Merchants of Truth

The Business of News and the Fight for Facts
Narrated by: January LaVoy
Length: 19 hrs and 24 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (92 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The definitive report on the disruption of the news media over the last decade. With the expert guidance of former executive editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson, we follow two legacy (The New York Times and The Washington Post) and two upstart (BuzzFeed and VICE) companies as they plow through a revolution in technology, economics, standards, commitment, and endurance that pits old vs new media.

Merchants of Truth is the groundbreaking and gripping story of the precarious state of the news business told by one of our most eminent journalists.

Jill Abramson follows four companies: The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and Vice Media over a decade of disruption and radical adjustment. The new digital reality nearly kills two venerable newspapers with an aging readership while creating two media behemoths with a ballooning and fickle audience of millennials. We get to know the defenders of the legacy presses as well as the outsized characters who are creating the new speed-driven media competitors. The players include Jeff Bezos and Marty Baron (The Washington Post), Arthur Sulzberger and Dean Baquet (The New York Times), Jonah Peretti (BuzzFeed), and Shane Smith (VICE) as well as their reporters and anxious readers.

Merchants of Truth raises crucial questions that concern the well-being of our society. We are facing a crisis in trust that threatens the free press. Abramson’s audiobook points us to the future.

©2019 Jill Abramson (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Merchants of Truth

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    4 out of 5 stars

Exhaustive collection of notes

Story The flow reveals that the author assembled notes over a period of years, and then arranged in an order that makes sense. The author knows the field, and others who share this knowledge set will have an easier listen unlike me. Performance The narrator start to finish uttered declarative phrases with rising intonation (uptalk). This style often created ambiguity of the author's intended meanings. Overall There's a lot to learn. I think it's a difficult book to listen to, and I'm torn between wanting to learn the material and being willing to use a credit on this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Writing at its finest

Whilst the book might be marred by accusations of plagiarism, don’t let that deter you from Abramson’s brilliant reporting, writing and analysis.

4 people found this helpful

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Enlightening with a grain of salt.

I just finished listening to Merchants Of Truth by @JillAbramson, a deep dive into the media industry in America, the transition from print to digital and the Trump era of media. Despite dripping liberal bias, it's an enlightening insight into NYTimes, Washpo, Vice & Buzzfeed.

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Good story if read with NYTimes bias filter

The reader and tempo was very good. A good read for someone interested in the mechanics and 21st century transformation of the print news business. Best listen to with a NYTimes progressive bias filter. The story is focus on progressive or liberal papers and make like mention of the conservative print media. Best take away was how much the news now incorporates and hidden advertising. Worth the read.

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Important discussion of news transformation

The author, former Exécutive Editor of the New York Times, gives readers an inside look at the transformation of the NYTIMES and Washington Post from print newspapers to digital behemoths by juxtaposing their stories against the rise of Vice and BuzzFeed. She focuses on the struggles to maintain journalistic integrity while competing for digital revenue streams. It provides an informative deep dive into power struggles, personalities and competing agendas at these media giants and offers sobering reflections on the effects of commerce on the information each of us consumes daily.

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MERCHANTS OF POPULARITY

Jill Abramson describes a “near death” experience for print media in “Merchants of Truth”. She begins with the rise of BuzzFeed and Vice, with a newspaper reporter’s view of YouTube, and a vignette about Jackass. Then, she zeroes in on the “New York Times” and “Washington Post” and how their news coverage has changed. Abramson explores the principles of the new “Merchants of Truth”. The criticism Abramson launches against BuzzFeed, and particularly Vice, is that both slip into Gonzo (exaggerated and fictionalized) reporting. The public is titillated but not accurately informed. BuzzFeed and Vice are becoming bigger players in the media news business. The key to their success is public attention but advertising revenue is its vehicle for growth. Pleasing advertisers encroaches on the objectivity of news. BuzzFeed and Vice have reduced the barrier between advertising and news. That barrier breach is exhibited by Abramson's story of The New York Times apology to China, and the Washington Post's turn to the metrics of popular news coverage. The media for this generation is changing. What one hopes is that the best of each is eventually adopted. Every news source must be measured against truth. Determining truth is made up of true facts that no singular news outlet is capable of compiling. “All the news that is fit to print" is an apt logo for the New York Times but it is misleading. History is continually revised because new facts are discovered, and the perspective of society changes. Americans need to be diligent in seeking the truth. The truth does not lie in one source.