Pilger slams factory-line journalists at Lincoln launch

One of the remaining two broadsheet evening papers in the UK, The Belfast Telegraph, may experiment with a tabloid early edition or overnight edition and has plans for a colour magazine in 2005.

There are also to be improvements to existing daily and weekend editions in a seven-figure investment by owners Independent News &Media.

Trust does not sell newspapers, John Grubb, editor of the Scunthorpe Telegraph, told journalism students at the University of Lincoln last week.

“Shock, horror, death and disaster sells newspapers. That’s the reality we live in,” he said. “We need to sell newspapers.

With local newspaper home deliveries in decline, we are relying increasingly on casual sales which means every single day we have to capture the interest of our readers. But that does not allow for inaccuracies.

We still try to report sensitively and responsibly.”

What people said about newspapers differed radically from their purchasing habits. “For instance, many people complained about the coverage of Princess Diana in the national press. But they still bought it in their thousands and thousands.”

He was speaking during a panel discussion on “Trust me-I’m a journalist”, one of a series of events celebrating the launch of the university’s School of Journalism.

John Pilger, the investigative reporter, told a packed meeting on “Why bother with journalism?” that the launch of the school represented “one of the most important recent developments in journalism education.

Too often courses are like factories churning out conformist journalists for the industry. They tend to promote a ‘top-down’ kind of journalism which prioritises elite sources. Too rarely do they promote journalism that prioritises the views of ‘ordinary’ people. From my experience these are the people I can trust the most.”

Professor John Tulloch, head of the school, said: “Although there are frequent attacks in the press about the proliferation of media courses, recent studies by Skillset and other industry bodies indicate that the number of jobs in UK journalism will grow strongly over the next 10 years. The university is investing heavily to enhance this work.”

Dorothy Byrne, head of Channel 4 New s and current affairs, and John Bird, founder of The Big Issue , were made Visiting Professors.

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