Flat Earth News

Senior Fleet Street figures speak out

"I think Nick Davies has demonstrated different kinds of crisis. There's an economic crisis we can't deny. The Internet obviously is the biggest threat to newspapers for half a century, since the arrival of commercial television. And there's an information crisis. I think he's clearly established that much of the news that reaches the public is tainted by corruption and incompetence. Newspapers often haven't got the staff or the inclination to check what they are publishing."

Donald Trelford, former editor of the Observer and emeritus professor of journalism studies at Sheffield University, speaking on You and Yours, BBC Radio 4, 26.2.08.


"He reveals the shabbiness of much of British journalism; the lies that are told; the insouciance with which lies are told and not corrected; the ignorance with which stories are left on the record... It seems to me odd that some people in Fleet Street should slam a book that tries to take our profession - and the failure of our profession - seriously. For a long time, the motto of Fleet Street has been that dog doesn't eat dog. It's time that dogs did eat each other a bit, and he certainly does that."

John Lloyd, director of journalism at the Reuters Institute and contributing editor of the Financial Times, speaking at the Foreign Press Association, 28.2.08.


"I read your book and I commend it enormously. It infuriated me at times, and I shouted "Balls!" But the thing I want to say is 'Has anything changed?' We were always all kept short of money. I happen to think that we have always been a pretty nasty trade, and I don't think we are any nastier now than we have ever been."

David Chipp, former editor in chief of the Press Association, speaking at the Frontline Club, London, 27.2.08.


"I agree with the book entirely. Just look at the way the press has reacted to the Archbishop of Canterbury's perfectly sensible remarks [about the possibility of introducing some Sharia law into the British legal system]. There's no longer any proper argument in the press.... Journalism is now all about the shade, not the substance."

Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, quoted in the Independent on Sunday, 10.2.08.


"Your publishers should be over the moon at your book. Brace yourself for attacks. Take the shafts coming your way as endorsement."

Former Fleet Street editor, private email.


"A great book and, most important of all, a spur to debate. I do hope it does well."

Former Fleet Street editor, private email (in which he also argues with the conclusions of the Cardiff research quoted in the book).

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