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Alastair Campbell: Journalism and democracy: grounds for optimism in the face of the future?

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This is the second of two public lectures given by Alastair Campbell, writer, campaigner and former communications director to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Humanitas Visiting Professor of Media 2013 at CRASSH .

In these lectures and in a subsequent symposium on 20 November, Campbell will expand on and qualify his statement to the Leveson Inquiry two years ago: ‘…though I admire many journalists and much journalism… I also believe that there are serious and endemic shortcomings in the culture, practices and ethics of the British media’.

But he will also defend the role of journalism as a central pillar of democracy, and explain why despite those shortcomings he is optimistic that politics and media can adapt to the changes sweeping through both.

In this second lecture, ‘Journalism and democracy: grounds for optimism in the face of the future?”, Campbell will address the challenges facing journalists, and the potential for positive changes in how journalism is conducted and regulated. He will attack what he calls the ‘Big Lies’ told by the press to fight the planned Royal Charter, urge politicians to hold firm, and insist the public want and will benefit from regulatory and cultural change in the UK media – as will journalism.

He will also give his views on social media, Wikileaks and the Edward Snowden revelations, and emphasise that technological and political trends are pointing towards rather than away from more openness and transparency. And he will argue that for politicians, the response to a more chaotic and noisy media landscape should be to be more strategic and less tactical, not the other way round.

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This talk is part of the CRASSH Humanitas Lectures series.

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