‘Details the current overview of how the media in the UK operate today, and by analyzing three certain areas in particular; structure and ownership, law, ethics and regulation and employment an evaluation of how the press should work will be ascertained.‘
Structure and Ownership
Oscar Wilde famously said that ‘...Journalism governs forever and ever.’ Even then, before the BBC was established, the media and the outlets providing news not only informed those people but had an integral part in shaping the world at that moment.
Today, that statement remains true; thanks to the internet and the digital age, the flow of information is on a constant 24-hour cycle. Yet, one thing that has changed in recent years is the image of Journalism which has been tarnished heavily, with many people losing faith entirely in our country’s press.
Revelations coming to light over Jimmy Savile in 2012 and the News International Phone Hacking Scandal damaged the reputation of the industry as a whole, putting into question not only the ethical and legal framework the press operates in but whether the UK media should be reformed entirely. After all, most of the country’s biggest newspapers were established in the 18th and 19th century; should media organisations have a new model to reflect our times more efficiently and lay down a foundation in order to stop those 2 high-profile cases from repeating in the future?
The way organisations are structured have an impact on how they operate; whether they are publicly or privately owned. In this section of the report, a comprehensive review of the benefits and drawbacks these corporations have to contend with as a result of their ownership. These findings will influence the overall premise of how, hypothetically, media companies in the UK should operate.
Being owned by the state and controlled by the government, the BBC is an extremely well-known and historic example of a publicly owned media organisation operating in the UK for over 90 years.
This business model means that the way it is funded, from the annual TV licence fee (£145.50 for colour televisions) UK taxpayers are charged with, cuts out the necessity to appease shareholders or private investors which may require the whole group to adapt a particular political stance (this will be looked at in further detail in the next chapter,) in order to remain financially viable to external parties, as is the case for most private companies.
Not having to be concerned by overseers coursing out their broadcasting, the BBC is free to produce content on all its formats, catering to the richly diverse audience who funds them, in shows not only to entertain, but to educate without commercial obligations or restriction (within reason) to what should be aired based on demographic- as the taxpayer has the right to be represented. This is what has made the BBC an institution for Britain and a shining example of how the rest of the world sees the UK through its content.
Countries including Burma, China and North Korea media are all ‘state-controlled’ meaning the government is in direct control, heavily censoring what is published and threatening its journalists if they go against the particular country’s wishes. Burma, in particular, reign an iron fist over those working in the media sector; only at the start of this year did 60 journalists stage a protest against its government over the jailing of one of their colleagues who worked on a corruption story.
Luckily the BBC, even though it is state-controlled, is independent from political influence and has the right to exercise freedom of press. Similarly, the board of governors in charge of running the BBC has the same independence from political or government persuasion.
As of January 2007, the formation of the BBC Trust was established to ‘make decisions in the best interests of the licence fee and protect the independence of the BBC.’
Figure : Members part of the BBC Trust. (Lord Patten was BBC Chairman up until 06/05/14, standing down due to medical grounds. Diane Coyle will take over as acting Chairman.)
The ways in which the BBC Trust delivers its plan by looking at the following areas:
Setting the BBC’s strategy
How to spend the licence fee, and in which areas.
Evaluating both public services, and those of a commercial nature, in terms of performance.
How this is done revolves around the BBC Royal Charter and Agreement, used as the basis of the organisation and the way The Trust acts over certain matters.
In theory, the Royal Charter would ensure uncertainty or vagueness regarding a difficult situation be quashed and the Trustees have a course of action to implement for the Corporation and its colleagues to follow, ensuring it is acting ethically and professionally.
Ofcom (The Office of Communications,) who regulate communications, are also considered in certain areas of the Royal Charter and furthermore, external bodies such as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the European Union monitor the BBC. Aspects concerning Ofcom in particular would include, as detailed on http://www.ofcom.org.uk/about/what-is-ofcom/
‘Furthering’ the interests of citizens and consumers; protecting them from untoward activities while at the same time enabling competition within the sectors affluent and healthy.
But let’s look at the Royal Charter and Agreement in more detail as it will better enlighten us to how the publically-owned BBC operates.
Figure : Values the Royal Charter embodies.
The Agreement which coincides The Charter states, ‘’that we (The BBC) should do all we can ‘to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality’ in our news and other output dealing with matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy.’’
Evidence of the BBC being impartial is how it defines at no time should the opinions of the BBC be expressed on current affairs or in relation to public policy.
