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20 February 2020

Lords’ Communications Committee Launches Inquiry into the Future of Journalism

The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee, has launched an Inquiry into the future of journalism in the UK.

Launched one year after the publication of the Cairncross Review on the sustainability of UK journalism, the inquiry aims to investigate changes in the production and consumption of news, and the ways in which journalists’ adaptation efforts may be supported.

The NMA was concerned to note that part of the Inquiry announcement called into question trust in regional and local media outside of London. In its response to the Inquiry, the NMA will strongly dispute this claim, and highlight that recent YouGov surveys have shown that local media in print and digital is the most trusted source for local news.

The Inquiry announcement stated: “As Dame Frances Cairncross noted in her 2019 report, news organisations themselves face significant financial challenges. Dame Frances focussed on local and regional journalism, which has historically played a key role in local communities and in the training of journalists. However, these pressures have affected national and international providers too. As print circulations and print advertising revenue have declined, publications have had to seek alternative revenue streams. Some have focused on digital subscriptions, which increasingly include a range of content such as videos, podcasts, emails and events. Others rely more on the online advertising market, in which Dame Frances argued that online platforms have disproportionate power over publishers.”

Lord Gilbert of Panteg, chair of the Communications and Digital Committee said: “In our democracy journalism is at the core, but in recent years we have seen a shift from the traditional consumption of news and away from established business models.

“Within moments, we now have access to news on multiple platforms and no longer need to wait for the morning paper or the evening news for updates.

“Social media has allowed new organisations to disrupt the news market and also gives individuals a greater freedom to publish news and analysis themselves, challenging established providers.”

Written contributions should be submitted by Wednesday 25 March 2020.