Digital Editors Oct 2009(2)


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Presentation given by Tony Johnston from the Press Association to the Digital Editors' Network in Preston. October 2009.

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Digital Editors Oct 2009(2)

  1. 1. Tony Johnston Press Association
  2. 2. Public service reporting
  3. 3. “ Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future” Slide “ The best way to predict the future is to invent it” “ The future will be better tomorrow” - Neils Bohr - Alan Kay - Dan Quayle
  4. 4. As the media revolution gathers pace, is there still a place for professional journalism? Slide The question…
  5. 5. We believe the answer is yes…in fact, for a democracy it is vital Slide The question… The problem is the business model is broken
  6. 6. Public service reporting <ul><li>Local newspapers have cut back </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer reporters on the ground </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced coverage of councils and courts </li></ul><ul><li>Local government reporting - 64% have reduced resources </li></ul><ul><li>Court reporting – 71% have reduced resources </li></ul>Slide
  7. 7. Public service reporting <ul><li>Has the level of scrutiny of the work of your principal local authority been reduced by the reduction in attendance at meetings? </li></ul><ul><li>Yes – 50% </li></ul><ul><li>No – 37% </li></ul>Slide
  8. 8. Public service reporting <ul><li>Creating a news vacuum in some areas </li></ul><ul><li>Local authorities launch newspapers </li></ul><ul><li>Who loses? </li></ul><ul><li>The public – less well informed </li></ul><ul><li>The media – losing touch with their community </li></ul><ul><li>The local authorities – “In Essex 74% residents who felt informed were satisfied with the council, a figure which drops to 38% for those who considered they were not.” </li></ul>Slide
  9. 9. Public service reporting <ul><li>A growing debate </li></ul><ul><li>Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger: “We have to face up to the prospect that for the first time since the Enlightenment you are going to have major cities in the UK and western democracies without any source of verifiable news. That hasn't happened for 200 to 300 years. I think it will have very profound implications.&quot; </li></ul>Slide
  10. 10. Public service reporting <ul><li>A growing debate </li></ul><ul><li>Something has to be done to fill the news vacuum </li></ul><ul><li>Undertook two week trial in Essex </li></ul><ul><li>Huge range of content from unattended meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Sufficient evidence to move forward </li></ul>Slide
  11. 11. Three stage project Slide
  12. 12. Three stage project Slide
  13. 13. Three stage project Slide
  14. 14. The pilot unit <ul><li>Will: </li></ul><ul><li>Attend local authorities and other institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Provide stories of interest to the local community that cover the democratic process </li></ul><ul><li>Complement existing editorial provision </li></ul><ul><li>Operate separately from the Press Association </li></ul><ul><li>Be editorially independent and adopt the Press Association’s fair and accurate editorial values and principles </li></ul><ul><li>Supply digital news generated by the unit free of charge via the web </li></ul>Slide
  15. 15. Public service reporting <ul><li>Several possible pilot areas under discussion </li></ul><ul><li>It will produce: </li></ul><ul><li>Previews of the biggest stories </li></ul><ul><li>Attend ALL key committee meetings, full council, Cabinet </li></ul><ul><li>Police authority, health trusts </li></ul><ul><li>Pick up content from meetings not attended </li></ul><ul><li>Distribute to any interested party </li></ul>Slide
  16. 16. Public service reporting Slide
  17. 17. Public service reporting <ul><li>What happens now: </li></ul><ul><li>Funding applications being submitted </li></ul><ul><li>Possible Q2 2010 launch </li></ul><ul><li>Development of tender/franchise proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Finalising workflows and technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Broader funding debate </li></ul>Slide