Thursday, 3 January 2019

Safer Internet Forum Brussels 2018: A Better Internet for Kids and 4 Us All

In November,  I had a welcome opportunity to take a break from studying for my Leaving Certificate to travel to Brussels. I was double-jobbing so to speak, as firstly,  I was invited to Brussels to receive an award as a finalist in the inaugural Safer Internet 4 EU European Awards, having qualified during the summer. The second reason I was in cosmopolitan BXL was as a member of the Better Internet 4 Kids European Youth Panel representing and Ireland on the Youth Panel.

My Digital Pledge and the Safer Internet 4EU Awards

I was thrilled during the summer to hear that my digital pledge had made the final of the awards. I made and shared my pledge online last year to raise awareness of how we can all take responsibility for our online behaviour and how we can use the internet in a safe and ethical way. My digital pledge, which you can view below was a simple idea showing how we all have a voice in staying safe online. I shared this on social media and a number of schools and youth groups in Ireland and other countries have replicated it and used it to help young people to think about how they use the internet. Click below to see my pledge:

In advance of the awards, I made a video explaining why I thought making a digital pledge was a good idea. You can check out this video below:

I received my award from Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner. She spoke on the day about the importance of the voice of young people and how the European Commission wants to help young people to have their voices heard on the really important topic so that we can have the skills and values we need to thrive in a digital society. I really think to have the Commissioner supporting the Safer Internet 4 EU campaign shows how important the development of digital literacy and knowing how to interact and react online is, and how seriously the European Commission is taking this 21st-century issue so that we can all be safer online.

With Commissioner Gabriel and Jane from Webwise after receiving my award

Ireland was really flying the flag for internet safety on the day, as Harry McCann, founder of the Digital Youth Council and Professor Brian O' Neill from DIT were part of different panel discussions on the day. So many organisations do great work in the area of internet safety - something we should remember when we talk about the dangers that lurk online. 

The BIK European Youth Panel 

Over the past few months, I have had the absolute pleasure of being part of an amazing group of people in the BIK European Youth Panel. Eighteen of us from across Europe were chosen for the 2018 Youth Panel representing 16 countries. The technology that can be so negative was used positively to communicate in advance of the Safer Internet Forum. We met online using Adobe Connect with our coordinator, the wonderful Sabrina Vorbau and continued our virtual discussions using Facebook Messenger and Google Docs. Finally, two days before the Safer Internet Forum in Brussels we met face to face and what a wonderful two days it was! 

Our Youth Panel with Sabrina Vornau and Chris 

I travelled from Dublin with Jane and Tracy from Webwise who were my chaperones for the event. We met our new European friends in the Crowne Plaza and got to know each other. The reality of having English as my first language was really clear to me - other than Hadia, the panelist from the UK, everyone else was speaking English as a second (and sometimes third!) language. In a way speaking English is a privilege but in another, it is a false sense of comfort - There is no way I could speak German as fluently as my European friends speak English.

This was definitely a working trip as from the time we arrived in Brussels we were focused on plans for the Safer Internet Forum. We worked over dinner in the funky Balls and Glory restaurant before an early start the next morning in Google near the European district. In Google, we continued working on our plans for the Safer Internet Forum as we had been planning our video and our workshop in advance. We had so many ideas about the issues that we wanted to explore because this was a real opportunity for us to represent the voice of young people across Europe.  

In the end, we agreed that we wanted our video to consider how we have to be aware of our identity online and think critically about what we see and hear online. So, the idea of #MyDigitalSelfandI was born … a call to all users of the internet to be themselves and to not be influenced by others. Here's our video narrated by our Lithuanian Youth Panelist Algirdas featuring each of the 2018 European Youth Panelists:

We also planned our workshop for the Safer Internet Forum. This workshop brought together all of the ideas that we had wanted to discuss. In the hour-long workshop, we firstly had an opening activity which encouraged people to consider their online identity, thinking about things such as whether their virtual friends are the same as their 'real' friends, their privacy settings and how often they use social media. We then facilitated 'deep dive' discussion groups on six areas of interest to us: GDPR and Children's Rights, Creators, Article 13 (Copyright), Fake News, Online Safety and the Impact of Digital Devices. In these groups, we presented our ideas about the topic and asked questions to help the participants to share their ideas and then presented a summary of all of the ideas from the groups. It was really interesting to hear the different opinions of the participants - especially as there were people from industry, education, advocacy groups, politicians and public representatives all with a shared goal to make the internet a safer place.  

