Áine O'Halloran takes a dim view of a new women's media group and asks some serious questions.

The new group set up to give a voice to women journalists is a very good idea but a big problem with "Women in Media Belfast" is that Allison Morris is a founder of it. Of all the women journalists in this country, she would definitely be the most unsuited to starting up this new group.

When I saw this group announced on social media, my first thought was "What would Lyra McKee make of it?" Lyra McKee was the young journalist murdered by the New IRA in Derry at Easter in 2019. She did not have a good experience of Allison Morris during her few years in journalism. Allison Morris had never even met Lyra McKee but she was very hostile to her on social media. Lyra felt that certain material was so nasty and the tone so bullying she went and reported it to the PSNI.

Lyra McKee going to the PSNI about Allison Morris is not a claim or an allegation. It is a statement of fact, and there are many people who can confirm that it did happen. A NUJ official took it so seriously that they actually accompanied Lyra McKee to the police station and supported her when she was there.

Allison Morris may have cleaned up her Twitter since then and certain things may be deleted now but Lyra McKee recorded everything and too many people know what Lyra's experience was of Allison Morris. Lyra's partner, Sara Canning, last year raised it with the most senior NUJ official in the UK. Members of Lyra's family know what happened also. Lyra had a big circle of friends in Northern Ireland and they know this all as well.

Some of these friends are journalists and others are definitely well known in their jobs. The well respected victims campaigner Ann Travers knows what Lyra experienced with Allison Morris. The journalists Suzanne Breen, Kathryn Johnston, Hugh Jordan, and Tina Calder know as well. Lyra confided in many others as well, some of who are in politics in Belfast. Sometimes Lyra would be very upset about it all and she would ring Anthony and Carrie McIntyre and other friends as well in tears. People might think Allison Morris is a nice person when they see her on TV, but she has a dark side for some not in her clique that looks to be motivated by jealousy as Lyra and others know to their cost.

This all brings me to the experience of another young journalist. The announcement of the founding of Women in Media Belfast was made on 10 February. Later on in that week there was sinister graffiti that appeared in a loyalist area about Sunday World journalist Trish Devlin.

Women in Media Belfast had plenty to say about other things after that happened but they didn't say a word about Trish. She went and challenged their silence on Twitter.

Last week, my name was spray painted on 3 walls with gun crosshairs. I have received six threats from paramilitaries including one to my newborn son in just over a year. I haven't heard from you. Do u represent women in the media under threat here? Why has this group been selective in who they offer support to? Are you not supposed to represent all women in the media or is it just some? How do I go about getting that support? - (was what she wrote).

She got a reply which was like something out of the school playground, not what you would expect from serious women journalists. It led the scales to fall off the eyes of many people on Twitter about this Women in Media Belfast group. Trish is not seen as part of their girl gang. But that is a good thing for her because as other people have said it is a big ego trip that has been tarted up as a serious campaigning group.

Trish's friend Sunday World fellow journalist Hugh Jordan also went and challenged her exclusion on Facebook. Daily Mirror journalist Jilly Beattie agreed as well.

I would have imagined these horrific threats towards a woman in media in Belfast would have been an ideal matter for Women in Media Belfast to highlight to amplify the voice of a woman working in print as their mission statement claims (was what she wrote).
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Thank goodness that there are some genuine women journalists in local media who are ready to stand up for others like this.

It is not a secret that Trish Devlin has not had a good experience of Allison Morris in the media. Lyra McKee was definitely not alone in such a department. Maybe after the social media reaction against Women in Media Belfast, they will be shamed into doing something on supporting Trish.

They are hosting a conference online on International Women's Day but for all the reasons that I have written about above I believe that this group should be better ignored. Maybe women who are planning on taking part in this group's events could ask themselves a few questions.

Why did this group not support Trish Devlin from the start with the serious threat that she is under? Why did Lyra McKee who was a lovely person that everyone who ever met her loved go to police and make a complaint about bullying nastiness by Allison Morris?

Maybe some of local newspapers that wrote so much about Lyra McKee after she was murdered could look into this or others in the media could. It would be really wrong if they don't do that and ignore it.

Media Mean Girl Allison Morris

Áine O'Halloran takes a dim view of a new women's media group and asks some serious questions.

The new group set up to give a voice to women journalists is a very good idea but a big problem with "Women in Media Belfast" is that Allison Morris is a founder of it. Of all the women journalists in this country, she would definitely be the most unsuited to starting up this new group.

