Libby Purves OBE delivered the 2016 Stationers' Annual Lecture with the title Content providers in the age of Discontent. The evening’s proceedings were moderated by Michael Binyon OBE. Ms Purves made a series of telling points about the economics publishing, focusing on newspapers but also covering magazines and books. The migration from hard copy to online delivery, for which vast swathes of the population seem unwilling to pay, has proved financially difficult and, she suggested, was having a negative impact on the quality of the publications. She wondered whether good content was doomed if the reading public were not willing to pay for it. Could free content financed by advertising, ever be impartial? Can solid journalistic training for young people be provided if there is no income from which to finance it? Can news correspondents in difficult parts of the world such as Syria continue to be supported if their stories have to be provided free?
It was very thought-provoking and covered a subject which has been debated often in Stationers’ Hall: the very survival on newspapers. Libby approached it from the point of view of the future of qood quality journalism and those who delivered it. It was a serious look at an important issue delivered with a light touch and much humour.