Our deep dive sessions in full-swing at the Safer Internet Forum

Some of the things that struck me were how few people were aware of their privacy settings on social media, the number of different platforms people used, the number of friends people had on social media that were simply online friends- people not known to them in advance of meeting them online. I was also particularly interested in how many people were unaware of Article 13 and the child-specific provisions under GDPR. Discussing these issues in our two workshops really showed me how we all need to be mindful of our online presence and keep up to date. Here in Ireland, Webwise has a wealth of resources to support young people, parents and schools to do just that so it is worth paying a visit to to check out what is available.

I genuinely want to thank Webwise, Commissioner Gabriel and the Better Internet 4EU team for the opportunity to be part of the youth panel. I have a new group of friends from across Europe who share a vision to make the internet a safer place to communicate, collaborate and learn. Together in our countries, we will help to organise events and campaigns for Safer Internet Day 2019 which takes place on Tuesday 5th February. Check out for more information. 

I'm back in Leaving Certificate mode and preparing for my mock exams - in studying my Irish I was reminded of the old Irish seanfhocal 'Is ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine'. This means we rely on each other for shelter... and in this digital age, we definitely need to rely on and support each other. 

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Children's Rights Online: Ongoing Debate, Ongoing Change

My most recent step on my webwise journey was an opportunity to take part in a panel discussion as part of the two-day EMEA Child Safety Summit, hosted jointly by tech giants Google and Facebook this week.

New Fact Alert: EMEA=Europe, Middle Asia and Africa (thanks Google search 😊)

This event, now in its third year brings together academics, the Government, NGOs and experts to share their knowledge and understanding and discuss the critical issue of child safety online. In their introduction to the Child Safety Summit 2018, Google and Facebook write that they are 'working together to meet the challenge of empowering parents and children with the tools and skills they need to make the most of all the internet has to offer'.

The EMEA Child Safety Summit was a two-venue event on April 18th and 19th, with the first day hosted in Facebook in Grand Canal Dock and the second in the Foundry, Google's digital innovation centre in their European Headquarters on Barrow Street. I was invited by webwise to represent the student voice on a panel discussion on Day 2 which focused on children's rights online and was chaired by Professor Brian O' Neill, director of research in DIT.

The intention of the panel discussion was to broadly explore the rights that young people have,  in terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and how these can be impacted on in the online environment. I am relatively familiar with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as this frames a lot of the work we do in Tipperary Comhairle na nÓg but it was certainly interesting and definitely challenging to look at the Convention through the lens of the internet and the online environment.

The panel also included my fellow Webwise ambassador Muireann Whelan from Newbridge College and UNICEF were represented by Patrick Geary who is a children's rights advocate. Jutta Croll came from Germany to share her experience of empowering people to benefit from the internet and being online while Hannah Witton, a Youtuber brought the perspective of the online creator to the discussion. John Carr joined the panel in role with the UK Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety. This was privileged company to be in!

Lauren, Muireann and myself before the panel discussion
At the outset of the panel discussion, Brian introduced myself and Muireann and referred to our roles as Webwise ambassadors. He spoke of how I had been part of the recent Open Debate on Online Safety in March (read my blogpost here) while Muireann had addressed the Oireachtas Committee to give the young person's perspective on online safety. It really made me think (as I sat their perspiring under the glare of the Google lights 😁) how being an ambassador really helps to bring the student voice to the debate and to ensure that our perspectives are heard and hopefully considered. 

Our fellow Webwise ambassador Lauren Reynolds with Tracy and Jane from Webwise take their places in the audience

For us, as young advocates for online safety, the panel discussion gave us some really useful insights into how different organisations are trying to make the internet a safer place for young people while also trying to respect their rights. Jutta spoke of the need to look at the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to see what this might look like in the digital world and how her organisation were looking at how children could need extra safeguards online. They hope to conclude this work in May and will make the information available to countries. This information could be useful for groups who want to lobby the Government to make the internet a safer place for children. 

