Anyone can be a journalist these days. All you need is a smart phone and an opinion apparently. High-quality journalism on the other hand is an art; it requires as a minimum - skills, trust and money.
“The Cairncross Review” is an independent report published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which assesses the challenges facing high-quality journalism in the UK and puts forward proposals to improve its future.
The key recommendations focus around increased transparency and regulatory supervision of online platform policies.
The Review recognises the radical changes in the ways in which news is provided and how people find and read it. It acknowledges the growing public mistrust of both traditional news and social media, and the challenges the industry faces as traditional revenue streams (advertising and circulation) dry up.
The Review dwelt most on what it considers to be the main significant functions of journalism – ensuring public accountability and investigating possible wrongdoing, also known as “public interest news”.
The key recommendations include:
Regulatory supervision for online platforms to monitor the steps they take to improve people’s awareness of the origins and quality of the news they read;
New code of conduct for online platforms to rebalance the relationship between publishers and online platforms;
New funds focusing on innovation and supply of public interest news;
Investigation into BBC News' market impact; and
Creation of a new Institute for Public Interest News.
Is the market in which publishers now operate a fair one, or has the rapid growth of the big online platforms, especially Google and Facebook, created distortions that justify government intervention?