Richard Keeble on the latest crisis in journalism

“Journalists are, indeed, obsessed with this notion of crisis. It makes for good headlines, titles of books and, indeed, conferences. As our sunny Jim story suggests, if there isn’t a crisis journalists will quickly invent one.

Certainly since I started in journalism in 1970, there has been constant talk of crisis. And since becoming a hackacademic in 1984 (a pleasantly symbolic year for an Orwellian such as myself) I’ve constantly been giving lectures dispelling myths about “The crisis in journalism”.

First the media were supposedly under the grip of trade unions. Mrs Thatcher and Mr Murdoch sorted out that problem. Next the arrival of new technology in the 1980s supposedly meant that upstart publishers like Eddie Shah would threaten the dominance of the traditional proprietors: the Rothermeres, Beaverbrooks, the Maxwells and the Murdochs. And throughout this period the sense of crisis has been linked to a constant moral panic over media standards – dumbing down became the catch phrase with concerns focused on TV promotion of the soundbite culture, the obsession with celebrities, sensationalism, sleaze and so on. The emergence of the internet and the blogosphere next threatened professional journalists’ monopoly on reporting in the public sphere. A series of broadcasting scandals supposedly critically damaged the public’s trust in TV. For Nick Flat Earth News Davies, Fleet Street is in acute crisis since it has become a mere extension of planet PR with demon spin-doctors in control.” [Crisis: what crisis?, Richard Keeble]

via the Media Lens blog.

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