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MIC Graduate Aine Fitzgerald appointed first female Editor of Limerick Leader MIC Graduate Aine Fitzgerald appointed first female Editor of Limerick Leader

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MIC Graduate Aine Fitzgerald appointed first female Editor of Limerick Leader

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Aine Fitzgerald has made history becoming the first female editor of the Limerick Leader.

Aine took up the position of Managing Editor after working as the News Editor for six years

aine fitzgerald
Aine pictured with her friend and colleague Richard Lynch.

Aine Fitzgerald has recently been appointed as the Managing Editor of the Limerick Leader newspaper – the first female Managing Editor in the newspaper’s 133-year history. With Aine’s new appointment comes membership of a group of a relatively low number of females who have reached the top seat in Irish local, regional and national newspapers.

For Aine, the unique honour she has earned is not lost on her.


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“This is a huge honour, a huge privilege, and a huge responsibility,” Aine says, speaking after her appointment. “I’m very conscious that I’m the first female editor of the Limerick Leader. I’d be thrilled even if there were other female editors before me, but being the first just adds something extra special to it.”

Aine Fitzgerald took up the position of Managing Editor after a six-year spell as the paper’s News Editor. She has worked for the well-respected publication since 2006 officially but had completed a six-month placement in the Leader while studying in MIC’s Bachelor of Arts programme, which she graduated from with a joint degree in Media and Communications Studies and Irish in 2005.

It was during her time at MIC that Aine’s mind was made up: journalism, not teaching, was the path she was going to follow. She recalls, “I did my six-month placement in the Limerick Leader during my third-year off-campus placement and followed it up with six months in my local primary school in Kilmallock. At the time I was probably veering towards a teaching career but going into a teaching placement after doing the stint in the Limerick Leader, I just knew that I preferred the buzz of journalism and I knew that’s where my heart was. I’ll be forever grateful to MIC for having that year of placement!”

While she may have been uncertain as to which path to follow after her education, Aine was never one to shirk hard work. In fact, she says that her motto in life has been to “work hard”.

“When I started out, I would have been quite a shy person. I’ve worked under three editors at this stage, and they’d probably say that I was quiet and I was very much an observer, but underneath I think I had a lot of resilience. Perhaps one of my biggest compliments was from the former Leader Editor, Alan English. When I got the News Editor job in 2016, he told me I had a rod of steel down my back, in a complimentary way. I really appreciated that because it is tough. There are days when you get knocked back.”

A major study by Irish media expert, Professor Kevin Rafter suggested that men outnumbered women almost 2:1 in journalism. That number represents the gender breakdown across every role at every level in Irish media, but Aine admits that a lot of sacrifices need to be made to get to the higher echelons. “I’m not married, and I don’t have kids. If I did, would I be in this position? To be honest, I don’t know, because there are an awful amount of long hours required and I think that’s something that does need to be looked at down the line, in terms of women who want to progress in media careers, or any career, when it comes to the work/life balance. I’m fortunate that I have the time to give to it; I do love it and I get a buzz from it, but all other aspects of my life do take a hit because you do have to devote so much time to it. In terms of gender balance, I think if you look around the country and still the role of editor in newspapers is dominated by men, both regionally and nationally, and that’s something I’d like to see change.”

Looking to the future, Aine says, “It’s not easy out there and we’ve had to adapt very fast to a lot of different things. Obviously, the big one is online and social media. I think we’re doing a good job. I don’t want to blow our trumpet too much because there’s always room for improvement, but I do think Iconic Media moved very fast in terms of seeing the opportunity online and the Limerick Leader has huge viewership and a huge readership online every week, massive for a regional paper.

“It’s a tough task to juggle both the print with the online and it’s very fast-paced. I always say that online is like an animal who needs to be constantly fed. There’s an audience constantly hungry for news and we try to keep that updated. In particular, when we have students coming into us – like I did – they’d usually have only been working on the print product years ago whereas now the online is there. Every day, they have to write for online while also balancing a news list for the print product as well and it’s tough but they’re getting great experience and they eventually thrive and love it.

“You have to keep adapting. There’s no point burying your head in the sand and hoping the digital age is going to go away! It’s not going anywhere; it’s just going to get bigger and bigger and we have to move with it and embrace it.”

And what advice does Aine Fitzgerald have for those either studying or entering the workforce? She says it comes down once again to hard work and resilience, “I think in any job in today’s world those are the two things you need. It does take long hours – and I’m not saying you have to make your job your life – but I do think if you want to get on you do need to make sacrifices. Will it be worth it? I suppose it depends on your personality and what you want in life. I know I put the hours in and have gotten roles that I’m really enjoying and for me it has been worth it. If you do want progress and want to break through glass ceilings, it does take work.”

Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick said, “Congrats Aine! You are an amazing talented human and I am thrilled for you. I wish you every success!”

Read selections of Aine Fitzgerald’s articles from the Limerick Leader  

Read more related stories 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.