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Tag Archives: Leveson Inquiry

Leveson and the Internet

Photo by Julian Simmonds / Rex Features

Photo by Julian Simmonds / Rex Features

Last Thursday, my fellow journalism students and I gathered around our computers to watch Lord Justice Leveson announce the results of his inquiry into the press. OK, we were actually in a lecture and had been told that we had to watch the announcement, but we were still interested.

I’m waiting to see what actually comes out of the report before I pass judgement on the majority of it (as what Leveson wants and what Cameron is prepared to give seem to be two very different things). But, as George Berridge wrote for Wannabe Hacks, the section on the internet is shocking in its brevity.

The total length of the Leveson report: 1000 pages. The proportion of that devoted to the internet: one page. Given that recently the internet community in general has been as badly behaved as the press, this seems nonsensical.

Ethics in newsrooms often leave much to be desired, that much is true. But were the Twitter users who wrongly named Lord McAlpine recently acting any more ethically? And should they be allowed to continue in the same vein while the mainstream press is regulated?

As a blogger, perhaps I should be pleased that my domain is being left well alone. But as a journalist-in-training, I’m not happy. Giving the internet free rein while constricting press freedom will only contribute to the decline of the print media. I’m not convinced that most of Leveson’s proposals should be implemented, but if they are they should apply to all, not just the newspapers.


Journalism Practices (or how to do a module in a week)

Last week, I wrote about being thrown in at the deep end. The reason for this was Journalism Practices, a module which I’d finished after only four days at Kingston. Finished in terms of teaching anyway, I still have a case study to write and some on-line discussion to engage in before I can be properly assessed, but in terms of contact time, those four days were all we got.

It felt more like an induction week than a module too, consisting as they did of a series of taster sessions for the different modules which we will study for the rest of the year as well as giving us a brief introduction to the media industry and the problems which will face us when we come to enter it. We also spent a couple of hours each day preparing a presentation and seminar on a journalism-related topic, which we all delivered on Thursday. My group chose the Leveson Inquiry and its potential impact on regulation, and despite a minor technological hiccup (thank you YouTube, it’s not like we really wanted that video to load anyway) I think that it went well. The well-deserved class binding session in the pub afterwards certainly went well, somehow beer tastes better after a hard working week. And so the alcohol dependency begins…

One thing that did strike me about this module was how little reading I had to do for it. Having always measured my academic effort in the number of books and journalism articles which I managed to read, this was slightly disconcerting. This is a professional practices course though, and many of the assignments reflect that – though reading is definitely still required, as my unopened copy of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists would no doubt like to remind me.

If we did all of our modules like this, our lecturer told us, our course would last only seven weeks. Wouldn’t that be an interesting experiment, she asked. But given that Journalism Practices is specifically designed to fit within a week, as well as the fact that we’ve already been told that this course will move at the speed of light and take over our entire lives, I fear that it would be an experiment doomed to failure.