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A matter of opinion

These days everyone seems to have a strong opinion on from the Bush administration to energy-saving light bulbs and the willingness to express it has been greater than ever. So much so that conventional platforms can no longer put up with this huge mass of ideas and internet is winning the game.

John Lloyd, contributing editor to Financial Times, representative of the old media as he puts it, also believes that situation is somewhat unbalanced but certainly adjusted to novel needs.

Do newspapers allow enough space for the expression of the opinion?

It is obvious now that with the internet the amount of opinion people wish to express, both in terms of blogs and responding to blogs, is almost limitless. Newspapers traditionally have two or three papers of opinion for their columnist and important people who write from outside. The internet has completely revolutionized the idea of opinion. Opinion is no longer from above, well-known journalists, prominent public figures. It is of everyone so the internet is much more democratic in that sense. Newspapers can never have that kind of exposure to everyone’s opinion.

Do you approve that amateurs, such as iReporters to CNN, are allowed in the playground of professionals?

If journalism is to have any meaning in the future it musts assume that there is some expertise. Journalists ask question, analyze events, policies then give the news about that, put the analysis on the television or in newspapers. It is a function that democracy needs. What we have learnt, however, is that people don’t like the journalist as a high priest, someone who lays down the law. The usefulness of journalism is to give some kind of analytical evaluation of current events, but everyone else should have a voice. The great thing about media now is that there are a million ways for people to have a voice. Not everyone may listen, but CNN’s initiative is a good one.

With so much opinion displayed or hidden in information isn’t the media’s aim of becoming impartial unachievable?

It is unreachable but it is something which we should reach for. The important thing is trying to get there. There is a possibility of a skeleton of the truth that you could tell. Trying to describe something you can give an outline of it which is not the truth, the truth is endlessly complex, but a sketch of a truth which reasonable people can understand.

Zsòfia Vègh


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