The Power of Journalists

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Journalism has the vital function to defend and promote truth in public discourse. And yet, at a time when seeking and finding the truth is at a premium, journalism has never been under so much pressure to move away from this critical role into more partial campaigns or commercial public relations exercises. In The Power of Journalists four of the UK's foremost journalists - Nick Robinson, Barbara Speed, Charlie Beckett and Gary Gibbon - introduce us to the role of the journalist as truth-teller and protector of impartiality as well as interpreter of controversial facts and trusted source of public opinion. The authors draw from their own fieldwork - including coverage of the Scottish independence referendum and the Brexit campaigns - to reflect on the necessity of maintaining an impartial and independent public information service and protecting quality information from the mounting pressure exerted by political parties and the business world. The role of new technology is also taken into consideration. While the explosion of social media has generated trends that threaten good quality journalism and contribute to the collapse of its traditional business model, the information silos caused by algorithms are simultaneously threatening democratic understanding and undermining the adequacy and effectiveness of journalism. The Power of Journalists is a mindful, rigorous and discerning examination of the role of journalism today and the reasons why journalists are conventionally regarded as powerful and tied to the establishment, yet often feel anything but.

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