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Flat Earth News

An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion, and Propaganda in the Global Media

By Nick Davies
12-minute read
Audio available
Flat Earth News : An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion, and Propaganda in the Global Media  by Nick Davies

If you’ve ever entertained romantic fantasies about becoming a globe-trotting journalist, let Flat Earth News (2008) serve as a wake-up call. Truth is, modern journalists are under extreme pressure from the media outlets they serve, which are mostly controlled by profit-minded corporations. These blinks reveal why news desks simply regurgitate stories and why it’s so easy these days for spin doctors to manipulate the news.

  • News junkies looking for a behind-the-scenes peek at media outlets
  • Journalists and reporters wondering if they’re alone in their struggles
  • Anyone who thinks that wire services are a reliable news source

Nick Davies, an investigative journalist and the author of four books, has worked for some of the most prestigious English newspapers, The Guardian among them. He also makes TV documentaries and has been named Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year in British press awards.

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Flat Earth News

An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion, and Propaganda in the Global Media

By Nick Davies
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
Flat Earth News : An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion, and Propaganda in the Global Media  by Nick Davies
Synopsis

If you’ve ever entertained romantic fantasies about becoming a globe-trotting journalist, let Flat Earth News (2008) serve as a wake-up call. Truth is, modern journalists are under extreme pressure from the media outlets they serve, which are mostly controlled by profit-minded corporations. These blinks reveal why news desks simply regurgitate stories and why it’s so easy these days for spin doctors to manipulate the news.

Key idea 1 of 7

Today’s journalists are forced to churn out stories without time to check facts or verify sources.

When you think of a journalist, you might get a very traditional image: someone rushing to the site of an event, jotting down what they’re seeing, interviewing people, getting the scoop. But, these days, journalists rarely work like this.

Fewer and fewer journalists are out in the field investigating their own stories. Instead, they now tend to rehash stories that were originally issued by large wire agencies or in press releases.

When the University of Cardiff examined 2,207 stories from the most respected British media outlets, they found that 60 percent of these stories simply echoed previous wire-agency reports or press releases, adding hardly any new information. A mere 12 percent of stories, they found, were based on the personal research of reporters.

Journalists in national media simply don’t have the time to provide in-depth investigations.

This is the upshot of national media corporations’ cutting costs and reducing the number of employees, leaving the remaining journalists with the burden of shouldering the work of former colleagues. Journalists now typically write around ten stories per day, which adds up to less than one hour per story on an average workday!

No wonder the average reporter has little time to leave the office and investigate a story or speak face-to-face with an actual witness.

What’s more, these cutbacks have drastically reduced the number of regional reporters.

Journalists in national newsrooms once relied on regional reporters across the country to help investigate stories; these days, however, many local newspapers have been bought out by large, profit-minded corporations that lay off most of the regional journalists to save money.

All these cutbacks have left the newsrooms with very few reporters who can actually investigate stories in the field.

A typical journalist today must search the internet for reports from wire agencies, looking for material out of which to produce as many stories as possible.

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