Sleeping with the enemy: INM looking to old foes for help?

With Tony O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media facing financial difficulty, it seems as if the company is seeking out every avenue to turn things around – even if that means teaming up with its most bitter rival.

Roy Greenslade had an interesting, and arguable even bizarre, story recently from the Wall Street Journal about Independent News & Media.

According to the piece, O’Reilly had approached Rupert Murdoch / NewsCorp last year to ask for investment in his media company. Murdoch turned him down and the extent of the financial troubles facing IN&M has become apparent publicly since then.

If the claim is true – and bear in mind the Wall Street Journal is now in Murdoch’s stable so it may not be – it is not a good sign for the company’s stability. If it is in such a bad state financially that it turned to its biggest rival for help, giving Murdoch an ego-boost and market advantage in the process, things must be very grim.

Of course that story may be completely false – what is in no doubt is the existence of talks between INM, The Irish Times and Associated Newspapers about a merger of their respective Dublin freesheets; Herald AM and Metro Ireland.

Assuming this happens – and talks are said to be at an advanced stage – it will be the first time INM and The Irish Times has co-operated at any stage in the history of Irish print media. As Markham points out, there will be serious staffing connotations for workers at both newspapers but from a larger industry point of view it also indicates that INM can no longer afford to maintain vanity projects or loss-leaders in Ireland.

The Sunday Independent may dress it up whatever way it likes but The Irish Times isn’t the only newspaper suffering as a result of reckless spending.

New Irish journalism award

As pointed out by Adrian on Twitter, there’s a new journalism award on the scene in Ireland.

There are 14 categories in total, 13 of which have ‘Journalism’ in the title and the other being a Lifetime Achievement Award for journalism, which begs the question – why are they called The National Media Awards and not the National Journalism Awards?

Anyway, the deadline for entries is Friday 24th April and the event itself is due to take place in The Shelbourne Hotel on 24th June.

One thing potential candidates should note – you have to be a paid-up NUJ member if you want to participate. Also, as Adrian points out above, there’s currently no prize listed so winning may not be a way to ride out the recession either.