Shedding my juvenile coat

published 10 Jun 2013

Today I launch several new sections of the site. They're mostly based on material that has been factored out from existing blog posts and given a more permanent home, so that they don't get lost in the chronological stream of content. 

About section: covers the basics of the site, what it's about, who I am and so on.  I used a fancy animated menu system for the splash page, because .... um, probably so I could show off or something.  In general, all the site design prioritises simplicity over flashness, so I thought it was reasonable to indulge myself in that area because it's less content-driven than the rest of the site. 

Memoir section: this section factors out all of the material pertaining to the mainline of my personal narrative into a coherent whole.  Mostly this just involves taking the personal narrative blog posts and copying them into this new section.  There are a few changes, however.  The text has to be modified a little bit to take away the episodic elements and to seperate out the theoretical stuff from the personal story stuff.  The idea is to allow people to read this stuff as a whole without having to trudge through the blog and without having to follow the blog stuff.  I'm going to adopt a process whereby I continue to publish all of this material to the blog first in episodic form, then after a few weeks have passed, I'll tidy it up and copy it across to the memoir section.  One bonus of this is that the entire story can be downloaded as a PDF.  Eventually, I'll put together an e-book of some sort to make it even easier to read it all together.

Theory section: this section is similar to the memoir section.  The only difference is that it factors out the theoretical material.  Once again, I'll continue to post that stuff to the blog first and copy it across after a while.  

Research section: this section is the home to my academic research material.  So far, it just contains my scientific publications, most of which are pretty darned technical and, frankly, boring.  I will be adding more material to that section as I go along to explain, in a more accessible way, what that stuff is all about.  One of the reasons for publishing this stuff now is to ensure that this material is publicly available and does not remain behind the pay-wall barriers of the academic publishing cartels.  It is all effectively 100% publicly funded research after all.  Thus, I've included full pdfs of all the papers.  They are mostly based on pre-camera ready versions of the papers, for copyright reasons, but they are generally very close to the final published material.

Media section: this section will gather together as many of my previously published articles as I can find.  Mostly these concern media analysis (because I worked in that field for several years) but there are a few other themes.  I will also add in a few articles from the past that were about me or things that I was involved with.  

To start, I've added the very first proper article I wrote for publication.  It was published in 1998 in a journal of undergraduate writing called "beyond babel".  It was an analysis of the media coverage that surrounded the 1996 bail referendum in Ireland. This referendum was motivated by the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, carried out by a criminal gang.  The article itself is very obviously heavily influenced by Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent.  I think the basic points that it makes are pretty much correct, but I would write it very differently if I was writing it today. The theoretical framework is asserted rather than really being demonstrated and it is simply too strident to be effective in convincing those who do not share Chomsky's analytic model.  Nevertheless, not a terrible first effort.