11 key Editorial Values the BBC follow when creating content for its audiences are as follows;
Aim to avoid misleading their audience, therefore building on their reputation as honest broadcasters.
Truth & Accuracy
All sources used as foundations for stories or programming be credible. As well as getting information correct, all information should be weighed up to accurately reflect the whole story.
Being publicly owned, making sure diversity is reflected is paramount. Equally as important, ‘no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented.’
Editorial Integrity & Independence
Linking in somewhat with Trust, their audience has to be confident that it has not been influenced by any external forces; be it commercial or political. This, in turn, upholds the BBC’s editorial integrity.
Harm & Offence
A fine balance has to be implemented when showcasing the world as it truly is, yet vigilance has to be taken to protect the vulnerable and the young children.
Serving the Public Interest
Relates to reporting on significant, worthy stories to an audience and in times where those in public office, for example are accountable, the BBC will use their expertise and authority to ask the right questions.
Programming will be based on respect, honest and openness for both the audience and those part of production.
Closely connected with ‘Serving the Public Interest,’ private information and conversations would only be brought to light if the public’s interest surpasses that of the individuals or groups privacy.
Content deemed unsuitable for children consumption would be reviewed and scheduled accordingly. This section would also take into account those children participating on shows; making sure their dignity, emotional welfare and well-being are protected.
An openness to be maintained over the content the BBC produces online, so users can make informed decisions on the suitability for adults and children alike.
When the BBC do make mistakes (as was the case with the Jimmy Savile incident which will be looked further in the next chapter of this report) it is important they acknowledge them and learn from them in the future. The relationship the audience has with the BBC has to be one where can hold them accountable, and at the same time deal fairly and openly with the public.
These values underpinning what the BBC stands for and how they should operate to the highest professional standard is a clear benefit to how the organisation runs, helping The Trust, and in turn all its employees, maintain good practices. When looking at structure, having a guideline of categories with principles attached to them is something all media companies should have established.
The BBC brand is spread widely across numerous channels on a range of platforms include television, radio and the internet; each catering to a particular demographic of its audience.
Take CBBC for example, aimed at 6-12 year olds, whereas BBC Radio 4 targets a more mature consumer, capturing an audience share of 12.1% over 2013.Figures shown on the Broadcasters Audience Research Board’s website (http://goo.gl/qKyWRq) put into context how integral the BBC is as part of British media culture- In one week (April 21st-April 27th 2014) BBC1 and BBC2 alone had over 25% of the total television audience share.
This not only shows how successful the company is in terms of its business strategy and the production of its shows the public, but that the audience see the BBC as a national institution; with millions choosing them to keep up to date with the news or watch their favourite soap or drama.
Inherent to its sustainability is the TV licence which funds the organisation, which aims to maximise the funds provided by the tax payer by providing high quality content and value for money- done so in the most cost effective way possible.
Below are figures and statistics released by the BBC detailing a breakdown of how the Licence Fee was put to use in the 2013 financial year:
On the turn side, the fact that the BBC relies so heavily on the public and the TV licence without the luxury of having external sources of revenue, as is the case for private-owned companies becomes a double-edged sword.
With many opposed to the idea of paying a mandatory tax for be able to broadcast live television from their homes exclusively for the BBC may infuriate those who either does not watch the BBC or finds their content irrelevant to them.
Announced in March of this year, the BBC Three channel is set to close in autumn 2015, with the estimated £50 million a year savings being invested into BBC1 dramas and a new BBC1+1 catch-up channel.
Losing the digital channel in favour of turning it into a service on the BBC iPlayer has been met with mixed reviews. If it were to close, BBC Three would be the first TV channel to do so in its history. Defending its position, and reassuring those saddened by the news, the BBC Trust responded;
"Any major changes to existing BBC services require approval from the trust. In this case, we expect to conduct a public value test, including a public consultation, so licence fee payers will have the opportunity to have their say in the process." A final decision by The Trust will presumably take months on the future of the channel, however, if it were to close, aside from the financial savings, it might impact negatively on the perception of the BBC; how can they fairly represent the people who contribute to the funding of BBC Three if they are to axe a channel thousands use and enjoy on a daily basis?
The issue of using the taxpayer’s money properly is one which is of serious note to a publicly owned company. To assure the collective that their money is being put to good use gives faith to those individuals paying the licence fee- yet stories detailing the BBC spent £1.3 million on flights in a 2 year period between London and Salford would make those question how much of their hard-earned money is going on expenses and other frivolous costs rather than high quality programming.
