Paul Quigley (LL.M. ’05) recently returned to Ireland from New York, where he had an arbitration practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, to found and run operations for NewsWhip, a newly launched Irish website that “will report the big stories of the day, but also the news that other national outlets miss, and bring helpful analysis to disingenuous debate.” He had the idea while living in New York and trying to follow Irish news online: "I felt there was a space in Ireland for a more conversational and useful news website."
Quigley calls his new venture, which began on November 18 and is still in the beta-testing phase, "as intense as any law practice I've done. Running operations means quite a range of things. Early on it involved managing website design and continually tweaking the site with improvements, then hiring and training a group of contributors. As the site's editor, I work with the contributors to identify what stories to cover each day, and monitor for any typos or problems—the inglorious process of subediting."
He also enjoys the immediacy of the work: "Running a news business is a surprisingly creative occupation. Ideas can become reality within hours." One of his favorite stories involved the Irish government's bailout of Anglo Irish Bank. NewsWhip was the first Irish news outlet to publish a list of the bank's bondholders, "the eventual beneficiaries of the taxpayer largesse." Snowfall prompted a more lighthearted story on how to walk on ice without slipping. And an exposé about a massive Facebook group, created by male students at Ireland's largest university to publicly rank female students' looks, resulted in the page's disappearance within 24 hours.
Site traffic patterns are driving Quigley's next moves. "Thanks to the nature of digital publishing, I have a wealth of data to work with," he said. "I can tell exactly how long readers spend on stories, and which ones lead them to read more. I'm enjoying working with this data to make improvements and tweaks to the site."
Posted on January 10, 2011