Jon Snow: People will no longer read newspapers for news

The media is undergoing a revolution in which people will no longer look to newspapers for news, according to Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow.

Delivering the third Bob Friend Memorial Lecture at the University of Kent on Friday night, Snow said events in the Middle East demonstrate the benefits of social media websites but also that newspapers are becoming dated very quickly. Leaders in Tunisia and Egypt have been forced from power after mass protests driven by services like Twitter and Facebook.

Snow said: "I don't think people will look to newspapers for news. I don't think people are patient enough to read news in that way."

Before his lecture, titled ‘From film to Twitter – the media revolution: is the golden age of journalism come or gone?’, Snow presented this year’s winner of the Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship, Tania Steere, with her award.

Tania will spend a month working at Sky News in the summer and will have her first year tuition fees paid by the broadcaster.

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In his lecture Snow argued journalism is entering a new ‘golden age’ but there were risks associated with it.

“There’s never been a better time to become a journalist,” he said.

“When I started in television we were using film, there was no video. The only video was two inches wide and needed two people to load it onto the machine. You then had three hours while it went through the chemical process. You had breathing space to do a job.

“Now it’s instant - news channels could now be dubbed ‘never old for long’. All this information needs mediating.

“We need people we can trust to interpret what’s actually going on. We now live in an absolute maze of different pieces of information. People are putting up misinformation. Who those people are it is difficult to know.”

The scholarship is a partnership between the University, Sky News and the Friend family. It is a memorial to the life of Bob Friend, one of the original presenters of Sky News, who started his career in Kent.

Previous speakers include the Director General of the BBC Mark Thompson (2010) and the head of Sky News John Ryley (2009).