Journalists Speak out on Journalism: Is there a crisis in journalism?

– Dan Featherstone contributed to this report

Five top journalists gathered to discuss whether there is a crisis currently happening in journalism at the University of Lincoln on Monday, February 4th, 2013.


Professor Richard Keeble is the host of the "Journalists Speak out on Journalism" series.

The evening saw Magnus Linklater, previous Scotland editor of The Times, joined by Pam Jenner, Michael Smith, John Bond, Simon Cohen and Clive Tyldesley in a heated discussion, starting with the recent wake of The Leveson Inquiry and the phone hacking scandal.

Jenner, a current PhD student and ex-Cambridge Evening News senior journalist, kicked off the discussion with great vigour as she discussed how The Leveson Inquiry has highlighted important issues that will help the industry to progress.

She described to the audience how the scandal has brought change, saying: “There’s great hope for you going into the industry at this time as it’s moving away from unethical journalism practices.”

Discussion quickly turned to whether the internet is responsible for the questionable crisis that is happening in journalism.

Tyldesley, the celebrated ITV football commentator, discussed how social media in particular has only “mildly helped” his job and that “we are in danger of affording social media with too much significance”.

He stressed that the objective with reading online information should be to use these new sources to collate the information, the job of the journalist is to sift through it and weigh up the information, ensuring a well-rounded understanding.

With a question from an audience member regarding whether there will ever be a cultural change in the competitiveness of media sources trying to get their news immediately, Linklater turned the attention to why print is still the most reliable for news.

Linklater said: “Newspapers get it first and they get it right. With the plethora of news, newspapers will get it properly done and reported in the right way.”

When questioned regarding whether the real crisis is the competition between inexpensive online media compared to print, Linklater commented: “that’s it, it is killing newspapers”.

The evening rounded off with more questions from the audience, with some students raising concern to the changes in the industry. One particular student questioned the introduction of a Whistleblowing hotline being in place to help report any misconduct happening in the newsroom.

Jenner quickly defended the hotline saying: “I think what we need to make sure is that we’re encouraging members that it’ll be confidential. I think it’s the way forward as it gives a little bit of power to the people… it worked in the NHS.”

The next in the Journalists Speak out on Journalism series is on Monday, February 11th with David Hall, editor of best-selling football magazine FourFourTwo, who will be talking on the topic “Selling the Game: How to Score a Winner on the Newsstand”. The talk is to be held at the Jackson Lecture Theatre, starting at 6.15 pm.

Comments are closed.