When I saw this group announced on social media, my first thought was "What would Lyra McKee make of it?" Lyra McKee was the young journalist murdered by the New IRA in Derry at Easter in 2019. She did not have a good experience of Allison Morris during her few years in journalism. Allison Morris had never even met Lyra McKee but she was very hostile to her on social media. Lyra felt that certain material was so nasty and the tone so bullying she went and reported it to the PSNI.

Lyra McKee going to the PSNI about Allison Morris is not a claim or an allegation. It is a statement of fact, and there are many people who can confirm that it did happen. A NUJ official took it so seriously that they actually accompanied Lyra McKee to the police station and supported her when she was there.

Allison Morris may have cleaned up her Twitter since then and certain things may be deleted now but Lyra McKee recorded everything and too many people know what Lyra's experience was of Allison Morris. Lyra's partner, Sara Canning, last year raised it with the most senior NUJ official in the UK. Members of Lyra's family know what happened also. Lyra had a big circle of friends in Northern Ireland and they know this all as well.

Some of these friends are journalists and others are definitely well known in their jobs. The well respected victims campaigner Ann Travers knows what Lyra experienced with Allison Morris. The journalists Suzanne Breen, Kathryn Johnston, Hugh Jordan, and Tina Calder know as well. Lyra confided in many others as well, some of who are in politics in Belfast. Sometimes Lyra would be very upset about it all and she would ring Anthony and Carrie McIntyre and other friends as well in tears. People might think Allison Morris is a nice person when they see her on TV, but she has a dark side for some not in her clique that looks to be motivated by jealousy as Lyra and others know to their cost.

This all brings me to the experience of another young journalist. The announcement of the founding of Women in Media Belfast was made on 10 February. Later on in that week there was sinister graffiti that appeared in a loyalist area about Sunday World journalist Trish Devlin.

Women in Media Belfast had plenty to say about other things after that happened but they didn't say a word about Trish. She went and challenged their silence on Twitter.

Last week, my name was spray painted on 3 walls with gun crosshairs. I have received six threats from paramilitaries including one to my newborn son in just over a year. I haven't heard from you. Do u represent women in the media under threat here? Why has this group been selective in who they offer support to? Are you not supposed to represent all women in the media or is it just some? How do I go about getting that support? - (was what she wrote).

She got a reply which was like something out of the school playground, not what you would expect from serious women journalists. It led the scales to fall off the eyes of many people on Twitter about this Women in Media Belfast group. Trish is not seen as part of their girl gang. But that is a good thing for her because as other people have said it is a big ego trip that has been tarted up as a serious campaigning group.

Trish's friend Sunday World fellow journalist Hugh Jordan also went and challenged her exclusion on Facebook. Daily Mirror journalist Jilly Beattie agreed as well.

I would have imagined these horrific threats towards a woman in media in Belfast would have been an ideal matter for Women in Media Belfast to highlight to amplify the voice of a woman working in print as their mission statement claims (was what she wrote).
.
Thank goodness that there are some genuine women journalists in local media who are ready to stand up for others like this.

It is not a secret that Trish Devlin has not had a good experience of Allison Morris in the media. Lyra McKee was definitely not alone in such a department. Maybe after the social media reaction against Women in Media Belfast, they will be shamed into doing something on supporting Trish.

They are hosting a conference online on International Women's Day but for all the reasons that I have written about above I believe that this group should be better ignored. Maybe women who are planning on taking part in this group's events could ask themselves a few questions.

Why did this group not support Trish Devlin from the start with the serious threat that she is under? Why did Lyra McKee who was a lovely person that everyone who ever met her loved go to police and make a complaint about bullying nastiness by Allison Morris?

Maybe some of local newspapers that wrote so much about Lyra McKee after she was murdered could look into this or others in the media could. It would be really wrong if they don't do that and ignore it.

1 comment:

  1. Wou !!! that was as we say in Belfast a quare kick in the balls, esp to someone who makes an easy living doing just that to people without the means to defend themselves, in her analysis piece in todays vatican times she stands up for the DUP in meeting with the reps of proscribed organisations, now had they been republican ,she would have been naming names and condemning the activities of criminals blah blah blah , however what l find disconcerting is the lack of bias when it comes to reporting facts as is the norm here esp in anything with a republican connection , eg, it,s a good thing for Snarlene and cronies to meet the godfathers of loyalist gangsterism, and yet we see a Palestinian DR who is unwell held on remand for doing exactly the same thing.Morris of course wont be finding any fault with Snarlene or her loyalist henchmen ,

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