In May of last year, The Journal was forced to deny rumours of its impending dissolution with false and malicious stories circulating that the site was on the cusp of formally closing the shutters owing to financial stress.
Founded in 2010 and occupying the blurred line between clickbait and serious news content, the publication owned by the Fallon brothers (also proprietors of daft.ie and donedeal.ie) has, regardless, made itself a relevant feature in the news cycle.
The site has been rather boastful of its self appointed fact checking role even conducting joint investigators with spook-adjacent Institute of Strategic Dialogue into the pesky rise of the so called far-right in the country.
In March, The Journal’s much lauded fact checking system was disavowed by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) which provides it with its accreditation for not meeting their operational standards.
Previous to this, the paper was caught rapid altering their fact check to favour the Yes side during the abortion debate.
Despite it all, the outlet has enjoyed some beneficial partnerships with the world of tech, among them Google and Facebook helping presumably to tide over The Journal in an era of receding profit margins and a vexatious media market.
Last year however the publication received a hearty €350,000 in grant money paid directly by the European Parliament to various media and civil society groups. The largest recipient in grant money from the €505,000 fund, along with the Eurofederalist lobbyists the European Movement one imagines the cash injection could alter the site’s editorial line away from any trace of Euroscepticism.
Speaking on the receipt of the grant, Journal editor Sinéad O’Carroll spoke of the outlet’s relationship with the EU:
“This will be an impactful collaboration with our readers. Together, we will identify challenges facing our country, our democracy and our place in the EU and wider world. Our journalists will interrogate all aspects of those key issues, with their findings becoming central to the ongoing conversations with the audience.”
Since accepting the bursary, mention of the grant has appeared in various reports pertaining to EU matters, most recently in an article critical of Poland’s restrictive attitudes towards illegal migration. While making mention of the fact that the Journal has benefited from EU funding, the article is keen to emphasize the fact this contribution has not influenced their reporting.
One may hope that is true.
There are worse outlets operational in the Irish media ecosystem at the present time. However bad The Journal is, they are not in the same league as those who fabricate quotes, ie. The Sunday World, or the content hucksters at Joe.ie following the exposure of the click farm scandal.
Since 2016 it has become rather self-evident as to the dysfunctional relationship between Irish journalism and Brussels. Our media is chockablock with pundits and reporters who make a comfortable living through a quiet reserve of EU grant money and various Eurofederalist think tanks strangling any hope of Eurosceptic discourse in the mainstream.
We here at The Burkean do not pity any financial choppy water The Journal finds itself in, but would like the outlet to at least step off its high horse sometimes.