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Without fear or favour: The Australian

Miriam Cosic writes in The Australian about journalist Nick Davis who says more than half the news in Britain’s top five newspapers was generated by public relations companies or taken from wire services.

Davis is in Australia to promote his book Flat Earth News.

While this is a great background piece that makes me want to buy the book – it paints a depressing picture of the state of journalism. I’ve worked in the industry for almost thirty years and agree with Davis’ basic premise that today’s journalists are now expected to do a once-over-lightly job and rock the boat as little as possible.

Davis points the finger of blame at the media corporations. This analysis can’t be separated from the widely reported decline of traditional news media.

Conventional thinking says people are moving away from newspapers, magazines and broadcast news because of the Internet. I believe the audiences would be declining even without the arrival of online news because the news media is turning off audiences.

One aspect of this  The Australian story overlooked is that public relations companies now massively out-gun newspapers in terms of staff, expertise and experience. This is particularly noticable in New Zealand where the newspapers seem largely staffed by young reporters in their 20s and early 30s while many of the brightest and best of the older generation work for PR companies.

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