By Una Murphy, VIEWdigital Publisher
The Chair of the Stormont All-Party Group on Press Freedom and Media Sustainability, Matthew O’Toole MLA, has thanked VIEWdigital for providing evidence to MLAs.
He said: “Over the next few weeks we will be going through all of the evidence submitted to compile a report including findings and recommendations.”
We said that: VIEWdigital believes the NI Executive should positively interact with the media in Northern Ireland by developing financial incentives for journalists who produce local public interest news stories.
We also urged temperate language in public discourse about journalists, particularly in the light of threats made to journalist colleagues, including Patricia Devlin.
We said that post-pandemic, there should be more opportunities created for community journalists to engage directly with ministers and MLAs, especially during press conferences and public engagement events.
VIEWdigital also told the Northern Ireland Assembly that:
- Local independent news outlets have provided a vital service to communities during the COVID-19 pandemic by producing local public interest news stories.
- New approaches to restore trust in media, as well as new ways to raise revenue need to be found, to ensure media sustainability post pandemic.
- We specialise in social affairs journalism and have strived to develop trust with our audience by collaboratively working with community campaigners, people with lived experience, academics, public bodies and charities to highlight important social issues.
- VIEWdigital is a community interest company that produces a premium print edition of VIEW magazine, which is made available to libraries free of charge. All our multimedia content can be viewed on the VIEWdigital.org website without a paywall.
- We support the recommendations of the News Recovery Plan put forward by the National Union of Journalists, which called for strategic investments in the hyperlocal sector and for tax credits and interest free loans to be made available to support our journalism, both during and after the pandemic.
- VIEWdigital is regulated by IMPRESS and is a member of the UK wide Independent Community News Network (ICNN) which launched a #saveindependentnews campaign in June 2020. VIEWdigital produces and publishes original journalism and receives journalism content from the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Scheme.
Have your say. What are your views on the media? If VIEWdigital is called to give evidence before the Northern Ireland Assembly All-Party Group on Press Freedom and Media Sustainability, we would like to reflect the views of our audience.
Email publisher Una Murphy e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Dr Paul Reilly, Senior Lecturer in Social Media & Digital Society in the Information School at the University of Sheffield for assistance in writing our submission to the Northern Ireland Assembly.