Social media tells lies warns ITV News presenter

By Rachel Gallacher

ITV news anchor Mark Austin at Leeds Trinity Journalism Week

ITV news anchor Mark Austin at Journalism Week

The new generation should be wary about getting all their information from new media, according to ITV News anchor Mark Austin.

The News at Ten presenter insists that appointment-to-view television news wins hands down as source of information – and is trusted.

But he admitted that Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow had been right when he spoke of a “golden age of journalism” at last year’s Journalism Week at Leeds Trinity University.

Mr Austin said with Twitter and other social media complicating the picture of events, journalists need to seek the truth now, more than ever.

Addressing a busy lecture theatre this afternoon, Mr Austin spoke of how social media is becoming increasingly popular with the younger generation to find out what’s going on in the world.

He said: ‘’50 per cent of 12-18 year olds get the news from Twitter or Facebook. The new generation are getting their news from new media.’’

Mr Austin, 54, spoke of how TV and technology has changed over the years. ‘’Anyone can be a mobile journalist,’’ he added.

But he warned: ‘’Just because it’s fast and accessible, it doesn’t always mean it’s right. It can be wrong. It can tell lies.

‘’Use social media to your advantage, be aware of it, don’t let it take over your life.’’

Mr Austin, who has worked as both a sports and foreign correspondent, told the audience about the highs and lows of reporting from an area of conflict.

‘’One minute you can be doing something amazing and uplifting, the next you can be covering something really depressing.

‘’No story is worth dying for, but there are stories that are worth risking your life for.’’

Working as a foreign correspondent has taken him all over the world and he covered the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington.

Mr Austin described his time in Rwanda as the most ‘distressing’ story he has covered. ‘’Babies were being mutilated, three to four thousand people were dying every day,’’ he said.

But he finished his Journalism Week speech with some positive encouragement for the trainee journalists, saying: ‘’You’ve chosen a very good career, make the most of it.’’

To watch the video of his entire talk click here.

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