What replaces mainstream media in the future won’t be good for society according to the Debate Society at Jersey College for Girls. The recent debate, which was sponsored by local trust company Hawskford and moderated by business editor of the Jersey Evening Post, Harry McRandle, saw the majority of audience members change their minds after the teams had outlined their positions. 

Hawskford staff, JCG students, teachers, governors and parents gathered to watch the group of eight JCG students in an enthralling debate entitled ‘what replaces mainstream media will be good for society in the long run’. The debate series, which was launched at a Hawksford reception event at the House of Commons in October, has been organised in order to encourage public speaking, the voicing of opinions and to create a bridge between today’s leaders with the leaders of tomorrow. This debate was the second installment in the series. 

The debate focused on the prevalence of social media in society, and was premised that the Internet is the future of the media industry. Mr McRandle opened the debate by talking about the changing face of the media, and about what the future might hold for the industry. 

The team for the proposition argued that the Internet provides a welcome forum in which free speech can thrive. They told the audience that mainstream media restricts information because editors are limited to column inches, and that information can become distorted and fragmented through editing processes. The girls concluded their speech by saying that the Internet, and social media, provides the public with enhanced freedom of speech that is instant and easily accessible. 

Mr McRandle, commented: ’The students captured the essence of the core arguments exceptionally well and I was surprised and delighted with the passion of the debate. Both sides clearly communicated their intended point of view to the captured audience and it was a privilege to have moderated the debate. JCG should be very proud of the quality of students they produce.’ 

On the opposite side, the team against the proposition argued the reliability of traditional media, citing numerous cases of laws being broken on social media, without punishment. Disagreeing with the other team, they proposed that citizen journalism is not a positive step for society, because of their lack of training and regulation. Instead, they proposed that staying with mainstream media would be beneficial for society because of their respect for the law, professionalism, and strict regulation. 

The debate ended with a series of questions from the audience. ‘The comments and questions provoked further debate from the students and I was pleased at the level of participation and interest of the audience at the debate,’ added Mr McRandle. 

Chief executive of Hawksford, Peter Murley, said: ‘The students did a fantastic job in the debate. Their oratory and articulation were incredibly sophisticated and we were all very impressed with their arguments. The students, who are also busy with exams and coursework, conducted thorough research to support their arguments, which was evident throughout the debate.’ 

He went on to add: ‘Our aim is to get the students thinking ahead to the future, to ensure they’re always challenging and hopefully inspiring them to become the thought-provoking people we all aspire to be.’ 

The debate series focuses on the key theme, and Hawksford’s positioning statement, thinking beyond tomorrow with many of the planned debate topics relating to those covered in Hawksford’s thought paper of the same name. ‘Our positioning statement, thinking beyond tomorrow, is incredibly important to us as it underpins everything we do for our clients. By immersing ourselves in the possibility and challenge of tomorrow, we become more prepared for today. It also ensures we look at the past for lessons and direction for the years ahead. It seems fitting that the youngsters of JCG, the leaders of tomorrow, will be debating these articles throughout the series,’ added Mr Murley. 

The Hawksford thought paper publication, which was launched at the House of Commons in October, has brought together leading individuals from the realms of business, society, education and culture to look at the trends, issues and opportunities which might affect the world’s future. Hawksford specifically asked these leaders to look at the big picture and ask the big questions. High profile contributors include Edmund King, president of the AA, Mark Field MP for cities of London and Westminster, Lord Flight, Lord Filkin and Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Authority.