Is a lack of investment in local media damaging society?

On 22nd June, the Press Gazette ran an article about claims by a former Kensington reporter that Grenfell Tower fire-safety concerns would have been picked up by local media in the pre-internet era.

Suggesting that local journalists would never previously have missed a blog posted by residents about the safety of the tower block – or a chance to question councillors – as they were constantly out and about in the community, the assertion was that a decline in investment into local media has negatively impacted the communities it is there to serve.

Next Wednesday 22 November, the CIPR is hosting an event to look at this very issue.

I’ll be chairing a panel of respected media experts including Grant Feller, today a story consultant for brands and CEOs, who made that claim and used to work the Kensington News and Chelsea News back when it had a full team able to carry out “patient, revelatory journalism.”

Joining us will be founding director of the LSE’s journalism think-tank, Polis and of the LSE’s Media Policy Project Professor Charlie Beckett, who will explore whether cultural and editorial problems are compounding the issues caused by a depletion in resources.

Self-titled education writer, researcher and policy nerd Laura McIrnerny wrote a thought provoking article titled Journalists don’t need to self-flagellate about Corbyn, but they should about Grenfell, concluding: “Journalists didn’t really miss the election story; they missed a massive, brewing tragedy.” She’ll also be on hand to share her views.

Completing the stellar line up is Matt Rodda MP, who represents Labour for Reading East and will give his views on the role of local journalism today.

We’ll be talking about trust within the mainstream media, general dissatisfaction with how news is reported and whether there is merit in the claim that the Grenfell Tower disaster might not have happened had there been greater investment into local media.

We’ll also be asking about the future of regional media, if news is too expensive today to be free and whether greater media consolidation will be the next step.

It’s a must attend for anyone interested in the future of the media and the implications for PR practitioners.  You can get your tickets here. Hope to see you there.

Image courtesy of twitter user @Natalie_Oxford

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