LETTERS: Davies paints a good picture, but is it real?

There is nothing quite like an expose of sordid journalistic practice to set media tongues wagging. With the publication of Flat Earth News (News, 8 February), Nick Davies has an interesting take on one increasingly concerning aspect of news reporting - too few journalists chasing too many stories under too much time pressure to fill too many spaces, too reliant on PR-led stories.

Unsurprisingly, where we part company is at his judgment that PR 'distorts' and is 'a destructive art'. Distortion suggests that the prevailing perception is accurate. Yet as we know, a great deal of any PRO's job involves correcting mistakes.

Tucked inside Davies' seemingly compelling book, he paints a recent case of mine (that of the NatWest three) as an example of all-powerful media manipulation. My greatest concern is that his text diminishes the valuable and valid message of the campaign itself - highlighting the insidious nature of the UK's extradition arrangements with the US.

Still, from what I've read Flat Earth News is a ripping yarn. PRWeek's article claims the industry is 'standing up for itself' - yes, but to a point. We need to do far more.

Melanie Riley, director, Bell Yard PR.

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