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 and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. 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.
Our long-running current affairs series, The Fifth Estate, is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre programme. With our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft at the helm, it's a series of in-depth conversations with guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's rigorous long-form interviewing at its best.
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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