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Regulating for Trust in Journalism: Standards Regulation in the era of blended media

2011 has been awash with investigations, consultations, scandals, and inquiries into issues of journalistic standards and wider media regulation in the UK. This book argues that underlying them is a deepening conflict between converging media content on the one hand, and static standards regulation on the other.

Broadcast, newspaper, video on demand and other online content are increasingly indistinguishable. Yet their regulation is disconnected, at times contradictory, and increasingly lacks the coherence and consistency on which public trust depends. 

Accessed via a PC, smart phone or tablet device, and with the advent of internet-connected televisions, regulated and unregulated journalism, licensed and unlicensed services, are becoming impossible to differentiate. Yet some content is subject to comprehensive, statutory regulation, some to voluntary self-regulated rules, some to no regulatory authority at all.

In this book Lara Fielden reviews standards regulation across media platforms. She illustrates regulatory inconsistencies through a range of case studies, finds evidence of consumer confusion and provides examples of international responses to the challenge of convergence. 

She argues that incoherence in journalistic standards risks undermining public trust across media platforms, and damaging public confidence in sources of information and analysis on which citizens depend in order to make informed, democratic choices. 

She draws on her experience in both journalism and regulation to argue for a new regulatory settlement across the media. The settlement she proposes incentivises transparently signalled standards as a selling point for both existing and emerging media providers, and places informed, enabled citizens at its heart.

"Lara Fielden’s impressive sweep of UK media regulation makes the case for an entirely new system better suited to the digital age. Read her book both to understand the true complexity of our existing regulatory system and to see her smart model for reform" – Martin Moore, Director, Media Standards Trust.

"This is a remarkably comprehensive and wide ranging work and could not be more timely. I would genuinely recommend that anyone engaged with the very serious debate on press and media regulation gives it a good look" – Steve Hewlett, Presenter of the Media Show, BBC Radio 4, Guardian columnist and media analyst.

Read a review of this book by John Horgan in Journalism Practice.

Lara Fielden was a graduate trainee at London Weekend Television and spent the next ten years with BBC News and Current Affairs. She produced and directed a range of  current affairs investigations and documentaries, including Panorama and Newsnight, filming around the globe in countries as diverse as Bosnia, Brazil, Korea, Romania and Zimbabwe as well as across the UK. Between 2005 and 2010 she was with Ofcom where she managed fairness and privacy adjudications and reviews of Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code.

A hard copy of this publication can be purchased from Amazon or the University of Oxford Online Store.