Government review to tackle the “threat to high quality UK journalism”

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

An independent review into the future of British journalism is calling for evidence.

The panel, chaired by Dame Frances Cairncross, is looking into the sustainability of journalism, in the wake of new research showing a continuing decline in the sector.

Since 2007, the number of full-time journalists has fallen by over 25%, while a quarter of all regional and local newspapers have closed in the past decade.

The review will also examine the changes in consumer behaviour and how the “mainstream media” tag is posing problems for journalism both in the UK and beyond.

“This review is not about preserving the status quo. We need to explore ways in which we can ensure that consumers in 10 years time have access to high-quality journalism which meets their needs, is delivered in the way they want, and supports democratic engagement,” explained Dame Frances Cairncross.

“This call for evidence enables all those with an interest to contribute their knowledge and views so we can build the evidence and make impactful recommendations to move forward.”

According to figures commissioned for the review, circulation and print advertising revenues have dropped by more than half over the last decade, from nearly £7 billion to just over £3 billion. Full-time journalist numbers have fallen from 23k in 2007, to 17k last year. More than 300 local and regional newspapers have closed over the same period.

“Our fearless and independent press plays a vital role in informing citizens and is one of the foundations on which our democracy is built,” added Matt Hancock, DCMS Secretary of State.

“At a time of dramatic technological changes and with our institutions under threat from disinformation, we need this clear-eyed view of how high-quality journalism can continue to be effectively produced, distributed and consumed.”

Organisations and individuals can submit written evidence to the panel, ahead of the final report, which is due to be published early next year.

The call for evidence will close on Friday 7 September 2018.

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