Title: Flat Earth News: An award-winning reporter exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media
Author: Nick Davies
Publication Info: Vintage (2009)
Flat Earth News delves into the problems at the heart of the media industry, breaking Fleet Street’s unwritten rule never to investigate one’s own. The central theme of this book is that of ‘churnalism’, the pressure to get more stories out faster with fewer journalists to cover them, which is degrading the quality of journalism. Tied together by this clear theme, Flat Earth News is divided into four clear sections, each tackling an aspect of the demise of truth in journalism. Beginning with a general definition of the eponymous Flat Earth News (stories which everyone takes to be true, including those who are telling them, but which in fact are not true), and moving through the impact of the changing newsroom, the increasing commercialisation of newspapers, and the influence of PR and propaganda, Davies ends with case-studies of three major British newspapers and the varying ways in which churnalism and Flat Earth News have affected them. Well-researched, clearly laid out, and more than a shade terrifying, Flat Earth News will ensure that none of its readers ever look at a newspaper in the same way again.
- Clear, logical structure. (Within the four sections, the book is further divided into chapters, the titles of which give a clear idea of what is contained within. Each chapter clearly leads on from the one which precedes it, and yet each would also make sense if taken alone.)
- Packed with examples. (This book is based on a large amount of research, and it shows. Each argument is backed up by multiple examples, making it perfect for any students researching for an essay on the topics covered.)
- Banishes any romantic notions which you may have about journalism.
- Chapter length. (This is mainly personal preference, but I don’t like to stop reading until I reach the end of a chapter. Flat Earth News‘ chapters were a little too long for me to do this as a general rule, which did detract from my enjoyment of the book.)
Removing your rose-tinted spectacles? A good book to read before starting a journalism course and some of the examples could prove useful for principles and practice or ethics modules.
Where can I buy it?
Have you read Flat Earth News? Comment below with your thoughts!