Next weekend [17-18 October] I’m speaking at a conference in Luton with the dread-inducing title, The end of journalism? The question mark is probably the most encouraging symbol here. It signifies that it might no be the end.
The conference has been organised by journalism and media studies academics at the University of Bedfordshire and I was lucky enough to score a late invitation thanks to my new City University colleague, James. The conference organisers have outlined the purpose of the international gathering against the background of the commercial and confidence crisis now besetting the news industry globally.
The last few years have witnessed a fresh wave of claims for the potential of internet-based technologies to widen participation in the public sphere. This period has also witnessed a steady stream of jeremiads about the impact of user-generated content on professional journalism. This wide-reaching cultural debate takes places against the backdrop of the ongoing restructuring of the global news industries. In some quarters these changes are regarded with deep suspicion whilst others see a bright future for the media. Central to arguments presented by both sides in this debate is the value of ‘journalistic’ function to wider society. [Conference blurb and agenda]
The conference title prompted me to do a Google search and there’s a couple of blog sites that also adopt the End of Journalism title, but without the comfort of the question mark.