Algorithmic dominance. Fake news. Attention famine. Authoritarian suppression. Regional conflicts. Global elections. This is the context within which the second annual Truth Tellers Event – celebrating investigative journalism and honouring the legacy of Sir Harry Evans – took place.

Organised by esteemed journalist and editor Tina Brown, the Summit brought together some of the brightest minds in media, politics, and academia. 

The following all featured alongside dozens of other brilliant journalists and media experts:

· Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Anchor for CNN 

· Emily Maitlis, former BBC presenter and host of The News Agents 

· Jeff Zucker, Executive of RedBird Capital Partners 

· Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Channel 4 News Lead Presenter 

· Sir Don McCullin CBE, photojournalist and war photographer 

· Motaz Azaiza, Palestinian photojournalist 

The event, which was supported by Edelman, featured a series of panel discussions and keynote speeches, outlining the stakes of declining truth and the urgent need to protect and champion fact-based reporting. 


Here are four key takeaways from the event: 


Combating Misinformation 

One of the primary themes at this year's event was the ongoing battle against misinformation. Moderated by Krishnan Gury-Murthy, Christiane Amanpour CBE, Eliot Higgins (Founder of Bellingcat), Deborah Turness (CEO of BBC News) and Steven Brill (Co-Founder and Co-CEO of NewsGuard) discussed how misinformation has evolved with the advent of social media and how it affects public opinion and democratic processes.

Amanpour argued, “We in the West have failed to realise that we’re in a disinformation war. Truth is not subjective, it is empirical, objective, factual, and so far we have not been up to the fight of protecting it.”


Trump 2.0 

Another significant theme was the potential impact of a second Trump presidency on journalism and public discourse. Kara Swisher (journalist and author), Jorge Ramos (Anchor, Univision News), Jeff Zucker, and Emily Maitlis speculated on what "Trump 2.0" might entail, considering Donald Trump's continued influence over the Republican Party and his loyal base of supporters. 

The discussions were also framed around how the media should respond to a second Trump presidency. 

Maitlis made the case, “I don’t think we have learnt our lesson from 2016. We journalists have to remind people that this [pervasive dishonesty, contesting election results] is not normal.” 


The Future of Local News 

The decline of local news outlets and its implications for democracy was discussed by BBC Journalist, Ros Atkins, Nishant Lalwani of Public Interest Media, and Joshi Herrmann, Founder of Mill Media. 

Through the conversation, it became clear that – as shown by the success of recently founded local publication, Mill Media – an appetite remains for regional journalism, but also that this type of reporting remains crucial for our democracy through holding MPs and councillors to account. 


Press Freedom Under Threat 

Finally, the issue of press freedom emerged as a pressing concern. Panellists, Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, International Human Rights Lawyer, and Jose Zamora, son of jailed El Periódico founder, shared experiences from various parts of the world where journalists face persecution and censorship. 

The discussion highlighted the need for international solidarity and support for press freedom. Initiatives to protect journalists and ensure their safety, both online and offline, were emphasised as vital to sustaining a free and independent press. 

The 2024 Truth Tellers event reaffirmed the critical role of truth in journalism and the various challenges and opportunities that come with it. As the media landscape continues to evolve, events like Truth Tellers serve as essential platforms for reflection, collaboration, and action in upholding the standards of the profession.

Max Tyson is an Account Manager in the Corporate team at Edelman.