Eagle-eyed investigative reporters may have noticed a pair ofÂ cute little cardboardÂ boxes lying around the newsroom. They contain promotional board games and, more importantly, the entry criteria for the 2009 Guardian Student Media Awards. These are prestigious prizes.
This morning's Medway Messenger leads on a fineÂ illustrationÂ of whyÂ local journalismÂ matters.Â Alan Watkins' exclusiveÂ about the number of staff at Medway council earning in excess of Â£50k is an exampleÂ of a diligentÂ reporter and his newspaper holding local governmentÂ to account.
Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Era of Corruption) is the title of an essay by Paul Starr in The New Republic (America's most consistently intelligent politicalÂ magazine and a must-read for anyone determined to understand life inside the Washington DCÂ beltway). I urge everyone to read it. It is depressing, but erudite and utterly right. A new democratic deficit looms. We journalistsÂ must urgently find a way to fill it.
Students will remember George Steer, the Times correspondent who revealed the bombing of Guernica, from my lectures and seminars about the Spanish Civil War. I know Sarah has introduced you to otherÂ examples of his writing. In the Times this morning there is freshÂ confirmation of the efforts FrancoÂ made to deny the truthÂ of Steer's report.Â