JournoFest 2022: Why journalism is more important than ever

This year’s JournoFest launch event ‘Why journalism is more important than ever’ focused on the importance of trust, truth, and holding power to account, writes London fast-track trainee Mhairi MacKenzie.

JournoFest 2022 launched with an in-person panel consisting of Joanne Butcher (NCTJ chief executive), Nitya Rajan (Good Morning Britain correspondent) and David Wooding (incoming Sunday Express editor).

Hosted at the News Associates London centre, trainees got the chance to network with the panellists and meet special guests working in the industry.

The past year has showcased the danger of misinformation and the importance of journalism at a time when people are less trusting of the media than ever.

That was the message from this year’s panel, who expressed concern about the changing way news is consumed in an age of widespread social media commentary and growing misinformation.

The rise of platforms such as Twitter and Instagram has encouraged a superficial engagement with news, where a short clip from an interview or a headline is widely shared but often without full context, they said.

The panellists argued it isn’t all doom and gloom, however, as quality journalism remains a trusted source of news that cuts through the noise and breaks the stories that people care about.

The recent journalism landscape has been defined by scandal. Stories exposing political misconduct have dominated the front pages, underlining the importance of journalists in challenging those in authority.

Wooding spoke specifically about the role of the media during the Covid pandemic – a time when he felt the media provided the only official opposition to the government and their policies.

“There was no one to ask questions except the media who were allowed into the press briefings,” he said.

“It was and is so important that journalists have those face to face conversations, so you can ask someone what you want to ask instead of letting them tell you what they want to.”

Building on this, Rajan discussed the specific ways that broadcast journalism can help to challenge those in power.

She said: “There is an important space for live television in terms of what it can deliver that pre-recs can’t, and that’s what comes out under the pressure of a live answer to sometimes really difficult questions.”

Butcher emphasised the NCTJ’s focus on preparing journalists to fill this role and gain the public trust in doing so.

The launch event was followed by a week of fascinating remote panel sessions. Read about the full JournoFest line-up here.

News Associates trainees get the best access to industry connections and exclusive events. Apply now for our NCTJ multimedia journalism courses.