The panel discussion in full flow
Patrick from UNICEF explained how the UNICEF thinking has evolved - especially in light of technology. The UNCRC was adopted in 1989- long before the internet became the world that we partially live in today. This digital world challenges the UNCRC to continue to protect children - in particular rights such as the right to privacy and the right to free speech. UNICEF are working on this and developing a toolkit to explain how everyone can support children's rights and also to ensure that industry can support and respect children's rights especially with the advent of GDPR.

YouTuber Hannah Witton
'When I grow up I want to be a YouTuber'  as a concept drew smiles and giggles from the audience. I'm not sure if that is because this isn't really seen as a serious career or because we are all unsure about the potential of the online environment. Hannah Witton spoke about her role as a You Tuber and compared it to the blue-sky thinking ambitions of those who want to be F1 drivers, film stars or astronauts. That is the thing about digital technology- it is the future and we need to look at the possibilities and potential as well as being mindful and protecting against the dangers. 

Muireann and I onstage in the Foundry
Muireann and I shared our own experiences of being online. For me, it is a contrast between the risks and rewards. Schoolwork takes on new dimensions when you can research online and access information in real-time. On the other hand, I firmly believe that the wealth of useful information is matched by an equal amount of biased information or 'fake news' and we need more training to empower us to become more digitally literate. Equally, the internet and social media give us a voice - as an occasional blogger, instagrammer and tweeter I appreciate how social media offers me the opportunity to promote issues that are important to me such as positive mental health and online safety. The other side of the coin in this case is how this freedom of speech can be abused and used to abuse and bully others as I found out to my peril in my first experiences with Snapchat. In this situation, education is key to help us to use the internet responsibly and to support resilience. Muireann rightly pointed out that a lot of the media coverage focuses on the 'bad news' stories of what happens online - it is, as she rightly pointed out, equally important to focus on the positives. 

Webwise offer a wide range of free resources and information for parents - Check out 

Brian as chair of the panel also invited audience contributions and Lauren added a further student perspective. The question of education was directed at myself and Muireann and we both agreed that there is a lot being done but potential for so much more. Webwise provide a huge range of free resources to schools that are tailored to different age  groups. The new area of wellbeing as part of the new Junior Cycle programme offers significant opportunities- I would love to see digital citizenship or online safety education becoming a mandatory part of this programme and would encourage schools to look at the webwise resources and use these to support the student wellbeing.

'Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you'...the words of philosopher Jean Paul Sartre in a recent article on digital rights in the Irish Times. This is where education comes in - helping us to learn to use the freedom of the internet as responsible digital citizens. This must start early as Muireann pointed out so that responsibility and how to stay safe is learned from the start.

The impending GDPR and the significant changes to parental consent under Article 8 were also discussed. This is another contrast in terms of rights, privacy and protection. What strikes me though is that all of the talk around GDPR is in terms of companies being fined for data breaches with the tag line 'is your business GDPR ready?' used in the media. For me ... I wonder are parents GDPR ready? 

Checking out my name in lights on the famous Foundry stairs! 

The panel discussion was an hour in length but it flew by - so much more than I have covered in my blog here was discussed. My initial nerves as I was being miked up for the debate and in the initial exchanges were soon overcome by my desire to have my voice and the voice of the young people of Ireland heard.
It was also great to share and discuss issues affecting young people with people from across the UK, Europe and as far afield as Kenya

Thanks to everyone who made the day possible especially to Brian for chairing the panel and Jane, Tracy and the Webwise team for inviting me to take part. 

My final word...

Google like all Silicon Valley companies is an inspirational place for me as a young person hoping for a dream job. The walls in the Foundry hold many inspirational quotes but for me this one was appropriate given the day that was in it. 'The most dangerous phrase is... 'We've always done it this way'... 
We can't do it 'this way' anymore because the online world we live in is changing all the time and we have to adapt - how we think, how we talk, how we work and what we learn...

