Weekend news roundup

6 Apr 2010

A quick glance at some of the technology stories breaking in the weekend papers.

Don’t blame just Flickr for traditional photography slump

The Observer carried an interesting piece on how the rise of Flickr is not to solely blame for the decline of the traditional photography business. Because Flickr is so prominent, it’ll get most of the blame for the destruction of yet another venerable profession. But, in fact, the rot had set in long before the site launched in February 2004. Professional photography comes in various genres, each of which is being affected in different ways by changing technology. At the top end lies photojournalism and fashion photography. These are being undermined by the decline in print media, the rise of video and the advertising recession, and may or may not recover depending on what happens to the print publishing business.

Licence fee money should buy sporting events rights: business leaders

The Sunday Independent reported that almost half of Ireland’s business leaders believe that RTE should use the money from the licence fee to buy the rights to top sporting events, such as the soccer World Cup and the Six Nations Championships. It is believed that the broadcasters of Donnybrook will have to pay up to €10m on sporting rights in 2010, on the back of a large dip in advertising revenues and a reduction in the amount raised from the licence fee. Critics of the state broadcaster, including TV3, have long argued that the licence fee should be used to fund home-grown content, not international sport.

Limerick school installs waterless urinals

It’s the innovation economy! The Sunday Times carried a piece on how a school in Limerick has installed waterless urinals in a move to prevent money being flushed down the pan. With schools facing large bills for water charges, several more are now considering panning conventional lavatories in favour of more eco-friendly flushless models. Diarmuid Ó Murchú, principal of the Model School in Limerick City, said he hoped the urinals, developed by a Sligo company, would be more hygienic than conventional loos and would also save on costs. The average urinal uses between 50,000 and 150,000 litres of water per year, according to Ortwin Reintjes of BR Waterless Solution. He estimates that each urinal can save more than €300 per annum based on current water charges. Limerick City Council currently charges €2.30 per 1,000 litres of water, he said.

Runawaybrideandgroom.com draws international interest

The Sunday Business Post reported how just a few weeks ago the backers of new Irish honeymoon and wedding website Runawaybrideandgroom.com invested €320 in ads on Facebook. Now they are taking calls from global media organisations including Fox News, CNN, the Chinese Herald Network, Australian radio, Canadian radio – and even from Hollywood producers interested in making a reality TV show. Their campaign asked people to apply for a position billed as the world’s ultimate job: a six-month contract to visit and evaluate five-star wedding and honeymoon resorts across the world, for which they would be paid €20,000. The competition spread virally across the world, with 30,000 people expressing interest and attracting 140,000 visitors so far to the site, which launched in February. According to Rosemarie Meleady, a professional wedding planner who co-founded the site with PR executive Jillian Godsil and Zara Stassin, it’s a genuine job offer. ‘‘We get offers all the time to spend time at five-star hotels overseas, but we just don’t have the time,” she said. ‘‘We really could use somebody to go and research them first-hand.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years