Journalists urgently need to stop undermining public institutions.
Instead, they need to work out a way to explain their purpose in the modern world.
That was the message from Today editor Kevin Marsh.
“Journalism is in crisis -a crisis of paradox,” he said.
“The free press is, at best, failing to support public institutions. At worst it is even possibly undermining them.”
The paradox is that the press is itself a public institution and among the least trusted of them.
“Journalism is chained to the health of public institutions.
“Journalists should ask themselves what they are for.
“I don’t believe journalism is entirely to blame, but some sections have connived too readily at its own debasement.”
The solution was to improve in four areas: toughness of purpose; belief that finding the truth is in itself a public good; responsibility; and accountability.
“There must be the realisation that journalism is something you don’t just do and walk away from,” Marsh told the conference.
Reports by Dominic Ponsford and Ian Reeves