Defining a ‘democratic elite’ : key media in the battle for social responsibility

Duffield, Lee (2015) Defining a ‘democratic elite’ : key media in the battle for social responsibility. In Breaking the code - journalism, technology, information and education in the 21st century: Proceedings of the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia 2014 Conference, Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia Incorporated (JERAA Inc)., University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, pp. 18-22.

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This paper offers a definition of elite media arguing their content focus will sufficiently meet social responsibility needs of democracy. Its assumptions come from the Finkelstein and Leveson Inquiries and regulatory British Royal Charter (2013). These provide guidelines on how media outlets meet ‘social responsibility’ standards, e.g. press has a ‘responsibility to be fair and accurate’ (Finkelstein); ethical press will feel a responsibility to ‘hold power to account’ (Leveson); news media ‘will be held strictly accountable’ (RC).

The paper invokes the British principle of media opting-in to observe standards, and so serve the democracy. It will give examples from existing media, and consider social responsibility of media more generally. Obvious cases of ‘quality’ media: public broadcasters, e.g. BBC, Al-Jazeera, and ‘quality’ press, e.g. NYT, Süddeutscher Zeitung, but also community broadcasters, specialised magazines, news agencies, distinctive web logs, and others. Where providing commentary, these abjure gratuitous opinion -- meeting a standard of reasoned, informational and fair. Funding is almost a definer, many such services supported by the state, private trusts, public institutions or volunteering by staff.

Literature supporting discussion on elite media will include their identity as primarily committed to a public good, e.g. the ‘Public Value Test’, Moe and Donders (2011); with reference also to recent literature on developing public service media. Within its limits the paper will treat social media as participants among all media, including elite, and as a parallel dimension of mass communication founded on inter-activity.

Elite media will fulfil the need for social responsibility, firstly by providing one space, a ‘plenary’ for debate. Second is the notion of building public recognition of elite media as trustworthy. Third is the fact that elite media together are a large sector with resources to sustain social cohesion and debate; notwithstanding pressure on funds, and impacts of digital transformation undermining employment in media more than in most industries.

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ID Code: 79625
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Posted here: PowerPoint presentation document; text of the paper delivered
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Elite media, Leveson, Finkelstein, Royal Charter - Press, Media regulation
ISBN: 978-0-9943673-0-3
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > JOURNALISM AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING (190300) > Journalism Studies (190301)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Media Studies (200104)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The author, JERAA and QUT
Deposited On: 23 Dec 2014 02:56
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2016 12:11

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