The Dublin Inquirer: Some Geographical Insights

Launched in June 2015, the Dublin Inquirer online newspaperdublininquirerfront provides insights with direct relevance for geographers with interests in, for example, urban politics, geopolitics, transport geography, social geography and cultural geography. With a weekly publication date of Wednesdays (and a monthly print edition), the paper offers insights into an array of topics related to Dublin, ranging from the everyday workings of the city council, the tracking of cycling accidents in the city, to the experiences of the Turkish community in the city. It thus offers a useful way of relating some of the material you are seeing in your courses to everyday debates. As an example, the latest edition (Wednesday 5th October, 2016) covers topics such as housing tenure in O’Deveney Gardens, volunteering in Syria, and the role of cultural quarters in Dublin.

For students looking for interesting topics to begin a research project, the Dublin Inquirer could also be seen as a useful starting point for engaging with a field study. For example, a common feature is a focus on the the politics of urban public space. Recent articles have focused on debates over the conversion of vacant space on Bridgefoot St to a public park, the pedestrianization of College Green, and ongoing debates over the transformation of Wolfe Tone Park in the early 2000’s. From the perspective of a student interested in the public space, these, and other articles, raise core geographical questions: What types of debates emerge over public space? What is the relationship between planning, urban design and usage? What are the different ideologies about how public space ‘should’ be used, and and how is this negotiated between different groups? From such, and as raised in the case of Wolfe Tone Park, it might also be asked what the commercial use of public space means in terms of the ‘publicness’ of urban space? At various scales, the Dublin Inquirer allows for the everyday politics of space to emerge and be further analyzed.

As with all forms of media, the Dublin Inquirer could also act as an entry point into more nuanced forms of discussion or research. Students might ask themselves in what way the coverage in this paper differs from that of the mainstream media outlets, such as The Irish Times and The Irish Independent, particularly their coverage of property and local politics. The Dublin Inquirer stresses its independent apdublininquirerstockistsproach, which, arguably, allows a greater level of freedom in writing about issues around approaches to housing and urban planning. Taking such debates further, with part of its focus being directed towards emerging consumption habits – around eating, drinking and shopping – it is also possible to ask what type of reader the Dublin Inquirer is targeting and thus how the newspaper itself slots into the mediation and reinforcement of such trends. Indeed, the publication of the print version on a monthly basis demonstrates a desire within the Dublin Inquirer to differentiate itself from other online media outlets, and establish a more tangible presence in the city. A student wishing to analyze the social significance of this might push their line of questioning further and ask what do the locations of its print edition kiosks say about the relationship of the paper to recent demographic changes in Dublin.

Philip Lawton


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