What’s Happening to the News (in Britain)?

News in Britian is increasingly being produced by “digitally mechanized factories” devoted more to continuously processing content than to generating original news, according to “What’s Happening to Our News”, a study published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The result is a news agenda driven by pre-packaged PR products and “the ephemeral trails of the global clickstream.” To preserve the economic viability and civic purpose of news and journalism, the report calls on Britons to consider introducing reforms such as tax incentives to encourage private companies to support journalism and aid the creation of philanthropic news-funding models. Although self-regulation of the news industry is perferable to government regulation, the report states, society needs government to play an active role in safeguarding journalism. The report should be of interest to the Canadian journalism community. Although discussions about journalism in Canada often reflect American ideas and events, our system of government and our mixed economy have more in common with Britain.