Charlie Beckett – POLIS

Posted on 05. Oct, 2007 by in Broadcast, International

Your work in networked/citizen/collaborative journalism.

Charlie Beckett is doing Networked Journalism and thinking hard about it. He is an award-winning TV news and current affairs producer and programme editor who swapped the BBC and ITN’s Channel 4 News to found a new journalism think-tank called POLIS at the London School of Economics. Charlie Beckett is also the launch editor for an IPTV project which aims to create an intellectual internet news analysis platform and discussion programme for thinking people in the UK and internationally.

Networked Journalism is a key concept for POLIS. It ran a series of seminars for news practitioners that will lead to a policy report and conference in 2008 on Networked Journalism in London. Charlie Beckett is publishing a book on global Networked Journalism called Super Media (Blackwell 2008).

What are your goals?

We want to create a journalism think-tank that promotes the best kind of networked journalism internationally. POLIS is already leading the debate in the UK about the social and political role of new forms of journalism around the world. We have lectures, seminars, conferences, policy reports, fellowships, and major research projects.

I want to combine that think-tank work with my own journalism. We believe our IPTV project is a viable business model for high-quality networked journalism. I want to take the best of the journalistic values that I was part of over the last 20 years to create a new journalism. POLIS wants to provide the thought-leadership for the ‘Next Media’, but also to convince society to invest in public service networked journalism.

Notable achievements?

I am an award-winning TV news producer who has always been at the forefront of broadcasting new technology from digital editing to multi-skilling and interactivity. POLIS has already redefined the understanding of journalism’s future role. I have created the most successful academic journalism blog in the UK and brought Networked Journalism to the United Nations as well as to the London School of Economics as a series of taught courses and a research subject. Our Future of News seminars were unique in bringing different sectors of the news media together to debate Next Media, while our Media and Africa conference and report was a remarkable meeting of journalists and development activists which put new forms of journalism at the heart of movements for political and economic change.

Lesson you’ve learned (including mistakes you’ve made)

The launch of POLIS has shown that thought leadership is a critical part of media literacy. We have been amazed at the appetite out there for serious discussion about journalism. People know that we need a better media. But until now, the media has been treated as a force of nature like the weather, rather than a part of civilised society that has to be shaped and supported. But for news markets to function they have to attract investment rather than altruism.

Are you getting revenue for this? How?

POLIS works with a variety of partners from government to NGOs to business. We make money by creating exciting intelligent journalism courses. We provide our sponsors and partners with a product they don’t have – independent, authoritative, professionally-informed analysis of contemporary journalism. Our IPTV project has the support of a commercial backer who combines an ethical ambition with a sense that there is profit in clever online journalism.

What’s next? What do you need to get to the next level?

We want to get serious international Foundation funding to create a major centre of research in to Networked Journalism in Europe to balance the excellent work happening in the US. Journalism is now global and so we have to understand more about its effect and potential around the world.

The POLIS director’s blog is at:

The POLIS website is:

Anyone you’d like to talk with, learn from, or work with at the summit

Everyone looks great but here are some names that caught my eye:

o Ariana Huffington – HuffingtonPost
o Amanda Michel – NewAssignment
o Jeff Burkett — Washington Post News Interactive
o Jay Rosen – NewAssignment.Net
o Donica Mensing – Reynolds School of Journalism
o Steve Grove – YouTube
o Tom Rosenstiel – Project for Excellence in Journalism
o Sreenath Sreenivasan – Columbia University
o Bill Mitchell – Poynter
o Chris Anderson – Columbia
o John Bracken – MacArthur Foundation
o Brian storm
o Dale Peskin – iFocos
o Chris Tolles – Topix


  1. Who I’ve Learned From - 107 Interviews « DigiDave - Journalism is a Process, Not a Product - May 13, 2009

    […] Charlie Beckett – Polis […]