Can you believe it? The Irish Times newspaper reaches more people today than ever.
If you'd said that to me on Friday, I wouldn't have believed you. I thought Newspapers were on the way down... (not out).
I've had an amazing weekend in Ballybunion, North Kerry. But of all the things people presented to me - that simple assertion shook me.
I used to think the reach of The Irish Times was a function of its circulation as a physical newspaper. But I was so dim...
Newspaper sales are falling - we all know that. Many have gone under.
But when you combine the reach of the print edition with the reach of the digital edition - piece by piece - the story is different.
That why The Irish Times has been hiring.
Including a woman specialist on how to present big data beautifully - a visualisation expert. (The future is visual.)
Imagine a weekend by the Atlantic...
with huge stretches of pristine sand all round Ballybunion (not just in bunkers) - beautiful sea horses, waves and hardly a sandcastle in sight yet - pure peace...
Imagine ice cream to die for...
with traditional Irish music on Saturday night in Kilcooly's (a session worth travelling from Boston for)...
Imagine the intelligence of Irish women journalists generously available for chat...
Is it no wonder I start Monday morning in good humour.
The Irish Times is fighting back.
What's RTE doing with its content? David Labanyi issued a wake-up call to all traditional media people - get real relevant or die (my phrase) - you can't live on your laurels.
Women in media heard it first
- that was the second annual conference in Ballybunion. [Bet you there'll be a wait list for 2015.]
Grow your business or see it wither away - that's the warning I come back from Ballybunion with.
David Labanyi gave several examples of how journalists now produce several versions of the same story - one for print, one for Facebook, another for Twitter, another for Instagram...
It's as if Gary Vaynerchuk's book "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook" is guiding The Irish Times digital team. (Check out @GaryVee on Twitter & You Tube)
Now if I was to tell you what Miriam O'Callaghan, Katie Hannon, Evelyn O'Rourke, Mary Dundon, Geraldine Kennedy, Carol Tallon, Roisin Ingle, (even Dick Spring), Edel Clancy, Sarah Carey & many others had to say over the weekend - you'd be here all day. So there's a handy list to whet your curiosity. (And let Aine Kerr managing editor of Storyful see what she unfortunately had to miss.)
- in case you're wondering "who's the bright spark who organised such a remarkable gathering in the remote wilds of Ballybunion? - it was Joan O'Connor - owner of Kilcooly's. Some entrepreneurial woman.
Now how am I going to find a South African golfer to come play Ballybunion and join in the session in the bar on a Saturday night? Ernie Els would be my favourite. Eh Jonathan Amm?