Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Flat Earth News

A book I'm reading at the moment is challenging my preconceptions of local news coverage. For a while now I've been disinclined to believe most of what I read in the newspapers, and (sadly) what I see or hear from the BBC and other TV stations. But, I've considered local newspapers to be guardians of community opinion, if not exactly guardians of truth per se.

However, I'm tempted to believe otherwise by Nick Davies, based on his analysis of the reporting coverage of the UK by way of PA and PR.

I do think he paints it in a light that makes out journalism to be a venerable profession, as precious to life as healthcare or agriculture (which is is not). I'd say he goes overboard on page 85 by referring to the 'now vulnerable media'!

But, in lieu of a full book review, I'd say it's worth reading for insight into the state of journalism today, and as a prompt to think more incisively about what we read, and not consume it as so much fodder for our insatiable appetites for gossip. If he's right, even a good percentage of what we read in the Herald is straight from a PR person's pen, or an agencies newsfeed.

P.S. I do admit to being a amateur PR person now and then, striving to help a business for which I work get better known...

P.P.S. I wonder how many fully original stories the Herald contains...

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