Real journalism means precision with words

Stewart Purvis, former Chief Executive at ITN in today’s FT (subs needed) says that mainstream journalism is being undermined by what he calls nearly journalists like Michael Moore, Morgan Spurlock and various playwrights.He asks:

“Where is the value-add in ‘real’ journalism as opposed to ‘nearly’ journalism? This is a commerical question as much as a cultural one. If a key part of the brand and raison d’etre of news porviders is not quality, then what distinguishes them from the other pundits? And what justifies the investment in traingin and the charging model which allows ‘real’ jornalism to continue to be funded by the licence fee or the advertising community?”

Primarily he argues journalism must become more careful with its choice of words, particular in dealing with high controversy. He cites the Gilligan debacle as a point in case: “The irony is that if Dyke and Gilligan had got their words right, they might have won the fight”.