Friday, 9 March 2018

Open Policy Debate - Online Safety : The Student Voice

Thursday morning was an extra early start. Not the bus to Borrisokane Community College for a change. Up and out early to catch the 6.28am train from Templemore to Dublin for the Open Policy Debate on Internet Safety organised by Minister Denis Naughten and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. I was invited along to represent the student voice by WEBWISE as I am a member of the Youth Advisory Panel (more on this later). 

Minister Naughten speaking at the Open Policy Debate (source DCCAE)
Minister Naughten and his department organised this open debate as there are a number of Government Departments actively working in the area of online safety such as the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment; the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Justice & Equality; the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation; the Department of Health; and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

This was a chance for the Government Departments to discuss the burning issue of online safety with industry and key stakeholders and to explore how we can all work together to make the internet and digital technologies safer and to safeguard against the risks. We are stronger together!

Read the press release about the event here:

My train journey was an opportunity to ensure that I was well-prepared for the debate that lay ahead. Bleary-eyed I went over the notes for the day about the role of the youth panel and my own ideas to ensure that I would reflect the student voice and ensure that we, the future generation were heard in the debate.

IMMA, Kilmainham (source Royal Hospital website)
The salubrious surroundings of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham was the setting for the event. This building looks a lot like Les Invalides in Paris and  that is no surprise as it was built for the same purpose of being a military hospital. It is a beautiful  and very historic building and added a sense of importance to the day.

The importance of the theme for the day – online safety was reflected in the team of Government Ministers and TDs that attended, spoke and took part. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave the opening address to the packed room. He spoke of how the forum was a ‘valuable opportunity to discuss how we can better protect our young people online’.

An Taoiseach's Opening Address (source DCCAE)
The Taoiseach spoke of both the benefits and risks involved in being online. I was personally pleased to hear him acknowledge that ‘a wide range of stakeholders including parents, educators, tech firms and law enforcement have roles to play in making the internet a safer place’.
I firmly believe that we all need to work together to ensure that our own and future generations can benefit from being online and using digital technology while also addressing the growing risks and dangers.

My role on the day as I mentioned at the start of my blog was to represent the voice of young people. I’m lucky to be a member of the Webwise Youth Panel. We are a group of young people from around Ireland who play an active role in ensuring that the student voice is heard in all things digital and in relation to internet safety. We also play a key role in organising Safer Internet Day campaigns in schools annually for Safer Internet Day. After the Open Policy debate myself and some of the youth panellists took part in research into the opportunities and risks of digitalisation for young people with Professor Brian O' Neill in DIT. You can read more about this experience on

Webwise have a wide range of supports for teachers and parents, they are free and available online. There are resources suitable for primary and secondary school students - check out 

Síofra on the Q&A at the debate (image from webwise)
As part of the open policy debate, myself and a number of my fellow youth panelists took part in breakout sessions and table discussions. It was refreshing to bring the student voice to the debate and I was struck by how interested the other stakeholders at my table were in my opinions and my experiences. My fellow youth panelists Síofra Harkin and Cillian Fogarty brought the student voice to the panel Q and A that followed the table discussions. Reflecting on the day, I am delighted with how the student voice was recognised and respected. We are the future generation and we are addressing internet safety not only for ourselves but for others. Grania Long from the ISPCC described online safety as ‘the child protection issue of our time’. A stark reminder of how serious this is.

We also got an opportunity to speak with An Taoiseach, Minister Bruton, Minister Naughten, Minister Zappone, Minister Daly and Minister Stanton, all of whom were interested in hearing our opinions and experiences to inform their own Department’s thinking. Minister Bruton and Minister Naughten spoke with me at length about my role and were both very interested in the student voice in our schools, and how we as students can play our part in being more responsible online.
Webwise Youth Panel members with Minister Daly, Minister Zappone, Minister Naughten, An Taoiseach, Minister Bruton and Minister Stanton (source webwise) 

The debate throughout the day was robust at times, but everyone in attendance was in agreement that this was an issue of huge importance. We all have a role to play - parents, students, schools, industry and Government.
Minister Naughten brought the debate to a close with a clear determination to develop a comprehensive action plan for online safety. One commentator on my Twitter feed described him as a ‘man on a mission’. We need this mission and we need a successful outcome for everyone.  I hope we succeed and I hope that we students can be part of that mission too!

