The Leveson Inquiry…Witnesses Week 3 (Thursday)

Essentially this was a day given over to the evidence of academics who teach journalism and Media courses. Seven in all taken in two groups for “hot tubbing” in the witness box…..a phrase with which “Lord” Leveson does not seem happy. After decades of being derided in popular culture for teaching “Mickey Mouse degrees” (as one avademic put it), they seemed pleased that they were being taken seriously. All of a sudden thanks to the revelations of the last year or so………..media standards are regarded as “important”.

The Press Complaints Commission, I think was properly identified in the witness box as a “mediator” rather than a “regulator”.

But perhaps the most interesting evidence was a series of quotes to which one witness Ian Hargreaves drew attention.

Ethics is a place to the east of London where the men wear white socks
(Kelvin Mackenzie, the Sun referencing the county of Essex)

The only qualities essential for real success in journalism are rat-like cunning, a plausible manner, and a little literary ability. (Nicholas Tomalin, Sunday Times)

Journalism is craft to be mastered in four days, and abandoned at the first sign of a better job. (H L Mencken)

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