Newspapers are a thing of the past and other stories of the night.

Are Newspapers a Thing of the Past

The Great Debate: Are Newspapers Past It?

Another great Hellfire Toastmasters meeting took place last night in the D4 Hotel Ballsbridge. Led by Barry, the clubs lead toastmaster, the meeting got off to a prompt start, and first up to the podium was Zanya with a speech from the Humorously Speaking advanced manual. Her chosen topic – slow dances at the age of 15 – was right on target. From running her fingers through her partners mullet to that awkward moment when you realise you don’t know your “dance” partners name, the speech certainly raised many laughs and as Sinead the evaluator noted, brought back one or two memories for the audience.

There was then a total change of pace for the second speech, a stage four speech by Aenghus on “Restorative Justice”, though perhaps the young gentleman whose advances Zanya recalled rudely rejecting might disagree. As Mandy noted during her evaluation, Aenghus explained succinctly but clearly in his speech how restorative justice focuses on bringing the victim, the offender and the community together.

The third and final speech of the night was by our new member Kayleigh, who gave her first speech, “The Ice Breaker”. I didn’t believe it, or maybe I just didn’t understand it when I first joined, but Ice Breakers are always one of the highlights of a toastmastering evening. We all get to know each other through the course of many meetings, and entertaining as everyone is, there’s nothing like the prospect of a fresh voice with fresh stories to share to liven things up. Kayleigh’s speech was excellent, well structured with interesting angles and delivered with confidence. The first of many speeches we hope!

Next up was of course the debate:

Are Newspapers A Thing of The Past?

Proposing was Niamh, opposing was Cian, the arguments were logical and forceful and they attracted excellent comments from the floor. For the proposition the rise of the internet and its ability to meet the needs of readers, combined with the fall in credibility and content quality associated with the loss of income from advertising spelled the inevitable end of newspapers. For the opposition the internet and screens cannot compete with the physical experience of reading a newspaper or provide the trust, credibility and journalistic quality that a newspaper with a long standing reputation can give to its readers. The final vote was close, eight against, nine for and so the motion was carried and newspapers are a thing of the past.

The Toastmaster then kindly gave us ten minutes for tea break, where we could discuss the situation.

After the tea break, it was time for topics. Brian stepped in at the last minute as topicsmaster, but Richard, in bowing out had thoughtfully prepared a full list of topics for him, sparing him the work. It was time to challenge not only our regular members but our guests, returning members Ollie and Michael O’, Laura visiting for the second time, and one of our new members Michael B whose Ice Breaker we’re currently anticipating. From polygamy to our favourite subjects at school and a trip to Donegal, the topics attracted the usual diversity of answers both on topic and off. Then finally we came to the evaluations. Sinead, Mandy and John O’ did sterling work assessing the speeches, and Michael McD in a speech full of praise for the speakers, evaluator, debators and toastmaster rounded off the evening by awarding the trophies.

  • Speaker – Kayleigh
  • Evaluator – Mandy
  • Topics – Michael O’

And so another meeting of Hellfire Toastmasters ended, and we all went home . . .


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