Figure : Locations of Media Organisations within the UK- Interesting to note how many operate around the Capital. Across the UK, many of the largest media companies are privately owned- meaning it is run by a number of shareholders whose shares are not traded publicly and isn’t state controlled.
The most noticeable, due to the recent phone hacking scandal that ultimately led to the Sunday tabloid The News of the World closing in July 2011, and an outpouring of negativity from the public because of its actions is News International. As its majority shareholder, CEO Rupert Murdoch has ties with newspapers such as The Sun and The Times as well as the digital broadcaster Sky (British Sky Broadcasting Group.)
Obviously in Britain, our right to live in a country with a free press is very sacred and one often taken for granted. In the next chapter, the unethically actions of The News of the World and how they knowingly invaded the privacy of individuals and abused the system the British press incorporates, smeared the name of journalism in the UK. With the exception of that incident, the ability for journalists to exercise free press is integral for democracy and because it is free from governmental control should be celebrated that news can be published without interference or censorship.
They may be free from state control, but that does not mean a political undercurrent lies beneath their structure. Similarly, the company may be driven by the needs of its shareholders; directing them in a particular manner which evidently impact on its publications and meanings behind what it produces.
Almost all the privately owned organisations bare some allegiance to a political party- that not only connects with its readership but capable in influencing those on how to vote. The press is a powerful tool, with many elections in the past decided on how one party was perceived by the nation through the press; famously straight after the 1992 General Election, The Sun took the plaudits for the Conservative party’s win with the headline ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It.’
Below is a breakdown of where each major UK publication rests on the political scale:
These political values each newspaper carries is evident when looking at the content; by comparing a liberal and conservative front page, the stances they take either side of the political spectrum can be clear to see.
-Using the patriotic term ‘D-Day’ to describe the vote puts more emphasis on just how important and pivotal the election is.
The Daily Express’ allegiance with the Conservative party are clear to see; the photo of David Cameron with the slogan ‘Vote for Change’ in the background and the bullet-points stress the point that Cameron is the person they should be voting for.
-Heavily conservative in tone and sombreness- not referring to her as the former Prime Minister, but more personally as a Mother. Many liberals would feel appalled by the sub-heading, ‘The Farewell She Deserved.’’ because of what she did during her time in office as PM.
Showing a liberal front page in relation to the petrol shortages encountered around Britain in 2012. Openly blames the Conservative government for the ‘panic’ created. Image shows police having to deal with the problems relating to the shortages- one of which being violence.
Clearly taking the view that Britain isn’t moving forward despite the new coalition, it highlights the fact that the UK is back into recession...even though there is a 35-year gap between those two periods.
Graphic strengthens this by showing how much Britain is ‘lagging behind.’
Structures of successful private companies aren’t identical across the media landscape; in two examples taken from a conservative and liberal perspective, the way the companies are set up and the motives behind operating in a certain manner reverberate down the chain of command.
The first of these two journalistic organisations is The Guardian Media Group.
Publisher of The Guardian and The Observer newspapers, GMG is unlike conventional privately structured organisations as it uses its profits and invests them back into journalism, and by doing so, advocates freedom and integrity through the newspaper and company alike; being free from commercial interference.
Instead of a group of shareholders controlling the company, it was decided after the deaths of former owners of the then Manchester Guardian, CP Scott and his son Edward, in 1932 rather risk the future of the newspaper, Edward’s brother John put all his shares into a trust; forfeiting his and his family’s business interests. And so, in 1936 the Scott Trust was formed.
Below is a short documentary on The Scott Trust to further enhance the origins and purpose of it: (Link attached)
Figure : CP Scott's values (5th May 1921)that The Scott Trust uphold and see as integral to their actions.
Because The Scott Trust, and in turn GMG, is not motivated solely on benefiting groups of shareholders, it is able to safeguard its liberal values and those passed on by its founding father, CP Scott.
The Trust also has a charitable branch called the ‘Guardian Foundation’ which again focuses on press freedom and their responsibility to the community. Just one of many aspects the foundation focuses on is the preservation of archive material and educating those about The Scott Trust.
A structure such as this demonstrates the positive side of the press and the way that The Scott Trust invests back into journalism shows how best to nurture this sector and be able to support its longevity. By not being consciously swayed by the views of shareholders or the need to seek external funding, GMG seems to resonate an air of honesty, integrity and pride which has been lacking as a whole of late in terms of how the British press is viewed by the people after the phone hacking scandal.
