Westminster Media Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

The future of news

Morning, Monday, 12th July 2021


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the future of news provision in the UK in light of ongoing regulatory developments, and the potentially transformative effect of emerging news sources and new entrants.


The conference is taking place following the establishment of the Digital Markets Unit, which will look at the relationship between platforms and content providers. It also follows the precedent set by the recent news media bargaining code in Australia for addressing perceived power imbalances between news businesses and large digital platforms.


We are very pleased to be able to include in this conference keynote sessions with Emily Bell, Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism, Columbia University; Creina Chapman, Deputy Chair and CEO, Australian Communications and Media Authority; and Francesca Unsworth, Director, News and Current Affairs, BBC - as well as contributions from Google, The Bristol Cable, and The Guardian Foundation.


The chairs are: Andy Carter MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Media Group; and Baroness Grender, Member, House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee.


The agenda will bring out latest thinking on:

  • the relationship between the public and news
  • regulatory priorities for digital news media
  • the economic impact of social media, new entrants, and issues with monetising content
  • challenges for print and local media sectors
  • the role of the BBC

The agenda

  • What is the relationship between the public and news they get
  • Regulating digital news media, and the interplay between social media and news organisations - the impact of recent regulatory changes in Australia
  • The economics of news - social media, new entrants, and the future for monetising content
  • The evolving nature of news coverage internationally and what it means for the future of journalism
  • Addressing challenges posed for the print and local media sectors - audience retention, renewal, and expansion, financial sustainability, and improving media literacy
  • What should be the role of the BBC in domestic and in international news

Key areas for discussion:

The relationship between the public and the news they consume:

  • the impact of recent events - the effect of the pandemic, Brexit, and the reporting of other major issues recently
  • fake news - progress in tackling online misinformation and disinformation
  • the future outlook - emerging trends and the shape of the market going forward

Regulating digital news media - and the relationship between social media and news producers:

  • Australia - the impact of recent moves to introduce a news media bargaining code, designed to address perceived power imbalances between news media businesses and digital platforms
    • what developments mean for the future balance between news creators and platforms, such as Facebook and Google agreeing to pay News Corp Australia for journalism from its local mastheads
  • implications for UK policy - potential lessons from developments in Australia, as the Digital Markets Unit looks at the balance between platforms and news producers

The economics of news:

  • the changing landscape online - assessing the impact of regulatory developments across the globe, and the role of social media and platforms in facilitating content delivery
    • as Ofcom’s 2020 study into news consumption found that fewer adults now claim to use social media for news
  • the Digital Markets Unit - policy priorities for the new unit:
    • in its aims to promote online competition and innovation
    • for working with Ofcom to develop a code governing relationships between platforms and content providers to ensure they are fair
  • new entrants - their potential impact on the news landscape and on the dynamic of news broadcasting in the UK, as new services compete for audiences, including GB News
  • monetisation - latest thinking on how to improve the economic viability of news production and distribution, including stand-alone publications and as part of wider media business models

The evolving nature of news coverage internationally - and what it means for the future of journalism


Addressing challenges posed for the print and local media sectors:

  • viability - latest thinking on the future of the newspaper and local media industry, and how it has adapted during the pandemic, as well as which business models are emerging and making progress
  • support - what further steps can be taken to support the provision of high-quality journalism at a national and local level in the UK
  • media literacy - with the Government set to release its media literacy strategy later this year, looking at:
    • initiatives so far and what can be learned
    • latest thinking on strategies to promote the consumption of high quality journalism
    • options and next steps for supporting the public in identifying the source and provenance of online news

The role of the BBC - considering the Corporation’s role alongside other providers in domestic and in international news, and the context of the Government’s strategic review of public service broadcasting


Background to the discussion:

  • the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) - based in the CMA:
    • focusing on the relationships between platforms and content providers
    • working closely with Ofcom on options for a code of conduct for relationships between platforms and content providers, such as news publishers, including ensuring they are as fair and reasonable as possible
  • Government response to the Cairncross review: a sustainable future for journalism - which set out a number of recommendations informing current reform in the sector, including:
    • calls for the development of codes of conduct between platforms and publishers
    • the production of an online media literacy strategy
  • new broadcast entrants - the upcoming launch of GB News and the recent launch of Times Radio
  • Small Screen: Big Debate - Ofcom’s consultation on the future of public service media, which closed to new responses in March, with recommendations due to be published in the Summer
  • Australia’s news media bargaining code - the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, outlining the approach to addressing an imbalance between news media businesses and digital platforms
  • The Future of Journalism - the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee inquiry into the future of Journalism, which recommended that Ofcom should regulate online news content produced by UK public service broadcasters in the same way it regulates broadcast content
  • the Public Service Broadcasting Advisory Panel - appointed by the Government to provide independent advice as part of the strategic review of public service broadcasting
  • The Future of Public Service Broadcasting - the DCMS Committee inquiry which is in part looking at how PSB compares with alternative subscription, streaming services and Freeview services
  • the Online harms White Paper - which includes a commitment to publishing an online media literacy strategy aimed at developing a strategic approach to online media literacy education and awareness for children, young people and adults
  • News Consumption in the UK: 2020 - Ofcom’s study which, in part, found that:
    • TV remains the most-used platform for news (75%), followed by the internet (65%)
    • compared to 2019, fewer adults claim to use social media (45%) for news, and it has now returned to 2018 levels
    • while the BBC remains the most-used news source, the number of UK adults using BBC TV channels for news has decreased
    • TV remains the most common platform for accessing local news, and news within the nations

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the DCMS and Ofcom.


Press passes have been reserved by representatives from Agricultural Communications; Bonhill Group; Legal Cheek; Newsquest Scotland; Press Gazette and Satellite Evolution Group.


Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from other media stakeholders including publishers, newspaper groups, radio and TV broadcasters, social media firms, licensing groups, digital content providers, business consultancies, IT and software developers, advertising agencies, polling organisations, specialist law firms, as well as researchers in academia and higher education, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



Keynote Speakers

Creina Chapman

Deputy Chair and CEO, Australian Communications and Media Authority

Emily Bell

Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

Francesca Unsworth

Director, News and Current Affairs, BBC

Chairs

Andy Carter MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Media Group

Baroness Grender

Member, House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee

Speakers

Benedicte Autret

Head of News Partnership Solutions - UK, Google

Lucas Batt

Membership & Distribution, The Bristol Cable

Margaret Holborn

Head of Secondary and Higher Education, The Guardian Foundation