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Changing political journalism
Prof Charlie Beckett
Madrid, May 2015
What does journalism do for politics?
• Information
[facts, records, statistics, events,
policies]
• Deliberation
[debate,...
The problem with
political journalism is..?
The (politician’s) problem with
political journalism is..?
• Unaccountable power
• Bias
• Obsession with process
• Cynicis...
The (journalist’s) problem with
political journalism is..?
• Lack of resources for (political) journalism
• Government sec...
The (public’s) problem with
political journalism is..?
• Too complicated
• Too cynical
• Too belligerent, biased
• Too muc...
Politicians/executive
News Media
Public
Political reporting is now networked
Journalism, social media & data
Politicians/executive
Citizens
47%: Citizen + journalist =
transparency
Potential of ‘new’ media for
democracy
• Gives citizen direct voice
• Gives citizen direct access to information
• Allows ...
Dangers of new media democracy
• Fragmentation/polarisation
• Bad information/propaganda
• Distraction
• Short attention s...
#Ferguson tweets by party affiliation
Filter bubbles then?
More democratic?
“Journalism will continue to become more plural
in its forms, its functions, and its practitioners.
It wi...
The political role of networked
journalism
• Job of the political journalist becomes to filter,
curate and make relevant t...
What difference does it make?
• Influence – who has it?
• Proportionality – a fair voice?
• Verification – what’s true?
• ...
non-political political fora
Russell Brand: comedian, actor, activist
and journalist?
More examples from this election
• Data visualisations
• Media campaigns – Sky News/Standup and be
counted
• Variety of co...
Redefine ‘Journalist’
• Curator
• Partner
• Social networker
• Specialist
How to get people’s attention
GE2015: reporting on fake facts
TV reaction polls more accurate
GE2015: reporting on a fake campaign
In age of distraction attend to
fundamentals
@CharlieBeckett
c.h.beckett@lse.ac.uk
Political journalism and reporting of the 2015 UK General Election
Political journalism and reporting of the 2015 UK General Election
Political journalism and reporting of the 2015 UK General Election
Political journalism and reporting of the 2015 UK General Election
Political journalism and reporting of the 2015 UK General Election
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Political journalism and reporting of the 2015 UK General Election

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Lecture on the context for the journalism around the UK 2015 General Election and some first thoughts on the specifics of the reporting of that election.

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Political journalism and reporting of the 2015 UK General Election

  1. 1. Changing political journalism Prof Charlie Beckett Madrid, May 2015
  2. 2. What does journalism do for politics? • Information [facts, records, statistics, events, policies] • Deliberation [debate, analysis, comment, opinion] • Accountability [investigation, audit, voice for citizen, campaigns]
  3. 3. The problem with political journalism is..?
  4. 4. The (politician’s) problem with political journalism is..? • Unaccountable power • Bias • Obsession with process • Cynicism • Lack of information • Lack of expertise • Loss of local press
  5. 5. The (journalist’s) problem with political journalism is..? • Lack of resources for (political) journalism • Government secrecy • Government and party spin and manipulation • Disintermediation: increased role of social networks & public relations
  6. 6. The (public’s) problem with political journalism is..? • Too complicated • Too cynical • Too belligerent, biased • Too much process • Boring • Irrelevant – ‘Westminster bubble’ • Too simplistic • Not critical enough • Too complicit – not critical or radical enough • Sensationalist • Not informed enough about realities of policy-making
  7. 7. Politicians/executive News Media Public
  8. 8. Political reporting is now networked Journalism, social media & data Politicians/executive Citizens
  9. 9. 47%: Citizen + journalist = transparency
  10. 10. Potential of ‘new’ media for democracy • Gives citizen direct voice • Gives citizen direct access to information • Allows citizen to organise and campaign • Allows the public to critique mainstream media • Makes mainstream media more diverse & relevant
  11. 11. Dangers of new media democracy • Fragmentation/polarisation • Bad information/propaganda • Distraction • Short attention span
  12. 12. #Ferguson tweets by party affiliation
  13. 13. Filter bubbles then?
  14. 14. More democratic? “Journalism will continue to become more plural in its forms, its functions, and its practitioners. It will become more difficult to distinguish it from advocacy political communications, public relations alternative and participatory civic information, personal commentary, poplar culture and so on” Dahlgren 2009
  15. 15. The political role of networked journalism • Job of the political journalist becomes to filter, curate and make relevant the right information for the right people • To be public-centred, customer-focused, reliable, transparent and credible • While continuing to uphold the traditional functions of acting as an independent reporter, investigator and critic of government
  16. 16. What difference does it make? • Influence – who has it? • Proportionality – a fair voice? • Verification – what’s true? • Acceleration – faster, instant, all the time • Destabilisation – surprise, ambush, reveal • Superficiality – attention & distraction • Fragmentation or diversity?
  17. 17. non-political political fora
  18. 18. Russell Brand: comedian, actor, activist and journalist?
  19. 19. More examples from this election • Data visualisations • Media campaigns – Sky News/Standup and be counted • Variety of coverage – human interest • TV debate saga – most effective BBCQT • More exposure for minority parties • SNP exceptionalism in journalism terms • Facebook v twitter?
  20. 20. Redefine ‘Journalist’ • Curator • Partner • Social networker • Specialist
  21. 21. How to get people’s attention
  22. 22. GE2015: reporting on fake facts
  23. 23. TV reaction polls more accurate
  24. 24. GE2015: reporting on a fake campaign
  25. 25. In age of distraction attend to fundamentals
  26. 26. @CharlieBeckett c.h.beckett@lse.ac.uk

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