News was something someone somewhere did not want you to know. … the rest of it is just public relations.
(Quote from Jeremy Paxman at the Leveson Inquiry.) I’ve enjoyed watching the live sessions of the Leveson Inquiry from the UK over the past few months. Whatever your view of News International, I think the inquiry has been a useful insight into not just the relationship between the media, police and politicians but also the way in which the print and broadcast media is run on a day-to-day basis.
There’s been a lot of little insights into the workings of the media, the 24-hour news cycle, the viability of newspapers, and even why and how the Daily Mail website (the world’s most visited newspaper website) works between its UK and US sites. While it’s not yet clear the inquiry might have a lasting impact on British media policy (Lord Leveson told Paxman: “The one thing I am determined not to do is produce a document that simply sits on the second shelf of a professor of journalism’s study to discuss with his students as yet another attempt that went nowhere”, to which Paxman replied: “As high as the second shelf, eh?”), it’s still good to watch something that’s not just a five-second soundbite.
You can watch live feeds of the Leveson Inquiry here, and archived sessions on BBC’s Democracy Live site: Module 1 | Module 2 | Newspaper proprietors | Module 3 (ongoing). There’s also transcripts on the Leveson website.