From a New Statesman piece by David Banksy. He makes some interesting and well informed points about old and new journalism, which I largely agree with – except the suggestion comments are really a “souped up letters page”. But more on that later.
Although previous trials have been liveblogged and tweeted, this one seems to have attracted a degree more coverage in that way from the media, perhaps because the media, or a part of it, is in the dock.
The break with traditional reporting was completed this week by the presence of Peter Jukes, an independent journalist and author of Fall of the House of Murdoch, who along with other reporters, livetweeted the first week of the trial.
What was different about Jukes was that as a result of the response to his reporting, he was able to crowdsource sufficient funds to allow him to carry on until Christmas.
Hail the new journalism then, cut free of proprietors; funded by individuals and communicating with its audience via Twitter, blogs and independent web publications.
New journalism though? Not really.
In fact, if you look back at the roots of Fleet Street, it is resolutely the sort of journalism that gave rise to our newspaper industry. Finance, distribution and mode of consumption might differ, but fundamentally it is the same.
And this trial illustrates that perfectly.
Fleet Street is where it is, not because of the whim of a newspaper proprietor – the Courant was the first to set up there – but because of geography. Positioned between Westminster and the City and on the doorstep of the courts it was perfectly placed to report politics, commerce and crime to its waiting readers.
The first court reporters were trainee lawyers, supplementing their income hawking tales from trials to a public as eager for scandal then as they are today.
The papers fed their readers the stories they wanted to read and so was born an appetite for news, even among illiterate working classes who would have the papers read to them. Papers were partisan then, as they are now, chasing a partisan readership, or creating it, depending whether you believe papers form opinion or reflect it.
So today the ‘new’ journalism does exactly the same as its print forebears.