In the past week I have been reading the Leveson Report, in two days’ time I am expected to stand up in front of a class and present facts about it and my opinion on it. I also have an essay to write about it in the next few weeks.
I have been studying multimedia journalism for the past year and a half but that doesn’t mean I can stand up and defend the media at all, no matter how much I want to. My only line is that it is not the media that is warped but the people within the media.
I have been fooling myself that the next generation of journalists will be better.
However, there are too many complaints for this statement to be true anymore; the media are the common factor. I am losing faith in my own career choice.
I can sit and study the Leveson report, the fourth estate, the press complaints commission and freedom of the press until I am blue in the face but I am no closer to figuring out what happened to the media and why.
When asked what I think about the report and what I think this means for the media now, this is all I could come up with:
“I agree that the media, the police and the government need to keep a distance from one another, they should be three different institutions keeping checks on one another as opposed to working with one another. This is where the four estates failed.
The report was the best but the worst thing that could have happened to the media. It will end dishonesty, create higher standards and make it harder for laws to be broken. However, it will also suffocate citizen journalism and the use of citizen journalism in mainstream media and it will suffocate investigative journalism and the possibilities it holds.
The increasing difficulty for investigative journalists is a bad thing for the industry and for the people of the country because often investigative journalism can inform people of things that are being hidden from them, making the knowledge of the people in the country more honest. As we said at the beginning the task of the fourth estate was to keep the other three honest.
The Leveson Inquiry, being a public inquiry, has also caused the public to no longer trust the media and that is a problem that will take a long time to fix. There is also now a lot of distrust among the media itself and between the government and the police. The media cannot do its job correctly without trust from the public because they need people to believe that what they are telling them is truthful.
For us though, young, trainee journalists, the Leveson Report will mean that it will now be harder to get to where we want to be but hopefully will mean that we are entering a less corrupt industry.”
That last bit of my statement is a lot of rubbish though; the media will always be corrupt until it is no longer run like a business. It is all about making money and selling stories. Not about informing or educating anymore.
The Leveson Inquiry hasn’t done anything but lose what little trust there was in the media, it’s what comes next that will be important for the industry.
It looks like the only way to bring back freedom of the press, is to restrict it even more…which doesn’t make any sense to me.