Research log – the future of journalism

Structure and ownership of the media

Privately owned media:

The Guardian is a privately owned news organisation which is called the Scott trust. The Trust enables the company to keep the values that CP Scott set to the news organisation. Having the organisation funded through a Trust fund means it is a non profit organisation so once funds have been paid all profits go back into the trust to further the future of the organisation.

The video explains how the trust was started. In summary. The Scott Trust was established due to the death of CP Scott. After his death the ownership of The Guardian and all its wealth was inherited by the Scott family. The family had to make a decision to either pay debts which would mean they wouldn’t have enough money to continue The Guardian or they could form a trust fund which would cancel out the debts and continue the production of The Guardian. The family chose to form and trust fund with all their inheritance to continue The Guardians legacy.

The benefits of having a privately owned media organisation are: Explains some benefits of having a privately owned media. (see page 5 and 6)

The drawbacks to privately owned media are:

As the companies are privately owned there is an idea that profits are their main goal when producing media. because of this the media can be biased as the owners will have an invested interest which could be either liberal or conservative. Another way it could be biased is by producing media that will guarantee them the largest profit. This could be supporting a certain incident which has popular demand and supporting the side which has the most public interest. This source explains the differences between privately and publicly owned media.


Who is Edward Snowden?

Edward Snowden is an American computer specialist, a former Central Intelligence Agency employee, and former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed to several media outlets a large number of top secret NSA documents.

Do you think Edward Snowden was right to leak the documents that he did?

Yes, I think people have the right to know that they are being spied on. That doesn’t mean the spying has to stop, but having the public aware of the operation is needed to have order and cooperation with people. I agree that now the world is aware of the ongoing spying that possible threats could therefore develop ways to counteract the NSA and CIA. They should now approach that situation by developing a system that can bypass avoidance from threats. Edward Snowden was demonstrating democracy by exposing the truth about the NSA. He had freedom of speech living in a democratic state and he expressed that right by informing a journalist about what is going on. It was then the decision of the journalist of what to do with the information.

What is the argument in defense of Snowden?

Edward Snowden thought that some of the things he saw the NSA doing were abusive but he realised that they were quite normal activities for the NSA to be doing. He said “The more you talk about it, the more you are ignored and told it isn’t a problem”. He later said “Eventually you realise these things need to be determined by the public, not these people hired by the government”. Edward believes that the public need to be aware of the operations of the NSA. Edward says “I think that the public is owed an explanation of the motivations behind the people who make these disclosures outside the democratic model”. (evidence was gathered from this video: )

What is his opposing argument?

Any government employee or contractor is warned repeatedly that the unauthorised disclosure of classified information is a crime. The question, of course, is whether the government can function when all of its employees (and contractors) can take it upon themselves to sabotage the programs they don’t like. That’s what Snowden has done.

Can we have freedom and privacy in today’s interconnected world?

Its a paradox. In order to have general freedom the number of threats need to be minimised or completely wiped out to maintain freedom. But in order to do this, public security is going to have to source information to locate potential threats to public safety. Although that cant be done while the public has 100% privacy it is a process that has to be done to proceed towards freedom. President Obama said “we don’t have to sacrifice our freedom in order to achieve security.  That’s a false choice.”

What would you do if you were the journalist Snowden contacted and why?

If I was the journalist Edward Snowden contacted and exposed the NSA to I would attempt to get the story into the public domain and mainstream media. The reason being, people need to know this. How can governments preach freedom and democracy while keeping secrets from the public? It also raised awareness to other activities that might be secretly controlled by the government. It seems to be that what the government tells you they’re doing, its really a lot worse.

The Leveson inquiry:

A timeline of the phone hacking scandal from 2003 to 2012.

Key events on the timeline are:

In 2003 Andy Coulson becomes editor at the News of the World. He admits to paying police for information.

In 2005 origins of phone hacking arises. In November, the newspaper’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, writes a story about Prince William suffering a knee injury. Buckingham Palace suspects the prince’s voicemail was hacked to get the story.

July 2011. Prime Minister David Cameron cuts short a visit to South Africa so he can make a Commons statement on the phone-hacking affair. He says with hindsight he would not have appointed Andy Coulson as his communications chief.

August 2011, Stuart Kuttner, 71, who served as the NoW’s managing editor for 22 years before resigning in July 2009 to focus on specialised projects, is arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and corruption.

September 2011, News International says it is close to agreeing a £2m settlement with the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, whose phone was hacked. It is reported that Rupert Murdoch also wishes to make a personal donation of £1m to charity.

November 2011. The actor tells the Leveson Inquiry he could not think of any way the Mail on Sunday could have got a 2007 story about his conversations with a “plummy-voiced” woman other than by hacking his phone. The paper denies his claim. Meanwhile, Sally Dowler, mother of murdered schoolgirl Milly, tells the inquiry she did not sleep for three days after discovering her daughter’s phone had been hacked.

December 2011, News International asks the Guardian to correct articles alleging the News of the World deleted Milly Dowler’s voicemails, after the Met Police tell the Leveson Inquiry the messages were “most likely” deleted automatically. The original allegation was a turning point in the hacking affair.

February 7th 2012. The Met police admit they failed to warn people in 2006 and 2007 that they were a victim of phone hacking.

February 24th 2012. New of the World journalists asked private investigator Glenn Mulcaire  to hack phones 2,226 times over 5 years.

May 2012. The first charges from the multiple investigations linked to phone hacking are announced. Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband, Charlie Brooks, are charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Overview of the Leveson inquiry: 

The Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press was approached in four Modules. These are:

Module 1: The relationship between the press and the public and looks at phone-hacking and other potentially illegal behaviour.

Module 2: The relationships between the press and police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest.

Module 3: The relationship between press and politicians.

Module 4: Recommendations for a more effective policy and regulation that supports the integrity and freedom of the press while encouraging the highest ethical standards.

five key witnesses and links to a piece of evidence from each witness:

Hugh Grant: Witness statement.

West Midlands Police: Corporate communications Strategy.

Sally Dowler: Witness statement.

Gerry McCann: Witness statement.

Steve Coogan: Witness statement.

The victims of the phone hacking scandal are the people who had there phone hacked without any knowledge of it happening. And having it kept private from them by the media and the police. Even when in some cases such as the Milly Dowler case the victims were not informed that their missing daughters phone was not being hacked, instead they believed she was using it, therefore installing false hope causing a lot of distress.

The victims could also be the writers who were just writing the story their editor told them to write without full knowledge that the evidence they were using was unlawfully gathered.

Misrepresentation of women in he media:

Misrepresentation is a documentary that discusses the idea that women are largely seen as the underdogs in our contemporary mainstream media. In the documentary a number of issues are addressed such as: Women having surgery to fit into the programs set standard, not having female protagonists in films, a lack of female icons and a lack of women in government positions.

This link explores some statistics behind women in the media and how they are seen:

An example of women in the media having to conform to this set standard is when BBC Countryfile presenter was fired from her job for being to old and replacement with a younger presenter. Miriam O’Reily took the case to court on ageism and won the case. This link explains the ageism case.

The media creates this ideal image of people that are often very unrealistic. As a result of this there are cases of suicide and self harm due to people being disappointed when they felt they didn’t fit this image and may never do. Body image summarised. Discusses issues in young people with suicides and depression due to the body image the media displays.

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