You can’t out-Herald the Herald

The amazing thing about the collapse of the Dublin Daily is that I wasn’t involved with it. Because I’ve damn well been involved with nearly every other newspaper failure in Dublin over the past 10 years.

Oh yes. The Evening Press, The Leader, The Evening News and The Dublin People have all had the privilege of having my hex on them.

I believe that I was the last journalist working with the Evening News. I was covering a council meeting at 3pm on a Monday out in Tallaght, if I remember correctly. I recall getting a few funny looks as I entered the council chamber but I put it down to a bad hair day or something (see above).

Then one of my colleagues from the Echo or the Herald sidled over to me and asked wonderingly: “who are you here for today?”

“The Evening News” said I.

“Oh” she said. And after a short reflective pause: “They closed down at 11 O’Clock this morning.”

A quick cast of my eyes around the chamber showed that the news guy had become the news. “I suppose I better go home, then” I said and left the chamber with whatever dignity I could muster. If I had a tail I probably would have tripped on it.

My first piece for a national newspaper was an interview with Paul Brady I did for the Evening Press. The features editor, John Boland later told me that it managed to get as far as the cutting block. Then the management sacked Colm Rapple and the rest is history.

The Leader followed and I freelanced for them until it became clear the Dublin didn’t want a weekly paper. The Leader died so that the Evening News could be born.

And here we tried our case with the Dublin People. Even with the backup and shared overheads of the Northside People and the Southside People we couldn’t make it pay.

And now we know that a Dublin daily won’t work either. I have to say that I thought it was a bad idea from the start.

They made the same mistake as the Evening News. They tried to take on the Herald.

And I can’t understand it. Why in heaven’s name would Dublin need another Evening Herald? Whatever you might think of it, the Herald does what it does excellently.

If a sane person wanted to introduce an evening paper in Dublin, would a broadsheet not make a lot more sense? The Times and the Indo together are huge sellers in the morning in Dublin. By the time the evening market kicks in, around 2pm, the morning broadsheets are over 14 hours old. And, of course, there would be no need to take on the Herald.

The Dublin newspaper market just doesn’t function like the rest of the country. Ourselves and the Echo are effectively the local papers in Dublin. There is no media operating at the level of the local identities in Dublin, like Finglas, Dun Laoghaire or Rathmines and life in Dublin is all the poorer for it.

I wish my colleagues at the Dublin Daily well in finding alternative employment. I know all about it.