of many elected to high office or to their civil servants.

But the expertise of journalism is in communication and understanding the public viewpoint.

This ought to be the forte of career politicians.

It’s tempting to assume that such help is sought to gain insight into normal opinions, to dispel and handle examination by other journalists and to deliver the views the public wishes to hear.

That so many political advisers are not experts in a technical discipline but rather in providing commentary is a rather disheartening observation, one which may explain why the gap between what is said and done seems to grow ever wider. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.