Media

Jan 22, 2018

Up close and personal: why political leaders will soon be back off bounds

Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury may have ruffled more than a few feathers in Washington, but how can access journalism survive when politicians have more followers than magazines have readers?

Christopher Warren

Journalist and media watcher

Just as we were writing the obituary of access journalism, along comes an old-fashioned fly on the wall blockbuster of the genre, Fire and Fury, on the Trump presidency.

“Access journalism” is journalism that relies on the special privilege of talking to public figures to report what they (presumably) think either on or off the record. It’s the journalist as the public’s ear on power. It’s the justification for the press gallery and, at its worst, it results in the “sources say” of the omniscient journalistic insider. In Australia, it’s produced most of the outstanding political books, ever since Warren Denning’s 1930s classic, Caucus Crisis.

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