British Journalism Review editor Bill Hagerty has called for the setting up of an industry-wide committee to come up with a plan to reverse the public’s contemptuous view of national newspapers.
Speaking at the launch of his new book, Read All About It!: 100 Sensational Years of the Daily Mirror, Hagerty – who is also a Press Gazette columnist – told guests at Politico’s bookshop in Victoria, London, that regard for Britain’s press had never been lower and that the industry should take drastic steps to counteract public scorn and derision.
“I spoke at a symposium in Paris and was asked why the British press had sacrificed truth for profits,” he said. “This typified the public’s view of our national papers – the tabloids attract most criticism but the entire press is distrusted – and confirmed my long-held belief that it is up to the papers themselves to put together a radical programme to remedy the situation.
“There are others, such as politicians and academics, itching to get their hands on the press and impose inhibiting rules and, possibly, legislation. The industry has to retaliate first by putting rivalries aside and banding together to come up with a solution to a situation that will permanently damage the industry if something isn’t done – and done soon.”