'The internet and social media have empowered the PR trade and freed it from subservience to the news media.' This was the provocative starting point for an RSA debate recently, which also asked what this premise meant for the future of journalism and, more importantly, the future of public interest.
As IPSO - the press' response to Leveson - opened for business this week, newspapers may be wondering whether they will be able to convince the public that it is not just a replica of its discredited predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission. No doubt IPSO will receive praise from newspapers themselves - at least initially. But will this be enough to paper over its shortcomings? Based on the public's response to the coverage of the Leveson Report and its implementation by the national press, the answer is no. It is highly unlikely that positive newspaper coverage will ever convince the public that IPSO is independent or effective.
Only in the past couple of years have the rise of digital networks really facilitated the internationalisation of press... Not only are consumers reading online newspapers in growing numbers, but interestingly, their primary online newspaper is increasingly likely to be based in a country other than their own.
Taking a picture with that newspaper was one of two things: either an act of stupidity by a busy, badly-advised man who wasn't thinking straight, or, much more worryingly, a cynical act of hypocrisy, shamelessly courting voters, in contrast to his own previous pronouncements on the values of the group which runs this particular newspaper.
If you are one of the many people who hadn't heard of SuicideGirls until a couple of days ago, then let me clear things up for you. Despite the name and some of the press reports that it makes death look good; it's not some sort of Pro-ana website for suicide. It's simply a community of people who challenge the ideals of beauty and also celebrates alternative cultures.