Pioneering digital media

As a journalist O’Leary has pioneered the use of digital media, particularly through storytelling over social media. Examples include highlighting of plastic pollution on an uninhabited island, debunking reporting on the death of a teenager in the Netherlands, and breaking the story that the UK Home Office had threatened to deport EU citizens including doctors and academics. The latter two became top news stories internationally.

I have also led more in-depth projects. In 2016, I posted a cache of original unpublished documents online that told the story of Ireland’s Easter Rising as it unfolded exactly 100 years since the rebellion. The project was called ‘1916 Live’.

The papers were police, government and private records kept in the University of Oxford’s Bodleian library. Each document was published at the time it was logged, giving a real-time experience of the rebellion.

With the library’s permission, I and a team of volunteers transcribed and published the documents, creating a permanent searchable database online of this vital historical resource.

The Bodleian Library invited me to write about the experience of discovering the cache in their archives and why I decided to publish them.


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