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.

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