From Research to Action: News Futures Forum Planned to Address Media Challenges

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The News Futures 2035 project has marked a significant milestone with the launch of its Final Report at the Newsrewired journalism conference in London on May 22, 2024. This 18-month initiative, led by Dr François Nel, Reader in Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Dr Kamila Rymajdo, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLan, brought together more than 300 thought leaders from media, policy, regulation, civil society, and academia through expert interviews, surveys, workshops, and multiple consultations.

NEWSREWIRED PANEL (L-R): Lisa MacLeod, FT Strategies (chair), Jonathan Heawood, PINF; Madhav Chinnappa, ex-Google; Helen Philpot, The Sun; François Nel, UCLan

During the Newsrewired panel chaired by Lisa MacLeod, EMEA Director at FT Strategies, prominent industry figures such as The Sun’s Global Managing Editor Helen Philpot, Public Interest News Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Heawood, former Google Head of News Ecosystem Development Madhav Chinnappa, and François Nel, discussed the project’s findings and implications.

Throughout the duration of the Google News Initiative-funded project, news articles, including coverage on journalism.co.uk, underscored the participants’ emphasis on defining public interest news and developing strategies to enhance accessibility, clarity, and trustworthiness for diverse audiences. The research identified several critical challenges, including improving media literacy, securing funding for public-interest news, addressing media ownership concentration, and increasing diversity among journalists. It also highlighted news producers and distributors’ dual role in contributing to and addressing climate change.

The report’s key recommendation is the formation of a News Futures Forum, proposing it as a structured process convened under the Chatham House Rule with three main objectives: fostering deeper understanding among stakeholders, ensuring enabling policy and regulation, and inspiring innovation to maintain the relevance of public-interest news.

The panel’s discussions underscored the significance of the News Futures 2035 project as a pioneering initiative in the UK, setting a foundation for advancing common interests among diverse stakeholders in the media ecosystem.

Call to Action
While the News Futures 2035 project has concluded, a working group has been constituted and will be meeting on Tuesday, July 9th, hosted by the Thomson Foundation. Following this meeting, the next steps for the Forum will be announced. This initiative marks a critical step forward in the collaborative effort to ensure a sustainable future for public-interest news.

Read the News Futures 2035 Final Report here.
Sign up to be updated about the News Futures Forum here.