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Responsible Journalism

Kevin Marsh

BBC Radio 4's Analysis: Responsible Journalism? will be broadcast on Thursday, 3rd July 2008 at 20:30 and repeated on Sunday 6th July at 21.30 BST

Do our newspapers have a responsibility to make the public space a better place?

How many times have you thought about cancelling your daily newspaper but didn't get round to it?

Or decided against it because you quite enjoy the celebrity gossip, the sudoku and tips on where to go for your next holiday?

Perhaps another reason for buying your paper is the television schedule or - in these credit-crunch times - you might have been developing a new interest in the business pages?

But what about the political reporting and commentary which - once upon a time - were the main reasons people bought newspapers?

Many readers now resent smart editors telling them what to think and they now feel that they can get better and more balanced information off the internet. As a consequence, the British press is on the slide with sales and advertising crashing.

David Yelland, former editor of The Sun
David Yelland, former editor of The Sun
Kevin Marsh, the former editor of the Today programme and now an executive with the BBC's College of Journalism asks whether the press is fast becoming irrelevant to public debate and if so, how it might rediscover its public purpose in order to help us citizens join the big debates and solve our genuine problems.

He investigates a forgotten phenomenon from the US - the "Public Journalism" movement - to ask if it might perhaps provide some of the answers.

Interviewees:

  • David Yelland Former editor of The Sun
  • Kamal Ahmed Former executive editor, News, The Observer
  • Professor Jay Rosen Public Journalism guru
  • Professor Jean Seaton University of Westminster
  • Martin Moore Director, Media Standards Trust
  • Mike Jempson Director, MediaWise Trust
  • Charlie Beckett London School of Economics

Presenter: Kevin Marsh
Producer: Ingrid Hassler
Editor: Hugh Levinson

Coming up

In next week's programme, Richard Reeves asks if we need "character factories" to help us become better people.



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