Channel 4 is to set up a specialist training fund for investigative journalists amid fears that young programme-makers are turning their backs on current affairs to follow more lucrative careers in entertainment genres.
David Abraham, the chief executive, said entertainment and comedy were seen as more "glamorous" sectors for people joining the television industry. "If you are a young producer now, you probably want to go into comedy or entertainment. There are less people wanting to do news and current affairs long-form," he said. "It's more glamorous, isn't it?
"Maybe in previous generations there was a stronger sense of the noble tradition of journalism and people wanting to be in that field." His comments, coming against the background of falling newspaper circulations and phone-hacking scandals at the News Of The World, will add to concerns that the news industry is in crisis.
Mr Abraham suggested that news programmes had suffered in a television industry where money was made selling international formats.
"The economics of it have meant it's difficult to format a news programme. It's not done for profit, it's done for public purposes," he added. "The same is the case for newspapers. It's a truism to say newspapers are not self-funding any more.
"That doesn't mean the pluralism of news supply is not a terrifically important cultural and political issue."