We’ve been hearing a lot about the Leveson inquiry. But another inquiry has been quietly rumbling on at the same time, and the findings should be very interesting to journalists.
TThe House of Lords has a select committee on communications, and it's conducting an inquiry called The future of investigative journalism. They're asking what its role is and how it will evolve in the future.They’re also looking at business models for the industry: in other words, how do we make serious reporting pay?
So far there have been 11 evidence-gathering sessions as well as a public call for written submissions. Uncorrected transcripts of all the sessions so far are available on the Parliament.uk website.
It’s well worth trawling through the transcripts for gems like this exchange between Richard Caseby, managing editor of the Sun, and Baroness Fookes.
Mr Caseby: ...[T]he number of press releases that might have any sort of origination in a news story would be tiny. Your bin would be full of them. Just because the PR industry has exploded, it does not necessarily mean —
Baroness Fookes: It has not exploded at The Sun.
Mr Caseby: Well, it has not exploded into The Sun. They have been exploding in a wastepaper basket, but it has not exploded on The Sun.
Baroness Fookes: Okay, thank you.
I had a quick look yesterday through a few of the transcripts, and already I’ve read discussions on accountability, advertising, crime reporting, injunctions, libel, phone-hacking, print versus digital, privacy, public trust in newspapers and more. I don’t think this inquiry is getting the attention it deserves. Take a look.