NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher argued that traditional journalism is not dead at a debate held in the committee rooms of the House of Commons last night (26 November).
Kim was speaking to a crowd of over 70 people at an event chaired by Lord True, CBE, and hosted by The Debating Group, an organisation that brings marketers, politicians, journalists and the public together to discuss the contentious political issues which surround marketing.
Speaking on behalf of the opposition, Kim successfully refuted the motion: “Traditional journalism is not sustainable in an age of citizen journalists and social media.” He was joined in opposition by journalist, editorial consultant and general adviser to the PCC Anthony Longden.
The motion was proposed by managing director of Havas PR, Steve Marinker, and supported by director of retail at Pelham Bell Pottinger, Clinton Manning. They claimed social media was having a damaging effect on traditional media, promoting the individual rather than traditional media brands and gaining a reputation for breaking stories, a key componant of journalism.
Kim challenged the proposers’ claims that social media was killing newspapers, saying that the traditional media has adapted to new circumstances and used social media as a medium to direct readers to their content on news websites. He said: “I don’t think a lot has changed – if you look at websites and you look at blogs by journalists contected to newspapers then, actually, the main event is still that traditional connection with traditional media.” He added traditional media brands had developed a trust with their readers through editorial checks and promoting standards.
Speaking on behalf of the NCTJ, he said: “We do a lot of work with young journalists to make sure that there is a certain journalism standard. There is, in the young people I see going into journalism, a great wish to do something worthwhile, to bear witness to what’s going on, to go out and report on local authorities, to keep an eye on magistrates courts and there are times when we forget that these are important things in democracy and the young journalists that I see want to go and do that. By all means let them blog, let them go on Twitter, but those young journalists also want a career out of this, they want to be paid.”
He added: “They take their work very seriously and I’m very proud if the work they do as journalists.”