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Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  560 ratings  ·  85 reviews
We are living through the greatest communication revolution since Gutenberg. In Breaking News Alan Rusbridger offers an open, personal and agenda-setting account of how we arrived at the news world of today.

The President of the United States regularly lies to the public and accuses anyone who criticisms him of being fake. Politicians openly rubbish the views of 'so called
Kindle Edition, 465 pages
Published September 6th 2018 by Canongate Books
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I picked this up off the library display shelves and was very glad I did! It was like being invited by an old-school pressman for an extended lunch at his club off Fleet street.

Indeed, Alan Rusbridger uses a personable tone, bringing you into the world of newspaper life of the last 30 years, especially focusing on his experiences with the wild ride through his time as editor of the Guardian. This period from the mid 1990s to 2015, saw the greatest upheavals of the digital age upon newspaper jou
History, memoir, and treatise on the problematic and uncertain future of journalism, this book is engaging, well-written and quite possibly essential reading. Sometimes these competing narratives are at cross purposes, sometimes they allow for striking and nuanced observation. This book explores not only the shifts within journalism itself, but our changing society and it’s interaction with news, facts and truth. Does it have the answers? Not at all, but it does offer a foundation from which soc ...more
Chris Bookley
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got a lot more out of this than perhaps others would, but still an interesting read.
Vasil Kolev
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting insight into the Guardian (which seems to be one of the few remaining usable newspapers), their transition to a "digital" (online) publication and how they managed it without killing the paper, and journalism in general. This should be one of the books anyone interested in media should read.
(and the parts about Wikileaks and Snowden are a good introduction to the matter, for anyone who had lived in a cave in the last 10-15 years :) )

It's not as comprehensive as I would've liked
jasmine sun
I'd been looking for this book for a long time. as trust in mainstream media falls to an all-time low, tensions grow between the tech companies and their reporters grow, and publications scramble to wane themselves off fickle Facebook ads, I desperately wanted context on the business side of the media industry.

what institutional incentives and trade-offs did publications face? has corporate accountability journalism always been so controversial? how have journalists adapted their storytelling
I have been raised as a Guardian person, and I adore the Guardian—enough that I donate to them (not much cause I’m skint) every month, and many of my favourite journalists work at the guardian, and I appreciate their content so much and their app is great and yadayadayada. I have mostly been paying attention to the Guardian since Katherine Viner was editor though, but I thought that this would be interesting.

I was just aware enough of the news (thanks to the Guardian weekly haha) at the time of
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating read for three reasons:
- the insight behind the scenes into some modern media scoops like the Snowden papers
- it’s a real life strategic case study of an industry having to respond to fundamental changes which threaten its very existence
- it reminds me about the importance of an objective, free and values based media which seems increasingly rare
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, memoir
This may be the most important book I have read in the last ten years. Alan Rusbridger was editor in chief of The Guardian from 1995 to 2015, during a time of incredible social and technological change. Following the outlines of that change in the world of the newspaper is a way of understanding how radically we have all changed in our social, physical, mental, and spiritual lives.
Ian Rose
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most important books on one of the most important topics of our time. We all have opinions on the state of news and information, but this is a vital record of how we got where we are and, if not a solution, a ray of hope for how facts survive the churn. Not a quick read but worth it.
Jessica Dai
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so this book was super interesting, but not necessarily a page-turner. it took me an inordinately long time to finish this book, because it made me sleepy really quickly.... sorta like a vegetables book, but I'm also a vegetable person so it works out.

it's really wild to think about -- and I hadn't actually considered before I read this -- that the internet and I pretty much grew/developed/matured at the same time, which means that many of the things I took for granted about the internet while
Rusbridger relates the roller coaster ride it was as editor of the Guardian from 1995 till 2015. He took control of the paper at the advent of the internet and the struggle to keep up with technological change never ends. It's a stressful time for all newspapers as advertising revenue dries up and traditional readers of news move elsewhere. Slowly but surely Rusbridger pulls the Guardian into the 21st century- a website is built and financed, live blogging is experimented with and readers' comme ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“To be a journalist in these times was bliss-for us, anyway. I’m afraid we felt a bit superior to those without the same access to information that we enjoyed. It was easy to confuse our privileged access to information with ‘authority’ or ‘expertise’. And when the floodgates opened-and billions of people also gained access to information and could publish themselves-journalism struggled to adjust.”

So says Rusbridger in the introduction to this book, expressing his fears and doubts in a rather f
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book but also felt that it could have benefitted from Rusbridger turning more of a critical eye to his own paper (in the same way that he does for rival publications). Having said that, it does a great job of capturing the anxiety that many journalists felt as the industry shifted to a digital-first model. I could see a few sections -- such as the parts about newsroom management or analytics -- being a bit dry for some readers (particularly those who aren't in the industry) ...more
Claudia Hoffmann
Fascinating Book About the Guardian Newspaper

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian from 1995-2015, has written an important book about publishing one of the most highly esteemed newspapers in the English speaking world. The challenges of establishing the newspaper online, the demise of advertising revenue, and the challenges of a newspaper disclosing corruption and Edward Snowden’s
Copies of The U.S. National Security Agency documents are all described in detail. Mr Rusbridger is an excellent w
Jansen Cümbie
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me awhile to get through the first half of this. However, things pick up once Rusbridger gets into the 2010s and starts covering the challenges of running a newspaper in an post-truth/post-gatekeepers of journalism era. The Wikileaks/Snowden chapters and the Epilogue are stellar.
Rishabh Srivastava
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Phenomenal book by Guardian’s editor of 20 years. Offers a raw look at the industry — with all its glory, warts, potential for impact, and internal politics. The author also does a phenomenal job at underplaying his own achievements, and telling the story as dispassionately as one might reasonably expect from one so involved in it.

