Journalists consider civic role: privately

The RSA is launching an RSA Journalism Network, with this introduction from Stephen Coleman, Professor of Political Communication and Co-Director of the Centre for Digital Citizenship:

The public’s declining trust in the news media is a worrying trend. The RSA and the Reuters Institute of Journalism are looking at how we can support the civic function of news. We’re particularly interested in how professional journalists and Fellows relate to the public’s ideas about news and what it is for.

Discussion is starting over on the RSA networks site, but as you’ll find when you click this link it is behind a login. At present registration is open to anyone, but within a few weeks the Networks site will be limited to RSA members (known as Fellows) and specifically invited guests.

The idea of the journalism network is, according to an RSA staff member in response to my query: “to get our professional journalist Fellows involved and talking about their own ideas about the future of news … and to construct a bit of a safe space for that to happen”. Those currently accessing the site are urged to help by “accepting those parameters”.

I personally believe journalists should be prepared to talk about their work in public, as I’ve written at greater length over here. That seems to me particularly the case when the issue is the civic function of news. I think I’ll leave them to it. I am an RSA Fellow, but feeling less and less comfortable about that as a result of this sort of walled garden thinking. It’s not where a social reporter should be.

Photo credit: Sylvar – Quis custodiet custodes ipsos?

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