The Fifth Estate
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How should the media survive the current age? It’s a question that haunts the bones of many in the industry, and a through-line of Merchants of Truth, a bracing new account of American journalism’s moral crisis written by Jill Abramson.
A former executive editor of the New York Times, and a widely-respected media veteran, Abramson looks at fake news, click-bait and the commercial objectives of Facebook and Google. Her unflinching – sometimes bleak – investigations take readers to the front-line of the essential and existential decisions being made at the heart of four key outlets: Buzzfeed, VICE, the Times and the Washington Post. Against Facebook virality and Google’s algorithm, can hallowed principles of objectivity and impartiality survive?
The first woman to hold many of the senior roles she’s occupied, Abramson will share what she’s learned through her celebrated career. She’ll also address the criticism and controversy surrounding the book: she has been accused of being dismissive towards young, digitally savvy journalists and their readerships’ interests, and of factual errors and plagiarism – charges which she refutes.
With host Sally Warhaft, join us for a fascinating and frank discussion with one of modern journalism’s most experienced figures, and an exploration into the future of media.
Paperback Books will be our bookseller for this event.
Jill Abramson was the first female executive editor of the New York Times (2011 to 2014). During her seventeen years at the paper she was also the first woman to serve as its managing editor and as its Washington bureau chief. Before joining the Times, she spent nine years at the Wall Street Journal. She is now a senior lecturer at Harvard University and writes a bi-weekly column for the Guardian about US politics. Merchants of Truth is her definitive inside story of the disruption of the news over the last decade.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.
For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn't get any better than The Fifth Estate.
This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. Twice a month, our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft hosts guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations to dissect pressing questions of policy, power and public affairs. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.
Guests are announced in the weeks prior to events, so keep an eye on our website (or the Wheeler Weekly newsletter) for updates. Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a (free) ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.
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