Roy Greenslade

Making the Headlines

Merchants of Truth: Inside the News Revolution


The Bodley Head 534pp £25 order from our bookshop

American journalists are scorned by their British counterparts for beginning their articles with what is known in the trade as ‘drop intros’. Rather than tell readers the story in the opening sentences, they seek to intrigue them with some tangential material before they go on to relate the salient facts. Although these conceits can sometimes be entertaining, the delay is usually frustrating.

In Merchants of Truth, Jill Abramson practises the same strategy in long form. The delay is particularly maddening because the vast majority of buyers will surely be eager to read her first-hand account of being fired as executive editor of the New York Times. Yet she makes us wait until page 258 before giving us the riveting blow-by-blow narrative of her departure in May 2014. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Peters was unashamed and evidently unshamable, an impostor who wholly inhabited his fabrications and who indignant… ,
    • ‘At every waking moment Barbara Hepworth was aware of herself as a woman paving the way in a man’s world’ From the… ,
    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,
    • 'A modest and retiring man, Thompson spent his life describing apple varieties and recommending the best – Ribston… ,
    • 'Macfarlane is a poet with the instincts of a thriller writer, an autodidact in botany, mycology, geology and palae… ,
    • 'Some scholars attribute Shakespeare’s pre-eminence to four centuries of propaganda and not to the fact that Hamlet… ,
    • RT : We would appreciate any retweets ,