Thank you to Tracy, Jane, the Webwise Team, Minister Naughten and the DCCAE, Professor Brian O' Neill, DIT and everyone who supported us in sharing our student voices!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My MoJoCon Experience..... Part Two

My cool MoJoCon bag... Just the right size for MoJo kit!


Welcome back! 
This is part two of my blog about my MoJoCon experience, taking you through Day Two of the conference, the workshops I attended on Day Three and also showcasing some of the other interviews I did at MoJoCon. If you haven't had an opportunity to read Part One please do so, as it sets the scene for this next post. So in true MoJo style, grab yourself a coffee, read and listen to My MoJoCon Experience Part Two 😀

So... Day Two of MoJoCon was upon me and I was raring to go after the great first day. So much to do, so many people to meet so much to learn. As always, the morning started slow with a nice sociable coffee and small nibbles... Well ... for everyone else anyway! 
I was on MoJo duty!   I had an opportunity to meet Philip Bromwell of RTÉ to interview him on my arrival at the hotel. Philip is one of the MoJo gurus so I was was really delighted to get the opportunity to chat with him, and MoJos take their opportunities when and where they come- that is the advantage of being mobile!  In the interview we talked about how he became involved in mobile journalism. He also gave a rich insight into his most challenging and most enjoyable stories and  I broached the big question 'Where do you see journalism in 5 years time? As we finished our interview , I could feel the adrenaline running through my veins as Philip talked about ME (yes ME!) being at 'the cutting edge' - it reminded me what an opportunity I had being part of MoJoCon and set me up for the day. 
Listen to my interview with Philip below: 

The first session in the Inis Mór Ballroom was one that is close to my heart... or at least close to my phone anyway! Up for discussion was 'Snapchat Storytelling: Reaching the “Millennials”. Much to the annoyance of my parents I am a bit of a SnapChat affectionado so this session was going to give me an opportunity to see the potential of my current favourite social media tool for MoJo. The blurb for the session promised that it would  'help unravel the confusion and clearly explain what’s going on and why those hard to reach Millennials and Generation Z are so obsessed with it'. That's me they are talking about I thought to myself ... born in 2001 I am (as far as I know) a proud card-carrying member of Generation Z. Millennial I'm not so sure about ... I think that might just be the generation before me. The blurb also talks about us Generation Z-ers having 'an 8 second attention span, often scanning 5 screens at once'... Hmmmm.... not exactly a compliment, but it is true that our generation have access to a number of devices and often flit from one to the other. 
So... this was starting to make sense now... an 'in the moment' medium like SnapChat could have MoJo potential. This was a lively discussion,  and it was interesting to hear baout how hashtags can be used for curation and also how SnapChat stories are exactly that -a story, and MoJo is all about the story
There was also some discussion about Instagram, another of my favourite apps. Emma O' Farrell, founder of Bloggercon showed how Instagram is also a viable platform for connecting with Millennials. One important takeway...verifying the stories is just as important in these platforms as elsewhere in journalism. 

Time for coffee and this time I decided to have a browse around the stands and exhbitors who were showcasing and selling MoJo kit, and aspiring MoJo that I am, I needed to start thinking about building up my MoJo kit. The exhibitors were all keen to sell, but also happy to share their knowledge and demonstrate their products. There was a huge range of products on show, some particularly device-specific. After my perusing, I traded up in the sound world and purchased a dual-lapel mic, hoping that it would increase the sound quality of my interviews. Speaking of interviews after a quick coffee, it was onto my next 'scoop'.

