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My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism Hardcover – 2 Sep 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1st edition (2 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140500536X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405005364
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 17.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Book Description

A journalistic memoir from one of the most recognisable TV news correspondents in the UK. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Andrew Marr was born in Glasgow. He graduated from Cambridge University and has enjoyed a long career in political journalism, working for the Scotsman, the Independent, the Economist, the Express, and the Observer before being appointed as the BBC's political editor in May 2000. Andrew's broadcasting includes series on contemporary thinkers for BBC 2 and Radio 4, and political documentaries for Channel 4 and BBC Panorama. He was named Columnist of the Year in the What The Papers Say awards of 1995 and Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards of the same year. He was named Journalist of the Year in the Creative Freedom Awards 2000 and received the Journalist Award in the Channel 4 Political Awards of 2001. Andrew was named as the best individual contributor on television at the Voice Of The Listener And Viewer's Awards 2002.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Andrew Marr has achieved something that is oddly rare - he has written an entertaining history of journalism. I say "oddly rare" because you would think that journalists - people who write for a living - would write interesting books about their trade. The truth is that they can be weighed down with endless stories involving names that no one has heard of and another opportunity gets missed. Marr's book is very refreshing - he is certainly not above self-criticism and most importantly, the book does what all the best books of its kind do - it imparts a lot of information without you realising it.
The book is funny, informative, opinionated and most of all a fine read (which is more than can be said for some of our national press these days).
Buy it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a detailed, informed, sceptical and sometimes very funny account of British journalism, from its 17th century origins to the present day. Marr, who is the BBC's political correspondent and used to edit The Independent, has had a varied journalistic career and, in carefully planned chapters, offers excellent insights into such questions as what editors do, the underlying truths and untruths of political journalism, the way papers and our perceptions of news have changed down the years, the personalities of journalists, the roles of columnists and specialist correspondents, broadcast news and its politics and spirit, plus much more. Along the way we meet a range of memorable characters from Daniel Defoe to Kelvin MacKenzie of The Sun, and from Rupert Murdoch to the Dimbleby clan. Marr sheds some really valuable light on the nature of British media, and this feels above all like a truthful account as well as a detailed and enjoyable one. This book is indispensable for journalists and would-be journalists, and for anyone interested in the news and how it gets made.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Andrew Marr has proved himself to be an excellent writer of popular history, and he succeeds here in making the somewhat esoteric subject of the development of British journalism very lively and accessible to the general reader. He uses his own personal experiences well to illustrate various points, and his overall assessment of the current state of his profession is forthright and interesting.

Andrew Marr has set himself a very high standard with his two previous books on modern British history, and this one doesn't quite hit those heights, so only a four. For anyone else, I'd have probably given five.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book sets up a scene of where journalism has come from and where it is going. From one of the BBC greats whose humility comes across from the beginning, this book is perfect journalistic bedtime reading. You won't read a newspaper the same way again!
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Format: Hardcover
If you are a journalist, a wannabe journalist or just interested in current affairs then this book will make a fascinating read for you. It can be dipped into , although I have read it cover to cover, to find remarkable insights into the "fourth estate" past and present.
And he doesn't limit himself just to facts - conclusions and judgements about his own trade are made very honestly. And his (sometimes hilarious) anecdotes about what happens behind the scenes make compelling reading.
I find Marr (the BBC's Political Editor) intriguing and he is one of the few people on television who is consistently worth listening to . He clearly has an amazing network and knowledge which lead to a very high standard of journalism. He has kept that up with this tome.
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The work of journalists, perhaps moreso than that of other professions, is often viewed in a stereotypical light. Andrew Marr's book however sweeps away much of the romance and glamour in favour of a down to earth this-is-how-it-is approach. He is well suited to the task, having moved through many of the important stages in the print and broadcast hierarchy over the course of his career.
Although the book is billed as a "short history of British journalism", most of the book is taken up with impressively detailed accounts of what a journalist does, how they do it, and why, addressing also issues of personal motivation, bias, editorial influence, government pressure... The historical section in fact only ends up occupying one chapter of this fairly dense book. Whilst it is undoubtedly fascinating, Marr is not a historian and a lot of the substance and cohesion you would expect from a historical essay is lacking; that said however it takes up only about 15% of the book and does provide valuable context for the rest of his narrative.
The main body of the book gives a blow by blow account of the various roles which newspaper (mainly broadsheet) journalists play, right from the commanding national editor down to the latest teenage provincial apprentice. He recounts a range of issues which the layman might not think about too often: What makes a story? What keeps a story alive? What should the balance of stories within a newspaper be? How does the editor decide what to put on the front page? These are then linked in with a more logistical account (based on his period as an editor), explaining how it all gets put together into something printable, how long it takes, what the priorities are for printers.
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