THE chief executive of Newsquest has called for government support of high-quality journalism, arguing that it should be put on a par with other creative arts.
Henry Faure Walker said that other economies including Denmark and Canada has invested multi millions to help regional journalism tackle Facebook and Google and their multibillion digital advertising budgets.
He has a point that high journalism is under attack from new entry disruptors. But the rot started decades before the internet with multiple news channels challenging the accepted norms that they could be trusted to always tell the truth.
When fact checking became retrospective in the race to break headlines that was when the erosion of trust between the audiences and news providers was broken. That was the start of a slippery of slope.
Audiences struggled to discern between truth and fiction, and many switched off. Who can blame them then for streaming news as it happens?
So, what is the point of journalism?
Of course, the primary aim is to report the facts, but increasingly in a world of instant gratification and constant updates some commentators revert to debate. Some very responsibly, a few less so. On the one hand, there are those who put forward reasoned arguments for the issues of the day. And those who appeal to the mob and are borderline incited hatred.
The Guardian had changed its own model and provides free digital content rich in news and commentary. A t the other end of the scale regional news groups are turning to paywall to make ends meet.
Already the BBC has partnered with regional print media to support high quality journalism and Mr Walker would like to see this model being developing.
When I started in journalism 30 plus years ago a good story had the facts plus witness testimonials. Maybe if we reverted to that model, and gave ordinary people the chance to debate without being name called, audiences might switch back to newspaper and desert the disrupters.