UK government appoints panel to review the sustainability of the press

The UK government has appointed Dame Frances Cairncross as the chair of its review into the future of high quality journalism.

The press sustainability review was called on the basis of UK newspaper circulations halving since 2001. In that time 200 titles have also closed.

Cairncross, formerly an economic journalist with stints at The Guardian, The Times, The Observer and The Economist will be joined by a panel to examine a “rapidly changing media world” where publications “often had to compete with digital media”.

Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport who made the appointment, said that while “the internet has been an immense force for good, it has torn apart the established order and raised real questions about the sustainability and profitability of traditional journalism”.

On leading the panel, Cairncross said: “Having spent much of my working life as a journalist, and seen how the digital revolution has changed both the fortunes of newspapers and the opportunities for distributing news, I am excited to be undertaking this review.

“This is both a challenging and an exciting time for the press, both locally and nationally, and I hope the review will clarify both ways to ensure the future of high quality journalism and the options for public policy.”

On the panel is Jo Adetunji, a journalist and deputy editor at The Conversation UK; Geraldine Allinson, chairman of the KM Media Group; Azeem Azhar, chief of the Exponential View; Polly Curtis, editor-in-chief of HuffPostUK; Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press; Quartz reporter Akshat Rathi; Matthew Rogerson, head of public policy at Guardian Media Group; brand consultant Mimi Turner; Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association and Peter Wright, editor emeritus of Associated Newspapers.