The programme covered issues that ranged from high-quality journalism and partisanship, to the relationship of publishers with digital platforms, and the latest innovations and creative business models in the independent news sector.
The list of speakers included a variety of media experts, including journalists, editors, academics with vast experience in the news sector.
Jonathan Heawood, CEO of IMPRESS, was in charge of introducing the event:
“ We have listened to our members and today’s programme is designed to address the most pressing questions for them. How can you produce journalism that is both engaged and authoritative? How can we rebuild the relationship between independent publishers and social media platforms? And what are the editorial and commercial innovations that are driving the independent sector?”
Alan Rusbridger gave a key note in which he reflected on the state of journalism today, and the changes prompted by digital, particularly in relation to his 20 years as Editor of the Guardian. In reference to the Guardian’s business model he said:
"Readers expect the public interest to be served by journalism. [At the Guardian] the task was to build an economic model to support it”. Asked about diversity in the newsroom, Rusbridger asserted that more diverse newsrooms “will be better news organizations; they will produce better journalism”.
Gavin Esler, author, journalist and former BBC correspondent, pointed out that the challenge was that:
“You cannot balance someone who lies with someone telling the truth”. In relation to trust, he added: “[In today’s landscape], if you can be a trusted guide through this deluge of misinformation, that is gold. We’ve lost trust in hierarchies…the totalitarian mindset is when people can’t distinguish between truth and falsehood”.