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Russell Crowe at the State of Play premiere (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons - Andre Portfolio)

Russell Crowe at the State of Play premiere (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons - Andre Portfolio)

It’s refreshing to see a film like ‘State of Play’ go straight to the top of the box office in the UK, not just because it’s a bloody good film (which is rare these days), but because, perhaps more unusually, it portrays journalists in a positive light.

Russell Crowe plays  Cal McCaffrey , a crusading journalist of the old school, dogged in his pursuit of a story and determined to expose injustice.  I imagine that for many journalists McCaffrey represents someone we all aspired to be when we decided to become reporters.

Certainly, when I settled upon reporting for a career, I firmly believed that journalism, at its heart, was all about performing a public service.

However, this is something which many reporters, myself included, seem to have forgotten about these days.  With the advent of the internet and the increased competition for readers’ attention, we routinely resort to exaggerating or even misleading the public to sex up a story and thus increase circulation.

It is no wonder then that, aside from ‘All the President’s Men’, hacks are regularly portrayed in film as ruthless, distrustful individuals.

But if professional journalism is going to survive the advent of the internet, it is imperative that reporters return to these journalistic principles.

Rumours and gossip abound on the internet, but good journalism is expensive and requires hard work and effort.

It is only by proving our worth as accurate and reliable sources of news that readers, confronted with a multitude of news sources on the internet, will continue to buy papers and thus continue to fund our trade.

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