Highly recommended for anyone in the media industry.
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prose/Readability: 5
Commitment to Objective/Unbiased Truth: 4
Interesting Content: 5
Perspective Shift: 5

Best book I’ve read in over a year.
Monumental and very important.
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alan Rusbridger attempts to contribute to the discussion of "what news should be," this question being forced upon him and his industry due to the digital revolution upending the funding model of news producers, as well as giving individuals more scope to receive news from non-journalists (e.g. on facebook or twitter). The book is mostly an account of the difficulties Alan faced during his time at the Guardian, and how these difficulties forced these questions into the open.

The first difficulty
I've been spontaneously mentioning how much I love this book for days.

The author is a British journalist who eventually became the editor of The Guardian. The author writes about becoming a journalist at a local paper covering neighborhood meetings and local soccer clubs then moving through his career until he's editing The Guardian newspaper. He talks about the changes to the mechanics of journalism during that time - going from unions and moving to computers to changing business models and et
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good read if you are interested in the story told by the newspapermen - those who remain of a kind who, in all honesty, represent a blip in the longer history of capitalism and democracy, anyway. Rusbridger's account is iconic and unique in many ways: not only is the Guardian perhaps the most successful left-leaning news institution in the contemporary Anglophone world, but his stewardship bridged the transformation where papers became pages and stories became facts, evidence, and lies ...more
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: society
I found this interesting, but it was a touch esoteric, chronicling Alan Rusbridger's time as editor of The Guardian. There were sections on the media in general, more so earlier in the book, but mostly it is a biography of the newspaper from 1995 to 2018.

This is not quite as dry as it sounds, despite a lot of figures. If you want to know the Guardian's income at any point between these dates, it was probably mentioned at some point, and it is not entirely neutral, with its investigative journali
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I hope that more people will read it, as it raises important issues that affect us all.

Alan Rusbridger should go down in history as one of the great newspaper editors. He took the Guardian through a period of unprecedented and unexpected changed and passed it on to his successor in remarkably good shape.

He fought several vital battles that could have destroyed his career and the paper, as well as weakening press freedom, and he won them. Jonathan Aitken MP tried to destroy t
Apr 18, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a chronological account of Rusbridger's tenure as Guardian editor, and there are a few threads of this book:

1. Commercial decisions - this talks about the structure of the news organisation; his switch to digital in the interests of running it; the constant pressure of profit, the number of readers, and the advertisers.

This review goes into detail about the business side of things.

2. Philosophical questions - this is about the nature of journalism. You could probably sub-divide it into
Geoffrey Kelley
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book about the enormous challenges facing newspapers and journalism today. Alan Rusbridger was editor of the Guardian for twenty years ( 1995-2015) and he describes these tumultuous years, particularly the technological revolution that altered his industry. The digital wave swept away the traditional model of a newspaper, where journalists toiled all day to put an edition
“ to bed” in the evening, so that a newspaper could arrive on our doorstep in the morning. But first the
Michael Southall
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Stuart
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you care about freedom of thought or any individual or collective degree of trust in our society, this is a very important book that you should read.

For circa ~170yrs the printed newspaper was one of, if not the, key way people consumed their news, formed their opinions and sought to understand more of their immediate and wider world . So how did, has, this changed with the coming of the digital age and how, if they have, have newspapers evolved for changed world we now all live in ?

As the e
It was a bit sobering reading this right after hearing the announcements of sweeping layoffs in many major news outlets.

Breaking News is equal parts information and memoir. At times it's rather dense. But it's important. Certainly a must-read for aspiring journalists, but arguably also for anyone who has never stopped to question how they are informed about the world.

Having spent almost 20 years as editor-in-chief of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger has a lot of first-hand experience with the rapi
Bradley Morgan
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Joining the staff of The Guardian during the late 1970s, Rusbridger became the editor in 1995 before stepping down in 2015 after elevating The Guardian from being the ninth-largest newspaper in the UK to one of the leading global journalistic enterprises. Founded in 1821 by a trust, The Guardian adhered to principles that safeguarded journalistic integrity during times when the newspaper industry was becoming increasingly obsolete and unprofitable. Rusbridger’s book is more than just a document ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I’ve done it again: spent the first half of the year reading a single, long book. (Last year, I’m pretty sure it was “American Gods.”) Bummer, of course, because it points out how slowly I read and how little time I devote to reading. But the silver lining is, I’ve spent these books reading books that keep me coming back, no matter how long it takes me.

“Breaking News” definitely kept me coming back. It’s a sweeping look at the massive change that has enveloped journalism over the past 40 y
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is very good and deserves re-reading, and perhaps also revision, at some point because there is a lot to take in and Alan Rusbridger is describing a complex set of circumstances which is evolving all the time. It is part memoir (which is also useful - how newspapers worked in the 1970s, for instance, during the working life of people who are still working now and yet so different from how things are today as to be difficult for current students to understand), and part a wider history of ch ...more
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