The Daily Mail and General Trust group is a more traditional example of private ownership.
Listed on the London Stock Exchange, DMG are made up of numerous factions including DMG Events, DMG Media and DMG Information who are all run by separate chief executives to help manage each interest to the absolute highest degree- allowing a better connection with the company and enables better decision making and clarity.
Figure : Daily Mail owner Jonathan Harmsworth, better known as Lord Rothermere (Left) Chairman of DMG and DMG Media, Lord Rothermere is at the head of the hierarchy;overseeing each strand of the International group with offices all around the world.
Figure : Showing where DMG has a presence in the world.
The group is made up of various brands within each category of DMG; the most noticeable being The Daily Mail and The Metro newspapers, Jobsite, Zoopla and Hobsons.
To see the breakdown of DMG, the key management, vital figures and brief description will be given as to better understand the structure and grasp just how DMG is able to produce profits of £300 million per year.
The media division of DMG is prestigious among the industry, priding itself on its capabilities of multi-channelling across a wide range of platforms to reach their consumer.
Amongst its brands are of course The Daily Mail and The Metro as well as more consumer focused businesses including Jobsite and what has grown into the second largest online voucher website in the UK, Wowcher.
The Mail Online took over New York Times in 2011 as the most visited Newspaper website.
Staging events worldwide in the fields of energy, technology, construction and the interiors industries.
Brands that are part of Events are Ad Tech, The Big 5 International Building and Construction Show (Leadingbuilding and Construction event in the Middle East) and Gastech
Interesting to note that 70% of DMGT’s profits come from DMG Events and its sister organisations.
Businesses falling under the control of DMG Information include Trepp (‘provider of information, analytics and technology’ to worldwide Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities.), Genscape (dealing in offering power supply information to help power marketers, regulators etc.) and Landmark Solutions (Showing companies how to maximise their investment data with their extensive prowess in ‘management, analysis and dissemination of information.)
Based in Connecticut, DMG Information specialise in providing ‘Business to Business*’ information for sectors ranging from property finance right through to environmental organisations.
*Business to Business: Type of commerce transaction between businesses i.e. involving a manufacturer and a wholesaler.
Trusted by 400 insurers, reinsurers and other institutions within the financial industry, RMS is a world leader in risk analysis models, services and professionalism in the field of catastrophic risk assessment.
In the insurance sector, 72% of Lloyds managing agents are clients of RMS with 9 of the top 10 US P&C commercial insurance companies relying on RMS.
Euromoney is a Business to Business media group who, as well as publishing trade publications like books, magazines and journals, also run conferences, training courses and seminars which focus on international finance, metals and commodities.
Their website, details all of their products and a breakdown of the individual categories within those subjects they deal with.
The Daily Mail Group is a classic example of ‘Big Business’ that captures the spirit of entrepreneurism through its numerous sub-divisions across a diverse magnitude of businesses as well asthe core of its established media brands.
Due to the way it is owned, it is heavily aligned with conservative values and expresses these as strongly as any British newspaper does in publication, aimed mainly at its core demographic ‘Middle England; often referred to by those outside of that audience as ‘scaremongers’
In the way relates to stories and its themes, as seen in the example on the left, suggesting that the London riots Britain is in decline and the ‘anarchy’ is intensifying; getting worse and more potent. And liberal stance may give a more two-sided account and show the perspective of law enforcement for example.
This kind of political bias due to ownership can be seen as a drawback- can media organisations truly argue they give a fair account of the news if they are motivated by shareholders agendas, profitability and favourable political allegiance?
Public and Private ownership have varying degrees of benefits and drawbacks which will be the basis of this reports overall evaluation of the ideal structure of the media sector.
The BBC shows Public ownership enables the organisation to be free from political control whilst having control to offer a broad range of services to a wide reaching audience who fund them from tax. The Royal Charter is another asset to the BBC’s foundation- giving scope and direction to their decisions as broadcasters. Aside from the content it delivers, the BBC brand is a beacon to the rest of the world that symbolises the very best of what Britain has to offer. Drawbacks to this organisational framework is it relies too heavily on the public, and many of those who don’t consume content from the BBC feel hard done by, having no say in paying the TV licence if they are capable of watching live television from their household. Furthermore, it can only be demographic to a certain extent that has become evident with plans to close one of its channels.
