Saturday, 27 November 2010

Where is the Lebedev School for Journalism?

I'm a fan of good quality journalism. I have real concerns that opinion, once differentiators between media titles, has become cheapened commodity, while investigative journalism is barely alive.

Alexander Lebedev, owner of the Evening Standard and Independent Newspapers, has consistently advocated a new investment in journalism. Raising standards, spending money on investigations, fighting corruption, championing transparency are all stated aims.

Lebedev will have been proprietor of the Standard for two years in January, it is eight months since he purchased the Independent. The changes he has made to both titles, making the Standard profitable in the process, has hardly been a catalyst for talent that will see dictators and criminals quaking in their boots.   

I've written here how I like the Independent's little brother, the i, but shortened stories coupled with a bright layout and strong use of graphics isn't going to bring the kind of ground-breaking journalism we've been promised. 

So, what about the much talked about Lebedev School for Journalism? It has been reported that Lebedev wants support from people like Bono, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Clintons amongst others to raise $80 million to start a school for investigative journalism.

I'm sceptical that it will ever happen, which is a great shame. Lebedev, a former KGB spy based in London, has consistently spoken of his desire to reignite investigative journalism around the world. Unfortunately his actions, so far, don't match his words.

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