Next up on the interview list was Matt Cooke, head of Google News Lab. Matt is very much involved in looking at how technology can support the work of the journalist- in particular focusing on the Google Applications and Tools that can help to verify stories and make them more interesting. He had lots to say about his work and it was fascinating to see how much information Google can provide to the journalist. As we had heard in a number of sessions, technology has huge potential to support MoJos. But there is an ongoing concern about verification and the challenge of  what NewsLab describe as 'maintaining trust and truth in media'. Matt's Google NewLab offer verification services to assist with this challenge.  Another interesting aspect of Google NewsLab is trends. Trends allow journalists to access unbiased sample of Google search data which gives an interesting window into key events such as elections etc. We can all sample Google Trends and a quick search gives you an insight into how useful this could be. A growing aspect of Google NewsLab is their Inclusive Storytelling which endeavours to give a platform to underrepresented groups... immediately reminding me of the mantra of MoJoCon.... it is about story! Listen below to Matt's interview with me

After my interview with Matt I discovered that the coffee was actually available all day so I topped up my intake whilst having a further browse. I was delighted to meet some fellow MoJoCon newbies, the Chargys gang who were showing off their clever 'one use charge top-up products'. A great idea sure to find favour not just with MoJos on the verge of breaking news with a dying battery but alos with use mere mortals who are in desperate need of phone charge. Great idea... I've mine stored carefully for my next power-out ! 

Anne Marie Tomchak's kind Tweet!
The next session was one I wanted to see because one of my MoJo icons Anne Marie Tomchak was part of the panel and I really admire here work. I was so pleased to get an interview with her (posted in my blog part one) and even more pleased that she was so encouraging of my work- I even made it onto her Twitter! This session was all about 'Women in Mojo: Why Aren't There More?' and certainly the panelists were good ambassadors. Anne Marie spoke about the need to turn the tide by getting more women into leadership in journalism and she spoke about how her journey to UK Editor of Mashable. Some of the figures in the research presented by Corinne Podger were shocking, but the one that stood out for me was the study that showed that black female TV reporters were the lowest paid in the US. Discrimination on the double ! 
MoJo makes journalism accessible for all- this was clear from the presentation made by Emma Meese who teaches journalism in Cardiff University. There were shades of our Youth Media Team and Pam O' Brien in her glowing pride as she showed two clips of her proteges' work and spoke of their determination to get an interview with the Welsh First Minister 😊 We in the YMT have been trained to be determined and to get our interview so it looks like all MoJo mentors have the same Mantra! 

Time for lunch, again in a trendy Bento Box (another new word for my vocab!) and time to breathe and take it all in. The world of Mojo is an exciting place and MoJoCon was definitely the place to be- I took time over lunch to reflect on the experience that I was having- it was a real example of learning on the job- and what a way to learn, interviewing some of the best in the business!  I also had to take some time to prep for my next interview-whether it is the Scout in me that knows to 'bí ullamh' or the budding MoJo keen for a story, definitely checking your questions and your kit is important, especially when the opportunity presents to interview award-winning documentary maker Bill Carter!

Bill Carter came to my attention when I was looking at some of U2's humanitarian work and I came across the film Miss Sarajevo which is a documentary that was made by Bill using a hand-held camera in Bosnia during the Yugoslav war and financially supported by Bono. It shows what life was like in Bosnia during the war, and even though I wasn't yet born at the time, it is surreal to imagine such war on this very continent a little over 20 years ago. Bill Carter lived amongst the Bosnians while making the file, giving viewers a first-hand experience of the conflict. For those that haven't seen it, the imagery is striking and it vividly tells the story of the impact of the conflict. And as Bill says, story is everything. I was privileged to get an interview with Bill- take a listen below.

Another thing that MoJos clearly do is take risks- feel the fear and do it anyway seems to be the way to go and sometimes what is needed to get the story. So... with that MoJo trait in mind I spotted Róisín Ní Thomain who I recognized from her work with the BT Young Scientist Competition. In a moment of madness I though ... what about an interview with Róisín trí Ghaeilge... something a little different. I clutched my notebook where I had prepped by questions for previous interviewees and began to write ceisteanna, with one eye on Róisín in case she escaped before I could ask for the interview. A quick call to my Mum's friend Róisín to quality assure my questions and before I knew it, I was sitting in the quiet restaurant recording my agallamh trí Ghaeilge. I had a false start but ever the pro, Róisín allowed me to restart and I heard all about her journey into MoJo, the challenges of working through Irish and her new documentary  Deirfiúracha Na hEolaíocht which you can check out on  RTÉ in Jul.
Éist leis an agallamh crógach thios :-) :

