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You needn't take our word for the fangirl-esque hysteria
that surrounds Richard online - his followers are more than happy to preach the
good word of the Holy Chambers.
Mothers trust him. Irish Twitter worships him. Guys want to be him. Girls, and actually quite a few of the aforementioned guys, want to be with him. Who are we talking about?
In truth, only one man fits that description, and it is, of course, none other than Virgin Media News Correspondent and Twitter legend of the COVID-19 era Richard Chambers.
If you don't have a Twitter account, or perhaps you're just a militant RTÉ News loyalist, then there's a small chance you may have escaped his reach over the past 13 months. As for the rest of us however, it seems that everything the light touches is his kingdom - the glaring LED light of the Twitter app beaming through our touchscreens at 1am, that is.
It's true to say that news reporters fall into that weird category of people and businesses who, in some ways, the pandemic has actually proved advantageous - you can file them right after Jeff Bezos and lifelong introverts, just before big fans of personal space on public transport.
As our daily lives screeched to a grinding halt through repeated lockdowns, the news cycle has never before moved with such velocity. And with most people sitting at home, anxious and bored, for months on end, the population has never been so engaged with news journalism. In this perfect storm lay an opportunity for reporters who sought to carve a name for themselves as a reliable source for breaking news just when we, the people, needed them most.
None such reporter has risen to the occasion quite like Mr. Chambers, perhaps better known to his stans by his Twitter handle @newschambers. Since the dawn of the pandemic, Chambers has cultivated a loyal and devoted following who have come to rely on his daily tweets of the latest case figures, vaccine updates and restriction announcements as a sort of strange constant throughout the chaotic times we live in.
The daily case numbers may fluctuate but there's one metric that's been on a steep and steady incline since March 2020 - Richard's follower count. The popular newsreader, who before gracing our screens every evening on Virgin Media News held reporter roles at Newstalk and Today FM, has managed to grow his following consistently over the past year through his reputation for meticulous and speedy reporting.
In the 2020 Murray Tweet Index, Chambers came in at number eight on the Top 100 Irish journalists on Twitter, behind the likes of fellow Virgin Media correspondent Gavin Reilly, Today FM's Matt Cooper and former Late Late Show host Pat Kenny.
In any given month Chambers is known to pick up hundreds, often thousands, of new followers who seek to understand the lay of the land through his clear, concise updates and his helpful and, frankly, quite cute use of emojis breaking down the medical and political jargon often used by officials. At the time of writing this article, he currently tweets to an audience of almost 110,000 followers.
But don't go thinking that's where his reach ends. As anyone who frequents the Twittersphere can attest to, Richard's tweets often receive such high levels of engagement that they are cascaded onto the timelines of many innocent bystanders. Depending on your appetite to consume COVID-related content on any given day, this prominence can be considered a convenience or, at times, a nuisance. To put it succinctly - if you're an Irish person with a Twitter account, you're going to be seeing a lot of Richard Chambers.
We've reached the point where Chambers has become so synonymous with conscientious and trustworthy news reporting that it begs the question: If a vaccine caused extremely rare and specific cases of blood clots but Richard Chambers didn't tweet about it - did it really cause extremely rare and specific cases of blood clots?
If a prominent TD attended a two-day golfing event with over 80 other guests despite the introduction of the rule of six but Richard Chambers didn't tweet about it - did they really attend it? If a private hospital provided vaccines to a private school attended by the CEO's chil- well... you get the idea!
Don't let all this COVID talk lead you to believe it's all doom and gloom over on @newschambers however. After all, all work and no play make Richard a dull boy - and thankfully dull, he's not. Peppered amongst his diligent reportage of the latest corona-updates, you can expect to find the occasional dog meme, football news and trivia and, in some rare cases, a combination of both:
You needn't take our word for the fangirl-esque hysteria that surrounds Richard online - his followers are more than happy to preach the good word of the Holy Chambers.
Followers of Chambers aren't shy when it comes recruiting newcomers either, with one user proudly recommending her comrade follow Chambers, imploring: "Follow Richard Chambers. He puts up info when he gets it." You're damn right he does!
"I saw Richard Chambers in Dun Laoghaire and I'm actually on starstruck," one flustered fan named Aisling revealed. Another fan bravely declared: "Richard Chambers has no business being that hot girls."
It's not just the ladies left feeling hot and/or bothered - boyfriends across the country seem to feeling more and more insecure by their other halves' interest in the Virgin Media heartthrob.
"I woke up briefly at 3am and turned over and Dylan took the opportunity to be like 'Oh you're following HOT BOYS on Twitter,'" recounted one Twitter user. "He was talking about Richard Chambers."
Ireland's boyfriend population can sleep easy however as Chambers is happily partnered, as one woman named Leona points out in a tweet referencing his relationship with the popular Irish author Louise O'Neill.
Thankfully, those who perhaps feel surer of themselves and their relationship are able to embrace the joy of @newchambers into their lives more wholly it would seem, with one man named Kevin proudly announcing: "My political opinions are whatever Richard Chambers' are." No pressure, Richard!
Of course, we're sure it's not all been plain sailing for the young journalist - the pandemic has been an overwhelming experience for the best of us, not least those of us whose work requires them to be so immersed in the country's response to it.
Throughout the last year, Richard's reporting has been a crucial source of clarity for many of us concerned about what the latest announcement might mean for our lives and our loved ones. For providing that service, with a meme or two along the way, we think it's fair to say we all owe him a massive salute and perhaps a pint if the pubs ever reopen.
To quote one Twitter user named Alyssa, we say: long live the 'Richard Chambers supremacy'.
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