Fourth Estate Articles List



94 Articles Found


Why the demise of specialist reporters is a loss for any democracy

The newspaper industry in many countries is in the doldrums. Retrenchments have become the norm with experienced journalists who specialize in a particular reporting area – known as “beat reporting” – are among the first to go.


Why we see hope for the future of science journalism

Eat blueberries for the antioxidants. Exercise daily at a moderate intensity for optimal heart health. Get the vaccine to prevent the disease. Our decision-making and conduct is influenced by what we read, see or hear. And many parts of our lives, from the food we eat to our quality of sleep, can in some way be linked back to scientific research.


The law is closing in on Facebook and the 'digital gangsters'

For social media and search engines, the law is back in town. Prompted by privacy invasions, the spread of misinformation, a crisis in news funding and potential interference in elections, regulators in several countries now propose a range of interventions to curb the power of digital platforms.


Local newspapers had a golden age – but it was 150 years ago

This article will be no help whatsoever to Britain’s crumbling local newspaper industry. After 12 years researching the provincial press at its peak period, the second half of the 19th century, I have no answers for today’s business in crisis. In 2018, the fourth largest regional newspaper group in Britain, Johnston Press, recently went bust (and was then “rescued” by a US asset fund). A quarter of the country’s local papers have closed in the last ten years. Jobs have been cut, print sales tumble, and profits dwindle (although many local papers still make money). Fewer reporters staffing local papers mean fewer original stories, which makes the papers less attractive to readers, which accelerates the decline. The industry itself blames internet advertising, and competition from Facebook and Google. Others blame local newspaper management, not known for its dynamism or strategic ...


Funding journalism means defining who’s a journalist – not a bad thing

The federal government’s recent announcement of financial support for news organizations has been met with understandably wide-ranging reactions — from relief to skepticism, and worse. Among other measures, the package will incentivize consumers to sign up for digital news subscriptions and subsidize publishers through a tax credit on salaries paid to journalists. It’s good news for imperilled news businesses, but even some who share the government’s expressed concern over the sustainability of independent information about public affairs have expressed misgivings. The doubters include many journalists — the very people who stand most to gain from the promised support.


Right to information: knowledge is power

The right to information is vital for preventing corruption. When citizens can access key facts and data from governments, it is more difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities - governments can be held accountable. Access to information also empowers citizens by informing their voting, giving them a chance to speak out against injustice and ensuring they know their rights. In Mexico, when communities denied healthcare and education learnt that they had a right to these services they fought to access them. The value of access to information is recognised around the world and there are many countries where, both on paper and in practice, the right to information is a reality. Nearly 120 countries have laws to enable it, however this doesn’t necessarily mean that citizens can get important government data in all of these countries.


Journalists, Don't be fooled by fake images and videos online

There are some things that you can do to protect yourself from falling for a hoax. As the author of the upcoming book “Fake Photos,” to be published in August, I’d like to offer a few tips to protect yourself from falling for a hoax.


The revolving door between media and government spins again with CNN's hiring of Sarah Isgur Flores

A common practice in American journalism has, once again, sparked outrage. CNN recently announced the hiring of Sarah Isgur Flores to be “one of several editors” who will help “coordinate [political] coverage across TV and digital.


Maria Ressa: journalists need protection in Duterte’s Philippines, but we must also heed the stories they tell

There has rightly been plenty of condemnation for the arrest of journalist Maria Ressa in the Philippines on February 13. Her news organisation, Rappler – which has been critical of the government – has been targeted and maligned for at least a year by an authoritarian but sensitive regime up to its neck in human rights violations.


Brexit: journalists must now focus on policy not personalities

Seven MPs leaving the Labour party was always going to dominate the news cycle but, given that the UK currently stands to exit the EU without a deal, political journalists should be wary about getting sucked into ongoing speculation about further resignations and instead focus on the rapidly approaching cliff edge.