The Sunday Tribune has undertaken an interesting new advertising campaign in Dublin (and possibly elsewhere) which promotes the well known weekly offerings of “Ross O’Carroll-Kelly“, a fictional snob who says things like ‘Roysh’.
For a publication that once carried a reputation for investigative journalism this is an odd twist, has it really nothing extra to offer the Irish reader than a word-based comicstrip? The Sunday newspaper market has always been a competitive one, and the introduction of publications such as The Ireland on Sunday a few years ago has led to many publishers moving towards the Lowest Common Denominator; much like what has happened since the “Irish” Daily Mail made its way to the newstands some months ago, but relying on a joke column to draw in the masses is a confusing take on the challenge.
Surely a newspaper with its eye on the ball would see a greater opening in the hard-news audience now that some papers have departed for more celebrity-centric pastures. Perhaps the Tribune is, with the help of its second-cousin The Sunday Independent, trying to flank the opposition; one swinging in from the right with a high-brow snobbery and inbred hatred for Republicanism and the other from the left with a finger raised to the southside stereotype and a warm, young and funky image.
Either way it is somewhat of an insult for their news and feature team (or any of their staff that deal with facts over fiction for that matter) when a tired joke is the only great white hope for the executives at Tribune HQ.