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I have just spent an intense 24 hours reading 'flat earth news' from cover to cover. Thank you for writing it! It brought to mind an experience some years ago, in the mid-90s, when I signed up for a 6-week introductory course in journalism at my local adult education provider in Balham, south London. In the very first session, the tutor asked us to say what we thought were the essential attributes of a good journalist. I offered 'integrity' as my answer and he literally laughed in my face saying 'integrity? that's the last thing a good journalist needs'.
Having bought the book, and with the Leveson Inquiry creating fresh fallout almost every week, I signed up today expecting to find a madding crowd of bloggers and commentators.
Instead, I find a silent space. In the last two years there have been only three comments, the most recent posted over a year ago. In total, there have been just 36 comments in four years.
Am I to take this as representative of the interest in the book's assertions of falsehoods, distortion and propaganda in the media? Where are the supporting voices? Where are the questioning voices? Where is everyone?
I've only read Part One so far, and have one question about the content, and one about an absence of content.
Will anyone buy a newspaper again? Or watch the news?
Nick, I must congratulate you. I read the book when it came out in 2008, many those I told about it (it was many) either weren't interested or didn't believe it, now both you (and I) can say 'I told you so'! On the matter of News International, you were spot on, and I suspect you might have known all along how utterly scandalous and right into the sewars NI had been delving.
Please can it be made available for kindle/e-book readers - and from amazon.co.uk and .com sites?? World coverage. Otherwise can't wait for the paperback to arrive!
I am now two-thirds of the way through the book, and I am enjoying it so far, and learning a great deal - with one caveat.
On page 183 of the edition I have (the hardback published by Chatto and Windus in 2008), there is a page of what I can only describe as bigotry against the present Pope. For the author to be so concerned about accuracy, whilst at the same time repeating Flat Earth News rumours about Benedict XIV is shocking.
Flat Earth News is fascinating, very revealing and very true.
I'd like to add more to this, but not tonight.
I think things are going to improve, but I need to collect my thoughts.
Well, I happen to spend alot of time on the internet reading the media...but after reading the book I now feel that I have been wasting my time. I now find myself thinking that maybe I should buy The Guardian Weekly in the hope that it consists mainly of that 12% of authentic reporting...any suggestions as to where I can go to get some decent reporting?
Paul Dacre's scandal sheet merits a book of its own, and I hope Nick Davies does shake up Fleet Street again sometime soon with another forensic look at a deepy-flawed trade/craft/profession... What is particularly worrying is that I've worked in a churnalism newsroom and still thought of myself as a good reporter, whereas in reality I'd become nothing more than a text processor. It takes an intelligent outsider to see what has gone wrong - I use the word outsider to refer to someone not working in a churnalism newsroom rather than Fleet St.