It’s three decades since Sir Martyn Lewis made his controversial speech about the need for a better balance between negative and positive news coverage. Now the former BBC & ITN newscaster returns to his theme to reveal how Constructive Journalism is starting to take off around the world – including within parts of the British media. This at a time when surveys suggest people are being turned off by negative news because it leaves us feeling anxious, passive and helpless ; and two out of every three people under the age of 35 want news that provides solutions to problems, not just news that tells them about certain issues. Martyn argues that what is clearly starting to gather pace is a reassessment - an adjustment - of the way in which journalists are exercising their colossal responsibilities in a rapidly changing society - yes, by continuing to report the failures, exposing the weaknesses and the injustices, highlighting controversies, probing motives and arguments - but also by acknowledging - much more than they have tended to do in the past - the accomplishments, the successes, the triumphs and solutions increasingly wanted by a huge constituency of viewers, listeners and readers. He also reveals the sources and plentiful nature of strong positive stories that stand up to proper, rigorous journalistic scrutiny, and are far removed from the light, trivial stories that have characterised so-called “good news” in the past
Sir Martyn Lewis’ career is an unusual blend of the media, charitable and corporate worlds. During his 32 years as a television journalist he delivered thousands of reports for ITN, and went on to anchor every mainstream television news programme on ITV and BBC, including the Six O’Clock News and News At Ten. He has been a long-time campaigner for Constructive News, arguing for a shift in the news agenda to achieve a fairer balance between negative and serious positive stories, analysing success and achievement as much as failure.
His charitable involvement began with the Hospice movement, and expanded over four decades to include the founding of the UK’s first internet charity YouthNet (now themix.org.uk), and embrace areas as diverse as disadvantaged young people, learning disabilities, dementia, military families, volunteering and leadership. A former Chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the main umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector, he now chairs the King’s Award for Voluntary Service, a part of the UK Honours system and the equivalent of an MBE for groups of volunteers working at grassroots level in communities.
On the business front he is Founder and Executive Chairman of YourBigDay Ltd, offering video “time-capsules” for every date and almost every year over the last century, drawn from the ITN and Reuters archives, and ordered and delivered exclusively online. He is also a non-executive director of the revolutionary vertical wind turbine company Alpha 311, (alpha-311.com), and advisor to the charity fund-raising company Give-Star (give-star.com).
He was awarded a CBE in 1997 and a knighthood in 2016 for his extensive work in the voluntary sector.
Wednesday, 13 March 2024
11:00 - 11:45 GMT
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