Having a board of directors and shareholders invested in privately owned media companies adds a larger sense of control and increased sources of funding due to advertising revenue. Yet, the fact many are political biased towards a certain party is something this report disapproves of; in the current structure of the media this is understandable due to each individual news outlet’s owners motivated to propitiate shareholders and drive sales. But journalists should report the news without being blinkered by political obligations. The media is the biggest outlet in which peoples values are informed by; because of this, they should be free to make up their own minds without being subconsciously swayed to one particular line of thought.
In balance, the current structure and proportion of private and publicly owned media companies are correct; reflecting a fair and democratic press. In an economic sense, having more than one large public media broadcaster in the UK may be too much of a strain on the British taxpayer. Private companies, as mentioned, give a balance to the overall media landscape and this wealth of free press should be something which should be applauded.
To maintain the longevity of private companies however, more organisations should look at how the Guardian are structured; the Scott Trust enables revenue that can be reintegrated back into journalism and ensure the sustainability and growth of the press which others should adopt.
Law, Ethics & Regulation
The Leveson Inquiry’s investigation looking at the untoward activities of News International and how, in general, the press operate within the law, their ethics on how they write stories and how they obtain information cast a damning light over the British media, and was the ‘most concentrated look at the press (The UK) has ever seen.’ This, along with other case studies which have huge ramifications on these three issues, all contribute to this report’s findings on what implementations, if any, can be made and the fundamental problems which exist within the media industry.
Figure : Lord Leveson presenting his report on Press regulation.
Lord Justice Leveson’s speech, (That can be viewed from the following link: http://youtu.be/ozQVVYry-O8) detailing his aims, findings and verdict from the 1,987 page report, spoke of his need to instil standards of good journalism by analysing the relationship the press has with the public, the police and politics.
Compiling 337 witnesses giving evidence and 300 statements used as part of his report, it was the revelations about teenager Milly Dowler, who was tragically murdered in 2002, having her mobile phone hacked into and voice messages played by The News Of The World, led to a nation-wide public outburst of anger and fundamentally was the cornerstone in having to conduct this investigation into the practices of the press in this country.
Below is a summary of the timeline of events leading up to the Leveson Inquiry and the demise of The News of the World, which until 2011, had been in publication since 1843.
2000- Rebekah Brooks becomes editor of NOTW
2002- Milly Dowler case
2003- NOTW reveal Prince William injury through phone hacking means
2006- Royal Editor and Private Investigator arrested
2008- Phone hacking claim settled out of court (James Murdoch- Chief Executive of News Corporation)
2009- Brooks becomes CEO of News International
July 4th 2011- Allegations surface over Private Investigator hired by NOTW to intercept voicemails from murdered teenager Milly Dowler’s phone.
July 7th 2011- News Of The World closes
2012- Leveson Report published
From the report Lord Leveson published, how the press are currently regulated were examined and its main regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC.) Although in transition to be replaced by a new structure after recommendations made by Leveson, the PCC has been since its formation in 1991 as an ‘independent body which administers the system of self-regulation for the press.’ Set up to deal with complaints from the public over content of newspapers and magazines and the conduct of journalists.
Its structure consists of 17 members including a chairman who has no ties to either the magazine or newspaper sector. The remaining 7 commissioners are ‘serving editors’ of publications including Ian MacGregor (The Sunday Times), Lindsay Nicholson (Good Housekeeping) and Peter Wright (Associated Newspapers)
Leveson’s conclusion of the current regulatory system read in his report;
(His report is available in full on the Leveson Inquiry website: http://goo.gl/zgBZMc)
‘’...I have recommended legislation that underpins the independent self-organised regulatory system and facilitates its recognition in legal processes. This legislative proposal does no more than ensure an appropriate degree of independence and effectiveness on the part of the self-regulatory body if the incentives described are to be made use of.’’
In Layman’s terms, Lord Leveson supports a press law to be made in regard to government having a legal duty to preserve the freedom of the press.
This self-regulation the press has is in theory demographic and promotes a free press for those professionals to be a part of. Yet, after uncovering unethical means to collect stories and for it to go undetected for so long, a new structure of regulation has to be imposed so that the reputation of Britain’s press does not cascade into a downward spiral and protect against future journalists falling into bad habits of untoward conduct.
