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A House of Lords select committee is asking reporters and academics to share their thoughts about the challenges in journalism and what the British government can do to support the industry in the years ahead.

The future of journalism inquiry will look into the issues that have affected journalism over the last few decades, including the shift in audiences' relationship with news outlets, the lack of diversity in newsrooms and the decline in trust of mainstream media organisations.

Tory peer and chairman of the Communications and Digital Committee Lord Gilbert of Panteg explained that previous inquiries into the advertising industry, the digital economy and children on the internet had highlighted a number of potentially dangerous areas that affected journalism.

"As many skilled trade professions hollow out because of AI, journalism and the creative industries are going to be ever more important," he says.

He also stressed the need to make journalism more accessible.

"There are plenty of stories of people starting off on a local newspaper and becoming editors of the finest titles in the land.

"To get into the industry now, you increasingly have to be London-based."

Newsrooms should also avoid "groupthink" and hire people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds - the inquiry will look into how effective and widespread such measures have been in the industry.

Other areas include examining pivot to digital, engaging online audiences and redefining the role journalist in the digital age.

"Is someone who writes a weekly polemic in a newspaper, that is highly opinionated and maybe based on a selection of facts, a journalist? If so, is someone who writes opinions on Twitter a journalist? And then once we’ve got that characterisation of journalism, what can we do to protect it and support it?," Gilbert asks.

The inquiry will also review the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Cairncross Review and whether their actions go far enough.

Evidence from groups such as Ofcom and the Reuters Institute has already been provided, with the NCTJ attending a session today (10 March 2020) on the skills that should be required to succeed in the industry.

Whilst Gilbert acknowledged that the inquiry covers areas that have already been extensively scrutinised, he hopes to bring all of these different issues together into one report.

The inquiry will publish its findings and recommendations before the summer recess of the parliament in July.

It comes just months after the committee published a report into public service broadcasting, which recommended that the BBC be given the freedom to innovate without regulatory burdens.

Evidence provided to the inquiry can be found in the UK Parliament’s archive and written contributions to the inquiry can be made until 25th March.

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