Journalist You Need To Know: Paraic O’Brien, Channel 4 News


What’s Paraic O’Brien’s beat?

Paraic works as a television reporter in the Channel 4 newsroom.

What does he specialise in?

Channel 4’s 7pm news is a news product like no other. As part of their editorial approach, they allow journalists to produce longer packages–10 minutes plus in some cases. This is a welcome break from the tired two minutes and 30 seconds formula, which gives journalists the freedom to explore topics in more depth.

What’s his back story?

I know Paraic O’Brien a long time. We first met in 1977 when we started in junior infants in Scoil Mhuire in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway on the same day. We were four years old. His mammy used to make me apple and cheese sandwiches.

We went to St Grellan’s National School and to Garbally College. Paraic studied Social Science in UCD and a Masters in Community Development. Would you believe he spent some time working as a Community Development Officer on Sherkin Island. (I could tell you some stories!) He worked in radio for the BBC, before taking up his current role in Channel 4. For me, his curiosity determination and ability to connect with people make him a great journalist. He also gets that look in his eyes when he senses a great story–that’s the difference between the ordinary and the ones that are just a bit special.

Describe him in a sentence

Fearless TV reporter with a flair for getting the most from the story.

Pitch or avoid?

Definitely pitch–his stories aren’t normally sourced from PR professionals but he appreciates how good PR people can help in the news making process.

Let’s see him in action:

Paraic O’Brien has had some very impactful stories in his career.

He confronted Russell Brand outside 10 Downing Street.

He met the people who live in tunnels underneath Bucharest.

His recent report on how immigration is shaping Ireland is powerful.

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