George Orwell famously said journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. In a world festooned with PR exercises and reputation management, was Mr Orwell overly cynical, or was he well ahead of his time? With print media’s business model in free fall, newspaper proprietors are increasingly desperate to find ways to ensure financial viability. The problem with this approach is that corporate interests can and often do trump the interests of readers. Joining us to discuss how free the UK press really is are the lecturer in journalism and media studies at Birkbeck College, Justin Schlosberg, and the editor of Open Media at openDemocracy, James Cusick.
It used to be that news was more or less the reporting of interactions that were geopolitical in scale. These days, news stories break at the speed of a president’s pudgy little bigot-fingers. Newspapers are complicit in acquiescing to the chaos of Trump’s presidency by keeping us at tweet’s length from a deeper understanding of this new, terrifying White House. One could almost argue that it’s never been more important for newspapers to avoid reporting the news, and instead tell us what’s actually going on.