In Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts (Simon & Schuster, $30), prizewinning journalist Jill Abramson takes readers deep into the story of the news business, fighting for survival through a series of crises—first the digital revolution and great recession, and then the President’s unprecedented war on the press.
In the tradition of David Halberstam’s The Powers That Be, Abramson profiles four powerful news organizations as they grapple with upheaval: BuzzFeed and Vice, upstarts that captivated young audiences; and The New York Times and The Washington Post, legacy papers that were slow to adapt to digital changes. Each struggled with crises in business, technology, resources and credibility. As these forces clashed, the only certainty each organization confronted was radical change.
Abramson also covers the essential platforms to share news—Google/YouTube and Facebook—as they forced transformations in all of these organizations and sped up challenges they faced. The vital question that confronts all four in the era of fake news: Can an informed press stand its ground?
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 book points us to the future. A riveting must-read.