As new technology offers citizens unprecedented access to information, journalism confronts intriguing new challenges. Traditional media power is facing competition from citizen journalism and the anarchic democracy of the internet. New skills are at a premium as newspapers migrate online, video and podcasts proliferate and blogging expands to do battle with conventional commentary.
The news industry is in a period of spectacular change. Serious journalism about public affairs must compete for attention with an expanding supply of infotainment. Distinctions between broadcasting and printing are disappearing. There is no longer a single public sphere. Sport, celebrity and the arts claim places alongside politics, economics and diplomacy as topics deserving coverage.
In the past, few successful British journalists were formally qualified. To become a doctor or lawyer required rigorous academic and professional training; many reporters simply muddled through, exercising power without reflection or responsibility. Now the era of the amateur is over. To serve the public properly, the top reporters, correspondents and columnists of the future will need excellent vocational skills and highly trained minds.