Stop the press: journalism in jeopardy?

Sunday 31 October, 10.45am until 12.15pm, Henry Moore Gallery

Shock! Horror! The internet robs news publishers of their business model; meanwhile partner-in-crime User Generated Content has half-killed professional journalists. Our only chance is a super-techno-business toolkit that can fix journalism and save democracy! The ‘crisis in journalism’ is such a good story, you couldn’t make it up. Behind the headlines, journalists are questioning their own assumptions about What journalism is for; Who produces it; Where and When they are going to do it. Doing their job the way they were trained to, journalists have got the 4 Ws covered. True professionals, they are reporting their own story like any other; yet they continue to assume that their job needs doing.

Do we really need journalism nowadays? If there’s any doubt about it, why pay for professional journalists, especially when new technology has allowed people-formerly-known-as-readers to become something-like-semi-professional writers?  And if we mainly use (social) media in order to make a spectacle of ourselves, or to mingle with each other enough to engender a (weak) sense of community, that’s not much of a case for keeping journalism. Better to give it up, along with smoking, and the smokestack industries we Westerners used to live by. Or it may be that the new journalism belongs on the other side of the world, where economic development is the biggest story waiting to be told; or perhaps hope springs international, and the future of journalism will be worked out along with the reworking of international relations, East and West.

Like all the best journalists, this session will report not only on 4 Ws, but also on the fifth: Why? Is the uncertainty surrounding journalism prompted by economic, political, technical, professional, or even philosophical factors? And moving from ‘reporting’ to ‘editorial’, what can and should journalists, publishers and the public do for the sake of journalism and society?

Listen to session audio:

 

Speakers
Professor George Brock
head of journalism, City University London; author, Out of Print: newspapers, journalism and the business of news in the Digital Age

Charlie Beckett
director, Polis, LSE; author, SuperMedia: saving journalism so it can save the world

Professor Natalie Fenton
joint head of department, co-director, Leverhulme Media Research Centre, Goldsmiths, University of London; editor, New Media, Old News: journalism and democracy in a digital age

Tarun J. Tejpal
founder and editor, Tehelka; former editor, India Today; novelist; author, The Story of My Assassins

Ellen Hume
Annenberg Fellow in Civic Media, Centre for Media and Communication Studies, CEU, Budapest; former US journalist and media commentator

Chair:
Dr Andrew Calcutt
principal lecturer in journalism, University of East London; editor, Proof; co-author, Journalism Studies: a critical introduction

Produced by
Dr Andrew Calcutt principal lecturer in journalism, University of East London; editor, Proof; co-author, Journalism Studies: a critical introduction
Recommended readings
This is not journalism as we know it

Here and now, in that part of the twenty-first century world which today lives less by origination and production and more by the provision of mediating services, we are getting yet another kind of journalism.

Andrew Calcutt, Independent Blogs, 3 October 2010

Proof: reading journalism and society

If journalism had been stronger, perhaps it could have absorbed the shock of social media and the horror of recession. But it lacked the necessary self-confidence. Now journalism's in jeopardy, and journalists must do more to show their mettle; hence Proof, the site for showing what journalism is made of.

Andrew Calcutt (editor), proof-reading.org, 2010

Murdoch is right

If we value good journalism, why don’t we pay for it online?

Joy Lo Dico, Prospect, 24 June 2010

New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age

In a thorough empirical investigation of journalistic practices in different news contexts, New Media, Old News explores how technological, economic and social changes have reconfigured news journalism, and the consequences of these transformations for a vibrant democracy in our digital age. The result is a piercing examination of why understanding news journalism matters now more than ever. It is essential reading for students and scholars of journalism and new media.

Natalie Fenton, Sage Publications, 21 October 2009

Journalism, Democracy and the Public Interest

The media industry is in the midst of a 'perfect storm', as recession, fragmented audiences and the shift of press advertising to the internet, impact upon it. Steven Barnett, Professor of Communications at the University of Westminster, analyses the effects of these changes on the industry, and how Government and regulatory intervention can best enable it to move forward in a changing world.

Steven Barnett, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 2009

Are we on track for a golden age of serious journalism?

Falling sales and profits augur badly for serious news. Two leading US experts ask if an online renaissance is in the making

Steven Johnson and Paul Starr, Prospect, 5 May 2009

Arianna Huffington

The Greek-born socialite has shaken up American political media with her website the Huffington Post. But by revolutionising news, might she also be in danger of destroying it?

Andrew Keen, Prospect, 1 September 2008

Supermedia: Saving Journalism So It Can Save the World

Beckett sees the growth of new media and technologies as an opportunity for, rather than a threat to, the traditional practices of journalism. However, he observes, those practices will need to change and adjust to take advantage of the opportunities offered by what he calls networking journalism.

Charlie Beckett, Wiley-Blackwell, 20 May 2008


Festival Buzz

Caught in the Web - Jo Glanville

"A rigorous and invigorating exchange of ideas that transcended cliché."
Cory Doctorow, Novelist; co-editor, BoingBoing.net