Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Press and Parliament: 'The gallery correspondent is virtually extinct'

Ian Aitken in The Guardian today calls for the return of the proper reporting of parliament by the press, noting the decline in national newspapers employing journalists to cover parliamentary debates.
He writes: "The gallery correspondent is virtually extinct. Instead, there are sketch writers whose job is to be funny about parliament, which mostly means making mock of MPs."
Aitken adds: "But if a newspaper is going to make fun of MPs' foibles, it owes it to parliament to report what actually happens – which means rather more than recording the twice-weekly slapstick of prime minister's questions.
"Obviously, most of the reforms needed to restore confidence in parliament must come from MPs. But this is one which could come from the press, and it is crucial not just to restoring the perception of parliament but also to reviving its actual function as the watchdog of the nation. You can't be a successful watchdog if no one can hear you bark."

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