What’s Happening to Our News

January 22, 2009

I was one of the people interviewed for Andrew Currah‘s What’s Happening to Our News, which is out today. Don’t let that put you off. Andrew’s an economic geographer – different, I guess, from a geographic economist – maybe it’s an economist who knows where he is.

It’s full of interesting things, and better still some concrete suggestions:

  • Targeted tax breaks to provide an incentive to invest in the craft of journalism, including reporting and investigative work.
  • A review of the legislation governing charitable giving, which largely rules out newsgathering, to open up this source of funding for independent professional journalism, bringing the UK in line with countries like the US.
  • A voluntary set of media standards, leading to a digital kitemark, to make transparent the sourcing of news and to enhance the visibility of professional journalism on the web.
  • The release by the government of more data on the operation and performance of publicly funded bodies in accessible electronic formats to support both professional and citizen journalism.
  • More interactivity between parliament and citizens, with digital media used to democratise knowledge and the understanding of political processes.
  • The extension of media literacy teaching in schools to incorporate the unique challenges and opportunities of new media.

Data release is crucial and THE MOST IMPORTANT thing. I’d put numeracy ahead of media literacy any day. And, sadly – ok, pitifully – I think the charitable giving point is probably the most achievable.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paul Bradshaw January 28, 2009 at 08:55

Was really disappointed with the recommendations – kitemarks have been suggested before and make no sense. Tax breaks and charitable support sound like a way to support the status quo rather than encourage innovation (although I’d like to see tax breaks for startups). Agree with digital literacy but am cynical about its delivery.
Also disappointing was the selection of interviewees – I wonder if Currah ventured outside the south east (no interviews with some great minds at UCLAN for instance, or regional editors who are more savvy than most national editors and journalists seem to think, and deal with very different problems. Also no interviews with entrepreneurs). Will blog in due course…

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