It’s the day that Ofcom announce their options for public service broadcasting and the eve of the Oxford Media Convention when the media people will get together to talk about it. But what about the actual content?
Polis has a new report out on international coverage in public service broadcasting and I will be talking about it in Oxford tomorrow. Here’s a piece from today’s Independent where I set out the core argument:
“In the next four years the future of journalism will be decided in this country. With new technology we have a fantastic opportunity to create a richer, more useful and open news media that brings the world to the people of Britain. The danger is that commercial collapse combined with policy complacency could rob us of that exciting prospect.
As a journalist I accept that my trade must be transformed. That goes for public service broadcasting as well as newspapers and Online. But this is a much more important debate than simply structures and funding. TV is the dominant way for the public to find out about the world and yet no-one seems very bothered about what it will show.
Media people, policy makers and citizens must choose the kind of content that post-analogue broadcasting will provide. Those of us who care about the international dimension of TV have to make the case anew for global coverage of the modern world.
New technology means it is easier than ever to see and hear what is happening anywhere on our planet at any time as it happens. The increasingly interconnected nature of our lives means that British citizens are more interested in the rest of the world than ever before. Migration, climate change, credit crunches, tourism, terrorism, sport and culture have all gone global.
We have all taken it for granted in the past that telling British people about the world is a Good Thing. But we never bothered to tell them why, or to work out strategies that would make sure we delivered compelling and comprehensive information and insight into the rest of our world. Now we are drifting towards a new public service broadcasting settlement in the digital age that does not ensure that there is enough international coverage.
Our new report on the subject reveals a lack of imagination and rigour on the part of media and policy- makers in meeting this need in the future. It also offers some concrete ways we can make it happen.
As a journalist I am hugely hopeful that new media forms of journalism can deliver a better broadcast future. But in the face of economic crisis and policy drift, the danger is that we will let this opportunity slide. “