Kilkenny man lands one of the top media jobs in South America
A Kilkenny journalist has been handed one of the media’s most demanding roles after he was appointed head of news in one of the world’s most politically and socially turbulent regions.
Paul Byrne (41), from Piltown, was this week named as the News Director for Southern South America by Associated Press (AP), the world’s largest news agency. In his new role, Paul will lead the agency’s coverage for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.
The makeup of the countries, their economic potential beset by political corruption, the underlying deep-rooted poverty and historical military and social tensions, makes it a challenging region to cover.
Paul was educated at Piltown National School and De La Salle College in Waterford, is a seasoned video journalist who has reported on some of the most harrowing and gripping stories in the region.
After completing his master’s in Broadcast Journalism in the University of Sheffield, Paul freelanced for The Guardian, the BBC and RTE in Argentina and worked in Moscow during the launch of international news channel Russia Today (RT).
Paul has been entrusted with the position after proving himself as a reporter on the front line, exposing the clerical sex abuse and economic turmoil in Argentina, and being that reporter standing there with a camera and microphone in the middle of the political and civil unrest in Chile and Bolivia.
Before leaving Ireland to pursue his career in journalism, well over a decade ago, Paul represented Ireland at the World and European karate championships.
Speaking to KilkennyNow.ie shortly after his appointment, the delighted Piltown man said: “I’m a bit taken aback. It’s a lot to take in, I really am chuffed today. As we know, news travels fast and I have been amazed by the really kind messages I have received from people back home.
“Buenos Aires is a long way from Kilkenny and it’s hard to get home with a young family, so to get those messages of congratulations from so many back in Ireland – I really appreciate that.”
Referring to his new role, Paul said: “It always feels like there is an element of chaos here. There is so much going on in this region, it feels like I hardly get time to sleep. But that’s the challenge we sign up for, and that is why we do this job.”