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Communicating with Diaspora

THE IRISH TIMES KNEW it would reach a wide swath of the Irish diaspora when it set up its online news service in the mid-90s. The Times-Picayune staff knows that many local flood victims will resettle permanently in other parts of the U.S. The T-P website (NOLA.com) will reach that New Orleans diaspora long term, when the print edition will not. People always keep their ties to their homeland even after generations of living in another culture. That's one reason why I always thought I was simply "returning to" Ireland instead of "moving to" Ireland. Although the things I discovered on the ground differ from the illusion my grandmother painted of her family home in County Clare.

Today, I think many of my images of Ireland on Flickr serve as a touchpoint for an audience-in-exile. Some of the Irish in the Louisiana floodlands would do well to exploit their ties to the Auld Sod while the charitable spirit reigns strong. Although it's a lot harder to get established in Ireland today than it was for me a decade ago. Back then, an American Express card got you throughgty immigration with a nod and a wink. I've had much different experiences since the Garda National Immigration Bureau set up a 24-hour station at Dublin Airport.

Steve Outing -- "For Times-Picayune, Web Will Take on Crucial Diaspora Role"