The fallout from phone hacking continues to dominate UK journalism. The Leveson Inquiry and the parliamentary select committee for Culture, Media and Sport have kept the moral failings of journalists in the public eye. Most journalists now agree that journalism needs to be reformed.
But the absence of morality among some journalists is less damaging than the lack of definition across journalism as a whole. Having conceded that ‘there’s always someone out there who knows more than us’, we are losing the will to define what we see; and we tend to write our stories in the same way – without a definite shape. In form as well as content, our stories are becoming indefinite. As a result, journalism is close to losing its distinctive character. In this context, the reformation we really need is a re-formation of the story.
The Reformation of Journalism is Proof’s theme for 2012. But re-forming the story must take precedence over re-setting the moral compass. Story, first; morality, second – unless we follow this order of priorities, journalism will be unable to regain its sense of direction.
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