Orla Lafferty

Reporting the 'Troubles' at Ulster Television: An Archival Exploration from 1968 to 1998

Year: 2015

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Ulster Television
(at time of presentation)

Personal profile:

Orla Lafferty began her PhD in 2009 undertaking a joint research project between the University of Ulster Coleraine and UTV in Belfast. The project was titled ‘Reporting the Troubles at UTV: An archival exploration between 1968 and 1998’. Graduating in December 2013 she began a research position with Donegal County Council. Currently she is employed with UTV Ireland as a Media Assistant within its News and Library Services Department.



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Undertaking a joint research project between the University of Ulster and UTV provided me with the opportunity to develop links between industry and academia. I was given complete access to UTV’s film and television archive along with training in how to use the company’s in-house archival cataloguing system. While conducting my research within the archive I also got to experience first-hand how a television and more specifically news archive operates on a daily basis. I also developed an understanding of the challenges that are facing television and news archives today as they attempt to marry old techniques with new technology and the process of digitisation. This learning was vital to my current role within UTV Ireland which operates the first fully digital newsroom on the island of Ireland. My presentation will focus on how the skills that I developed throughout my PhD are being used in my current role. More generally it will also look at the challenges that face archives as they attempt to embrace the process of digitisation.