Last week came the guilty verdict for Andy Coulson, who was convicted of conspiring to hack phones in the trial that also saw Rebekah Brooks cleared of all charges. How have academics covered the phone-hacking scandal, the Leveson trial, and the future of journalism and media? In this Reading List, we pull together a selection of book reviews covering the latest scholarship on these themes.
Interested in what went on behind the scenes at News Corporation?
Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman
Tom Watson and Martin Hickman argue that Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers had been hacking phones, blagging information, and causing emotional stress to those in the public eye for years, but it was only after a trivial report about Prince William’s knee in 2005 that detectives stumbled on a criminal conspiracy. Dial M for Murdoch aims to give the first connected account of the extraordinary lengths to which the News Corporation went to “put the problem in a box” (in James Murdoch’s words), how its efforts to maintain and extend its power were aided by its political and police friends, and how it was all finally exposed. Burcu Baykurt values Watson and Hickman’s extensive illustration of what the press should not do in a democratic country. Read the full review.
Interested in ethics in the era of digital media?
The Ethics of Journalism: Individual, Institutional and Cultural Influences edited by Wendy N. Wyatt
The landscape in which journalists now work is substantially different to that of the twentieth century. The rise of digital and social media necessitates a new way of considering the ethical questions facing journalists, and this volume aims to consider the various individual, cultural, and institutional influences that have an impact on journalistic ethics today. This book of essays is a useful provocation on a subject that has had far less consideration in the academy than it deserves, writes Angela Phillips. Read the full review.
Interested in press regulation and phone hacking?
Br(e)aking the News: Journalism, Politics and New Media edited by Janey Gordon, Paul Rowinski and Gavin Stewart
What is the breaking news in the world today? How did you find out this news? How do you know it is true? Was it reported ethically? What checks and balances are being put on the news media? Br(e)aking the News seeks to answer these questions, with chapters exploring the use of the mobile phone to access news in sub-Saharan Nigeria, the role of media magnates in presenting political views in Europe, and Wikipedia’s representation of conflict. Stephen Minas finds that this book makes a valuable contribution to the study of an industry in flux. Read the full review.
Interested in the media’s influence on government policy?
The Media at War: Communication and Conflict in the Twentieth Century 2nd Edition by Susan L. Carruthers
Susan L. Carruthers’ book succeeds in exposing the multifaceted and constantly shifting relationship between the media and war, finds Sasha Jesperson. As perceptions and policies continue to be shaped by the media, Carruthers second edition of The Media at War reminds us to be cautious with our consumption of the news and read between the lines. Read the full review.