Researching for Jack Shafer, Slate’s Media Critic

Jack Shafer

Great day yesterday. I admit I was initially a little bummed to have to come into the office, because it was so beautiful outside, but I ended up having an awesome time. For the second time this semester, I did research for Slate’s media critic Jack Shafer. Jack’s a great guy. He’s always writing something clever, so I like helping him out on projects. I really enjoy media criticism, because I find journalists are really compelling people. But I digress.

Jack was writing a column yesterday addressing the recent trend of journalists running for office and former elected officials become media personalities. He asked me to find out more about a trend in the UK media, which is that local government “free sheets” are putting legitimate newspapers out of business. State-sponsored news is one the rise and commercial news is declining. “Proper papers” are losing their battle with propaganda organs.

In order to help Jack out with this topic, I spent the afternoon digging up as much as I could find on a journalist named Heather Brooke. She’s the author of the new book Silent State: Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy. Brooke has spent a career advocating transparency in government. So, in order to help Jack, I read her op-eds, listened to some of her media appearances and visited her website. As it turns out, she’s a very interesting woman.