The Trust in Journalism Conference 2018 started off with a key note by one of the most experienced editors in the UK: Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian for 20 years, Alan Rusbridger.
Alan Rusbridger, who stepped down from the Guardian in 2015 and currently chairs the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, recently published his book Breaking News: The remaking of journalism and why it matters now.
Speaking to the audience at the IMPRESS inaugural Trust in Journalism Conference, he reflected on how the technological changes of the past years led to "a world that now operates in a horizontal plane", and how in this new context, journalists "are really struggling to get into that horizontal conversation".
Speaking about the decline in trust on the British press, he cited the coverage of Brexit and climate change as key examples that led to it. In this context, the role of journalism appears to be questioned:
"There are [many] things that fall under the rubric of 'journalism' – We can't agree what journalism really is; we can't agree whether it should be objective or impartial, or subjective. Or whether it should be campaigning, or just stick to the facts. Or whether it's about entertainment, or about commentary or advocacy. There are many things that we call journalism".
He then spoke about how "the public interest that we think we are serving" appears to get lost in this. "If we try to say journalism deserves to survive and we need to command your respect, then we surely need to convince people that there is a public interest that we are serving and we are not just about making money". He also added that the issue with 'the public interest' is that it's not easy to agree on what it really is in the UK.