Journalists and academics debate Hackgate and media reform

Glenda Cooper debates the "journalism crisis" pic: Raziye Akkoc

The east London campus of Coventry University hosted a debate about “crisis in journalism” on Tuesday to celebrate the publication of the first book about the phone-hacking scandal.

The debate included discussion about the responsible use of social media as well as the “lazy” nature of phone hacking.

The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial? edited by John Mair and Richard Keeble, brings together contributions from journalists and academics on the scandal engulfing the mainstream press.

Ex-Daily Star journalist, Richard Peppiatt, journalist and author Glenda Cooper, and Radio 4 Today programme editor, Kevin Marsh were on the debate panel. The discussion was chaired by Raymond Snoddy, former deputy editor of News of the World. Bob Satchwell, from the Society of Editors, was also on the panel.

Peppiatt spoke of his experience at the Daily Star, explaining how he had once chased Jade Goody’s husband Jack Tweed, as well as The Only Way Is Essex “reality star”, Mark Wright, around Essex, and questioned himself: “Is this journalism?”

He added: “I left the Star because of the islamaphobic agenda. I don’t even think what I was doing was journalism, I wasn’t informing [anyone].”

Satchwell raised the issue of journalists’ past wrongful actions, stating journalists had behaved far more outrageously in the past than today: “No one gave a damn about privacy. The Human Rights Act didn’t exist.”

The event was attended by over 60 interested students, broadcasters, journalists and members of the public.

Speaking after the event about the new book, Raymond Snoddy told EastLondonLines: “I don’t know whether Lord Justice Leveson himself will read it but certainly the assessors will and he will be very aware of the arguments within it. It’s like a policy book that could actually influence outcomes, which is great.”

The collection of writings includes contributions from Goldsmiths, University of London lecturer, Tim Crook, Brian Cathcart, Professor of Journalism at Kingston University, as well as Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian and Observer.

The book is the sixth in a series of contemporary journalistic texts coming out of the Coventry Conversations Conferences which are held together with the BBC College of Journalism and the University of Lincoln’s School of Journalism.

A podcast of a chapter from The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial? can be heard here:

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