Pretty boxes full of prizes

Eagle-eyed investigative reporters may have noticed a pair of cute little cardboard 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.

Local news and fine reporting

This morning's Medway Messenger leads on a fine illustration of why local journalism matters.  Alan Watkins' exclusive about the number of staff at Medway council earning in excess of £50k is an example of a diligent reporter and his newspaper holding local government to account.

Goodbye newspapers, hello corruption

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 political magazine and a must-read for anyone determined to understand life inside the Washington DC beltway). I urge everyone to read it. It is depressing, but erudite and utterly right. A new democratic deficit looms. We journalists must urgently find a way to fill it.

Guernica and the first draft

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 other examples of his writing. In the Times this morning there is fresh confirmation of the efforts Franco made to deny the truth of Steer's report. 

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