There is a fine line between a free press and censorship, but one of the things outlined in this report is the need for journalists or whole companies to be made accountable, and in extreme cases like the Milly Dowler incident, legally accountable, for severely violating their roles as media broadcasters. This can be done by, as is the case, reforming the PCC and making it exclusively independent of active editors in services to avoid conflict of interests. Secondly, an emphasis needs to be put on all editors to enforce the very highest standard of ethically responsibility down to every level of its employees so that transgressions and disregard for the press’ Code of Conduct do not get ignored, or worse still, encouraged.
The final point, relating to the press being accountable by law, is the suggestion to have a minister in the House of Commons whose sole duty is to oversee the press and be a intermediary figure between the industry and the Prime Minister, but for the public’s interests as well because their faith needs to be restored and this act would be seen as government not tolerating behaviour of old.
In no means does this report champion any interference or censorship from governmental figures or groups, relating to the content of publications, but there is a need to have deterrence and in certain cases uphold the law and condemn illegal behaviour.
Figure : Edward Snowden
Former US President Jimmy Carter revealed to Katie Grant in ‘The I’ newspaper back in March, ‘’I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored, and when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write a letter myself and mail it.’’
This comes after Edward Snowden, a former NSA operative, took it upon himself to leak highly classified information to The Guardian and The Washington Post revealing the agencies activities in monitoring the entire population via social media and other means.
Carter, who is an advocate of Snowden’s actions, even though admitting he violated American law, went on to say, ‘’...So I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial.’’
Edward Snowden’s case, and the fact both news organisations ran with the story, highlights numerous issues that run parallel
to what is being undertaken to outline a new framework for how the press is regulated, legality and ethical compliances.
Firstly, this report will build evidence together in order to gather whether or not the journalists who were contacted by Edward Snowden were right in publishing the information they received.
Modern communication devices or applications such as Facebook, mobile phones and computers gave the NSA the ability to draw vast amounts of data on those it deemed important; be it a target or known associates. However, individuals without proper reasoning or acknowledgement were having their personal information collected on the basis of the National Security Agency allowed to travel ‘’three hops’ from its target.’
The Guardian’s extensive interactive online guide entitled NSA Files: Decoded (Which is found on the following link: http://goo.gl/Xp7UYP) shows just how vast three degrees of separation on social media site Facebook is; equating to a network bigger than the population of Colorado. Meaning that the likelihood of millions of innocent members of the public being monitored, for no just reason, highly probably.
In defence of Edward Snowden’s actions, he brought into the public eye the activities of the NSA, delving into people’s social media accounts and possibly raising how ethically immoral their practices were; raising the issue of whether they are invading too much into people’s privacy. Snowden’s actions raised the point that the constitution provides people protection against unreasonable searches unless a warrant is issued, giving valid reason to the journalist’s decision to run with the story as it serves the public interest.
The opposing argument would be that the nature of what the NSA does requires secrecy and digression and could jeopardise operations around the world, (providing information to US and allied forces in Afghanistan, defending America against cyber attacks and monitoring Mexican drug cartels.) Its widespread acknowledgment of its existence could risk lives as former NSA general counsel member Stewart Baker stated that the proof of having the PRISM system in place is that the lack of it cost the lives of 3,000 people in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This view is also shared by British Prime Minister David Cameron, ‘’What Mr Snowden has in effect done and what some newspapers are assisting him in doing is going to make it a lot more difficult to keep our countries and our citizens safe.’’
The NSA assures people that the information it collects is only a tiny proportion of the world’s internet traffic, and what it does track has relevance to security and protecting its citizens.
After it was revealed in December of 2013 that members of The Guardian could face criminal charges in allowing the publication of Snowden’s information due to violating anti-terrorism law, (Full article on The Telegraph’s website can be found on the following link: http://goo.gl/Xp7UYP) this report needs to evaluate with the following findings what news can be reported on the grounds of being in the interest of the public, or whether a particular story needs to suppress.
This report suggests that individual cases with a cause for concern need to be discussed at length before publication with the editor of the newspaper and the legal department in order to know where they stand. In relation to the NSA story, the onus rested on Edward Snowden to leak that information to the press and it is a journalist’s fundamental responsibility to make sure they act with integrity; balancing their duty to report the truth with not endangering national or international security. Again, stories which have the potential to cause jeopardy could be brought to the newly reformed PCC where a decision could be reached in accordance with professional ethical standards of journalism.