My heart was absolutely pounding after that interview- I have never interviewed anyone through Irish before and it was nerve wrecking- however, it was great to feel the sense of achievement, to have been out of my comfort zone but to have had the courage to approach Róisín and do the interview. I was so glad to see DYCIRL alumni Limerick lady Christine Costello and aspiring journalist after this interview - and delighted to tell her about my latest achievement. I had asked her for an interview during MoJoCon as she is currently building an impressive portfolio of  work, even though she is only sitting her Leaving Certificate this year. You can check our her work on and you can listen to our interview below:

As Day Two of MoJoCon drew to a close I posted my AudioBoom audio to the Youth Media Team site and also began writing the accompanying blog posts to give listeners an insight into the interview and what they could expect to hear. I also invested in some kit for my phone- a Joby system that would give steadier pictures, so already I had improved my audio and picture quality potential.
MC for MoJoCon was RTÉ's Karina Buckey who really did a great job over the two days. I had arranged to meet her after the final session on Friday evening and even though she had worked tirelessly for two days she still found the time to give me an interview so thanks Karina!
I was mindful of what Emma Meese  had said earlier in the day- 'people forgive poor pictures but no poor audio' but it was difficult to deal with the background noise as I was interviewing Karina with the MoJoCon buzz still in the air. Karina spoke of the opportunities that technology offers journalism and also about her interesting career path from biochemistry to mobile journalism. Karina has plenty of advice for me and you can listen to the interview below. I even got to take to the MoJoCon stage with her for a picture 😏

 Day Three was workshop-based, and what an array there was to chose from! Once again we were spoiled for choice, with an opportunity to learn from the very best in the business. Everyone was eager to learn, and learning is a key part of this work- the technology changes so quickly that I have no doubt that you have to keep on top of it! In the Women in Mojo session the day before they spoke about the importance of knowing how to use your 'kit'.
Using the analogy of having a Ferrari but not having a license to drive it… or as Emma Meese put it, having ‘all the gear and no idea’. The workshops provided an opportunity to learn EVERYTHING- there was Android and iOS workshops for MoJo, livestreaming, audio production, documentary making, MoJo for marketing (and that was just before lunch!) After lunch there was a photography workshop and Photowalk, a session on Google NewsLab, a podcasting workshop and a session on MoJo for radio.
I caught some of the MoJo android session in the morning and it struck me about the potential and power of my smartphone. MoJo for documentary making was fascinating and again underlined the importance of story and the key elements of storytelling – the characters, the location, the sounds and making sure you have a ‘hook’. I was hoping to go on the Photowalk, but it was clashing with Cian McCormack’s workshop on MoJo for radio so I opted to head to that session,. Cian again underlined the importance of the story in his work for radio so I guess aspiring MoJos need to upskill both in terms of story and technical skills
So as MoJoCon was drawing to a close there was one interview that had eluded me and one that I was determined to try and get. Glen Mulcahy is the founder of MoJoCon and was spoken of throughout the three days with reverence and awe. However, as the man in charge he was in demand and bagging this interview was definitely a challenge. However, Glen knows what is like to be starting out and true to the stories I had heard of him mentoring so many people, he made time for me. It was an honour to interview Glen (you can listen to the audio below) and again I want to thank him and RTÉ for the incredible opportunity to attend MoJoCon this year.

As my MoJoCon experience has now come to an end, there are some interesting observations for me personally looking back on the three days. Firstly, it isn't the end, it is just the beginning for me. I have been well and truly bitten by the Mojo bug and I am eager to learn more. There is so much to learn but so many opportunities to learn, and as MoJoCon proved, something that you can learn 'on the job'.
The top takeaway for me had to be about story ... everyone I spoke with talked about the importance of story. The best kit in the world won't make an engaging story and a good MoJo knows how to present a good story. I tried to take this into account when prepping my interview questions for MoJoCon and it is something that I will work more on going forward.
I was struck by the different career paths those in MoJo had traveled coming from a range of industries. This is worth bearing in mind for me as I move into 5th Year and try to envisage my future study and career path... there are lots of ways into MoJo and MoJo is a large and growing industry.