Help defend journalism, urges i newspaper

Posted on: October 6, 2020 by Claire Meadows

Every community that loses its media loses influence over its future, the i newspaper has warned.

Writing in an editorial as part of #JournalismMatters week, Editor Oliver Duff (pictured) highlighted the challenges facing the industry and called on the public to support the industry.

He said: “The collapse of traditional revenue streams in established news media, especially local media, has had a catastrophic impact on the ability of the public and of journalists in particular to hold the powerful to account.

“Today, local media editors plead with the Government to intervene in the UK’s dysfunctional digital advertising marketplace to curb the suffocating influence of Google and Facebook.

Duff pointed to the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation online and said that social media continued to provide a platform for undermining democracy.

He said: “The war on facts is an assault on our ability to understand the world. Powerful people have always obfuscated and lied in order to advance their interests. However, the early 21st century has been characterised by the industrialisation of falsehoods, with social media weaponised to undermine democracy and social cohesion.

“We have never had more information at our disposal, nor have we ever had so much disinformation to sift through. Exhibit A: the knot of contradictions about the health of Donald Trump.”

Despite the challenges that continue to face the industry, numerous examples of rigorous journalism that has improved the public’s life could be found.

He said: “Every community that loses its media loses influence over its future.

“People who buy newspapers or who subscribe to digital media, who pay for journalism, already know this. After years of hyperbole, this is a battle for survival and – if objective truth is to have any meaning – for a first draft of history that bears some resemblance to events.

Ahead of i’s 10th birthday in three weeks, Duff said that the achievement in which his team takes greatest pride is topping the trust ratings compiled by industry auditor PAMCo.

He concluded: “Whoever you are, wherever you live, please do #buyapaper. Supporting journalism is a vote of faith in fellow humanity.”