A lively debate is expected at the London College of Communication on Wednesday when journalists look at the issues raised by Nick Davies’ book investigating Fleet Street – Flat Earth News.
The book has already prompted a backlash from journalists at the Observer and Sunday Times – which are both singled out for criticism, and from the Press Association, which has reacted strongly to Davies’ argument that it does not “tell the truth”.
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The debate is titled: “is a culture of churnalism destroying real journalism in the UK” and it will also look at the role of PR. Davies argues that dwindling numbers of journalists and increasing numbers of PRs have led to more PR copy ending up in print.
As well as former British Press Awards reporter of the year Davies, other speakers include:
Former Guardian editor, Peter Preston, who said of Flat Earth News: “It is a dream and a confection, full of self deception.”
Evening Standard reporter Andrew Gilligan – the reporter at the centre of the “dodgy dossier” affair – who has exposed widespread allegations of financial scandal involving the office of the London mayor.
Sally Costerton, CEO of Hill and Knowlton, one of the PR firms criticised by Davies in his book. She will argue that she would actually like to see more journalists, rather than less, and will take issue with Davies’ claim that PRs distort the news – arguing that the internet makes it easier than ever for journalists to check the facts they see in press releases.
East London Advertiser editor Malcolm Starbrook: who will argue that now, more than ever, local newspaper journalists can’t get away with simply churning out press releases.
Michell Stanistreet – President of the NUJ and a journalist with the Daily Express.
The other speakers on the panel are: Dominic Ponsford, editor of Press Gazette and Francis Ingham, director general of the Public Relations Consultants Association.
The chairman is Paul Charman – head of journalism at the London College of Communications, in Elephant and Castle.
The debate starts at 7pm on Wednesday, 5 March, with refreshments both before and after.
Tickets are free – but limited.
To obtain a ticket email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, job title and organisation. Or call 0207 324 2396.
There will be free drinks and refreshments both before and afterwards – and ample opportunity to ask questions and debate the issues on the floor.