The narrator of the documentary Miss Representation, that focuses on the portrayal of woman in the media and their effects, sadly omits she couldn’t imagine a girl growing up to be healthy with the state of the media in relation to woman and girls in this day and age.
Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, this film brings to the public’s attention the representation of women, how are still being negatively depicted through print, television and advertising. After enduring decades of unfair treatment, this report wants to change the perception of women and also to improve young girls well-being by targeting harmful images which impact on a generation used to seeing airbrushed images that many girls feel compelled to replicate.
Iconic female Hillary Clinton stated that from throughout the media right up to the most illustrious figures in our society, a derogatory viewpoint is taken over women; basing more on their looks than on their achievements or experience.
Furthermore, the media’s content shapes society and has a global outreach to millions of people. Messages of the ‘perfect’ body and how they should look is detrimental to young adults, with girls feeling insecure, disempowered and depressed. Barbara Greenberg, Ph. D, writing a correspondence on the ‘Psychology Today’ website wrote, ‘’As girls approach the early teen years they begin to understand from various sources including media and peers how much their appearance is judged and valued by others. When they were younger there was clearly less emphasis on their attractiveness, appearance, and sexuality. Now, in their teen years, there is pressure for them not only to do well socially and academically but also to meet societal standards of what is considered both sexy and attractive. Today’s media exacerbate matters by allowing front covers like Self’s September 2009 of singer Kelly Clarkson heavily Photoshopped with the headline ‘The Body Confidence issue’ this is both misleading and unethical which needs to be addressed to stop publications or advertising bodies from continuing this practice.
The evolution of the internet and the ease at which material like this can be viewed all point to why 53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their body and depression amongst girls have doubled from 2000 to 2010.
These findings inform the decision made by this report for the need for the representation of women in the press and media to change.
Figure : September 2009 issue of Self magazine
To avoid young girls hurting themselves, either emotionally or physically, the need for a fairer proportion of females in roles across the media industry to end the disproportionality seen not just in Britain, but in America too (47% of the women in the US are over 40, yet they are represented with just 26% on TV.)
Outside of the media sector, children need to be educated in understanding that looks are not the basis to judge girls, or boys, on. By educating our current generation of children, attitudes that are still relics from the 1930’s will be dismantled, paving the way for not just a fairer media industry, but also a greater society.
Finally, images airbrushed or fabricated, targeted at young girls will be policed and monitored. It goes without saying that freedom of the press would be protected at all costs, but not at the expense of young girl’s health or well-being. In cases of images being the cause for distress or harm to others, those responsible would be prosecuted and punished accordingly.
(As was the case with photojournalist Narciso Contreras, who lost his job after edited a photograph of a scene in Syria; the same principles would be applicable in relation to altering images designed for children and young adults. Not only does this kind of airbrushing voice concerns to the public over what they can perceive as untouched or edited without fully knowing, but as journalists, authenticity and accuracy are fundamental to the profession which should be driven through all areas of the media; be it text, video or image.)
Figure : The BBC Sport set. How easy is it to become a BBC Presenter?
David Parrish, Creative Industries Management Consultant, who helped inform this section of the report, spoke of the old saying ‘it’s not what you know’ and how relevant it is in terms of today’s Media Industry. To elaborate on this further, and to assess the current employment prospects and proposals of the practices this report supports within this proposed framework for the future of journalism within the UK.
Opportunities are affluent in the media sector, with roles ranging from presenters, press secretaries, camera crews and marketing. Media City in Salford was used to recognize thoroughly roles and avenues for young aspiring journalists to take whose intention is to work in one of the world’s largest media companies, the BBC.
The BBC recruitment team proceeded to convey in great detail the process to apply and descriptions of some of the numerous job roles.
Two path routes mentioned were Editorial and Production Management.
These people are physically responsible making the shows; they are creative and normally start at the bottom of the hierarchy. An average course to get to the top of this pyramid is to start as a runner, whose tasks involve anything from making cups of tea to helping out on locations or research, moving on then to become a research and finally progress to be a producer.
There are fewer roles within this route; typically those would start as a production assistant and then advance to being a production coordinator. Production Management criteria involves everything from budgeting, funding, copyrights and health & safety- a role ideal for individuals who are very organised.
But how do you first get to work for the BBC? Well, there are various methods to do so; work experience is a popular choice not just in this organisation, but in the media sector as a whole. Individuals do not get paid, but the experience they gain may help them break into the industry. There is also an Entry Level Scheme ran worldwide and across the UK in Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and London. Once someone is part of the scheme it doesn’t guarantee them a role but that group is normally the one recruiters choose from to fill vacancies. Finally, apprentice schemes run on the BBC recruitment Twitter page (https://twitter.com/BBCRecruitment) that has all the latest opportunities open to apply for.
