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News from City, University of London

Superinjunctions, Libel and Paywalls

City hosts high profile lecture and debate to tackle the hot topics facing journalism in a digital world.
by Hollie Jenkins

The Department of Journalism at City has hosted two timely events. The first, Beyond the Paywall: how are we going to pay for quality journalism in a digital world?, saw a panel of distinguished speakers tackle the issue of whether and how the public should pay for online news. The second, Libel: the long slow road to reform, was the annual Anthony Sampson lecture delivered by The Guardian's Editor Alan Rusbridger to examine the snail's pace of change in defamation laws.

The Beyond the Paywall event sparked a heated debate between panellists including Dan Sabbagh, Media Editor at The Guardian; Dominic Young, Former MD digital at News Corporation; Dominic Ponsford, Editor of Press Gazette; Geordie Greig, Editor of London Evening Standard; Stevie Spring, Chief Executive of Future Publishing; and Katie Vanneck-Smith, Head of Marketing at News International.

One year on from The Times and The Sunday Times websites going behind a paywall, the speakers discussed whether and how this new business model has affected journalism. The lecture took place on Monday 9 May and there is a video of the discussion online here.

The following evening, in his lecture on Libel: the long slow road to reform, Alan Rusbridger unpacked the long history of libel and presented his 'heartfelt desire' that the laws affecting the media should change as well as addressing the recent phone-hacking revelations, Wikileaks documents and rise of superinjunctions.
He told the audience:

"We are learning about an attitude to privacy that was evidently quite widespread among journalists: that, when push comes to shove, there's no such thing. If you're rich, famous, powerful - or even just newsworthy - then you forego the expectation that any aspect of your life should be shielded from the public gaze.

"But - thankfully - that is not the official position of newspapers and the overwhelming majority of journalists, who are doubtless rather repulsed by what they are learning about how some of their colleagues were behaving during the past 10 or so years. Our official, collective position as an industry is quite different."

Both events build on the Department of Journalism's reputation for topical and high-profile events. For more information about the Department and upcoming events, follow this link.

The Department of Journalism is also hosting a one day conference about Sustaining Local Journalism: new ways of funding local reporting on Friday 13 May.

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