That was the question posed by Gorkana when it united the worlds of politics (The Rt Honourable David Davis MP) and media (Andrew Neil, John Lloyd and Sue Douglas) last night for a lively debate chaired by Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC.
The decline of print media and the challenges of monetising online content have already been much debated, but this discussion focused on whether these factors have diminished the influence of the press.
The answer from the panellists was a resounding “no”.
According to a recent YouGov poll, more than three-quarters (82 percent) of consumers believe that newspapers have “power and influence” over their readers and as many as 44% think that newspapers are more influential than they were 10 years ago.
That sentiment was echoed by the panellists; for the most part they agreed that the media’s influence has never been higher thanks to, not in spite of, the growth of online channels.
The PRs in the audience were relieved to hear from Sue Douglas that appetite for stories is as high as ever; the challenge we now face is to think more creatively about ideas that will work across multiple channels.
Inevitably Leveson dominated the debate, with a consensus that it will be a great shame if it leads to a regulated press. However, for the time being at least, it seems the UK media is still holding sway.