Strong applications are vital to shine from the many candidates who apply for precious roles. In areas across Media City including Learning, Religion & Ethics, Breakfast News, Current Affairs, Entertainment North the main aspect is to show passion in the individuals chosen area and not to ignore the basics; especially in CV’s or covering letters- grammar, spelling etc.
And for those worrying about not having any experience in a professional setting, there are ways to get experience from other means. Writing for a website, blogging or even amateur radio shows potential employees individuals are serious about a career in the media industry and prove they would be worth roles within the sector.
Figure : The Newsround set Leanne Dougan, Senior Designer in the BBC Children’s department highlighted a particular area of the media sector which is growing. Thanks to the evolution of the digital age and mobile devices become popular with every passing year, the need for ‘Guerrilla testing’ for UX (User Experience) Designers as it is known in the industry is becoming more sort after. Tasked with going out into the world and getting a temperature check on whether people like a particular app or brand is vital for creators to have this kind of primary research to use as a foundation further down the production cycle.
Primary research can take many forms including labs with two way mirrors to monitor those testing products and home visits so the team can see how a child for example interacts and base content on how they use it, e.g. if a child is testing a game on a iPad and being called by their friends every ten minutes the creators may come to the conclusion not to make a game thirty minutes in length.
Other jobs growing within the media sector are mainly digitally based; web developers for example are in high demand as companies take to the internet to reach a bigger audience.
Jobs disappearing because of the rise of the digital age are print based. Evidence of this was seen with the closure of The Liverpool Post in 2013 which closed after 158 of publication. In just under a decade sales figures dropped from 20,000 copies a day to just 6,000 a day.
Trends in the press and media industry once again revolve around digital and printed press; one of which is flourishing and the other diminishing. In recent years, the popularity of social media has transformed the industry, allowing news and views to be consumed and written anywhere at any time with a constant audience to consume creators content.
David Parrish touched on the rise of self-employment and the ease to start up a business after overcoming the initial trepidation that he claimed to be unfounded.
Alex Ward, writer for The Freelance Journalist website wrote, ‘’The media industry has changed considerably over the last decade with staff cutbacks decimating newsrooms and the dawning of ‘citizen journalists’...With it a rise in the number (of) journalists turning to self-employment is setting a new trend.’’
Out of 60,000 journalists in the UK, 16,800 are self-employed. As Alex goes on to say, this increase in self-employment requires those to increase their skill sets and become comfortable in running a business and have proficiency in various programmes and tools relating to the format they are working on.
This trend has been noticed by universities and colleges in Britain, with the City University in London offering journalism students a course in ‘Entrepreneurial journalism’ which ‘teaches them the attributes and techniques to become entrepreneurs through their work to develop their own business as a self-employed media professional.’
Especially the way the media sector operates today, those wanting to pursue a career in journalism in particular must realise how practical the notion of having an office anywhere in the world can be; whether it is in the BBC Studios, one of the flourishing pioneering creative businesses as seen in The Baltic Triangle or even in someone’s own home.
This reports aim, from the evidence collated is to ensure there are plenty of employment opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and social groups. Below are the suggestions raised to give those in the UK the best chance to pursue a career in journalism:
Even though the traditional method of a University degree is still the conventional method to progress on to high-paid professions, the media industry is evolving. As Mr Parrish commented on previously in this report; to have core skills and experience is invaluable, but the way the world is connected through the internet, building connections in the media sector can be just as rewarding as a Masters degree. This is done by networking and making sure that, if in an apprenticeship for example, as many people remember the individual so they will be at the forefront of consideration if a role does arise.
Education should be complemented with practical experience within the sector as is common in North America. Scholarships and Apprenticeships balanced with building an young professionals skills will help maintain the growth of this sector and improve the quality of candidate businesses have to choose from.
Finally, this report encourages the need for potential employees and prospects to be as versatile in as many areas as possible because the media industry is very competitive. Schemes like ‘Code Club’ a volunteer-led after school coding club aged for children aimed 9 to 11 must be encouraged to develop necessary skills, benefiting the next generation of journalists who are adaptable in multiple areas and giving them an edge in the international sector and forging even more gifted British journalists in the future.