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From college assignment to published article: How my Radio & Production project inspired a newspaper piece

Image by Svenvan Bellen for Pexels

College assignments may feel both exhausting and overwhelming, yet they serve as pivotal components of our learning journey. These tasks impart invaluable skills that we can leverage in our future careers. 

One such assignment from February last year, focusing on investigating illegal dumping, proved to be a pivotal moment for me. Through dedication and hard work, I refined this project, ultimately transforming it into my debut article for the Dublin Inquirer.

This publication marked a significant milestone in my journey as a journalist. It not only showcased my growth and dedication but also contributed to my recognition as the recipient of the Journalist of the Year – National Media and the EPA Award for Journalism Relating to the Environment in 2024.

For more insights into this story, visit the college website for further details.

What fueled my decision to delve into the illegal dumping issue in the inner city was my profound anger towards the problem. This intense emotion provided me with the determination to pursue the same story for months on end and shine a spotlight on this pressing issue.

Upon embarking on my journalism career, I quickly realised that the social injustices that ignited my anger were the very forces propelling me to pursue stories and push my boundaries. This approach yielded fruitful results for a considerable period. However, following my coverage of a harrowing incident on Parnell Street and involvement in an investigation into the housing crisis, I found myself emotionally drained and depleted.

No longer fueled by anger, I was left feeling despondent, defeated, and hopeless about the myriad issues plaguing our world (but rest assured, I’ve since bounced back). I needed to unearth a new source of motivation to press onward, and that inspiration came in the form of my passion for art and culture. 

Fortunately, I was blessed with a discerning editor who possessed a keen eye for spotting nuances, often before I even recognised them myself.

In one of my pitches, amidst ideas for investigations into pressing social issues, I casually mentioned an art feature. Days later, my editor approached me with a different proposal: covering an art event showcasing illustrators leading a community creative session. Though it deviated from my original pitch, I was thrilled at the prospect of covering such an engaging event.

It felt like my editor had thrown me a lifeline at that moment.

YES!

I realised that I wasn’t weary of working; rather, I was grappling with my emotions.

I expressed my gratitude to Lo for the opportunity to explore an art feature, acknowledging that I was still grappling with the emotional toll of investigating social issues and could benefit from a brief respite. I’m thankful for Lo’s provision of an open and safe space for me to pour out my feelings and articulate what I’m experiencing.

The thrill of seeing my first art article published on the 17th of April was unmatched. The artists featured in the piece, Marina Marinina and Michelle Urban, were delighted with the article, igniting within me the passion to pursue another culture-focused article. This time, my attention turned to independent multicultural artists.

In late 2022 and early 2023, I had the privilege of being taught by Franchesca Lalor. Franchesca is an exceptional and inspiring lecturer, and I hope that you have had the opportunity to learn from her as well. She expanded my horizons to the world of Radio Documentary, showcasing beautiful works and imparting valuable techniques during her classes.

My love for songwriting and independent music has always been a driving force, coupled with a fascination for the buskers and hidden multicultural talents lining the streets of Dublin.

My passion for the subject matter, combined with Franchesca’s excellent teaching and support, played a pivotal role in pushing my creative boundaries to produce “Urban Jungle”, my radio documentary. The recognition came when “Urban Jungle” was nominated for the Smedias Award in 2023, a testament to the dedication and effort poured into the project. Though I did not secure the award, the nomination itself was a significant achievement.

After the ceremony, I found myself pondering whether I could ever replicate the success of “Urban Jungle.” Perhaps not in exactly the same manner, but I was eager to explore new avenues of creativity.
This month, I revisited the “Urban Jungle” universe and embarked on crafting an article centred around a Brazilian artist who transitioned from busking to performing in popular venues.

The article also delved into the songwriting journey of another multicultural singer, among other topics. However, I was determined to infuse the piece with a sense of authenticity and interactivity. 
In addition to breathing life into the concepts explored in my radio documentary, I made the bold decision to enhance the narrative by creating a complementary video. This multimedia approach aimed to provide readers with a more immersive and engaging experience.

It was a spontaneous decision that took me days to bring to fruition. I crafted the video independently before presenting it to the editor, fully aware of the risk involved. However, I reasoned that if the editor didn’t approve, I could repurpose it for a future assignment.


To my relief and delight, the editor embraced both the video and the concept. Francesca encapsulated the sentiment perfectly in a recent email, emphasising the importance of having an editor with imagination and receptiveness to new ideas. I couldn’t agree more.


The article, along with the accompanying video, was published on 24 April. While I’m tempted to share the link, I’m holding off to avoid spoiling my next assignment, which will feature another video component. I’ll a video that showcase Dafne talent instead.

Following the publication of this article, I’ve returned to investigative journalism, focusing once again on pressing social issues. I’m already immersed in a new feature, feeling revitalised and reinvigorated. It seems all I needed was a brief respite from anger and a shift in focus to love and culture to reignite my passion and drive.

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