My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism by Andrew Marr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Andrew Marr’s book (which is anything but short with 385 pages of dense text) is a surprisingly enjoyable journey into not just the history of British Journalism but also a good treatise of what makes the British Press tick.
The book suffers from bizarrely long paragraphs – considering his occupation where writing one sentence paragraphs which try to encapsulate immensely complex news information is a standard daily chore – and the chapters would benefit from much more breaking down into subheadings. I say this because this really isn’t a book to try and sit down and read in one go (or two, or three…) but one where you want to digest some fascinating information or insight from Marr and go away to ponder it for a while many times over.
Certainly, despite the length of the paragraphs, I found myself quoting huge chunks of his book on my Facebook page because he had something important to say. I could have done this with almost every page even right up to the very final one and I came away with no doubt that Marr is a terrific communicator and a sensible chap to boot.
This book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. If political journalism and the art of writing is of no interest then don’t think of picking it up out of a whim. But if you do set out to read it, it should come as no surprise that you might just come away realising (as I did long ago) that it simply isn’t worth your while buying another newspaper again. Though Marr ultimately praises the Press and clearly loves it, I came away more certain than ever that the news we read in the pages each day is filtered through the biases and political persuasions of so many hands (not least the reporter’s) that you might just as well go ask your neighbour next door what they think.