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Airhead

The Imperfect Art of Making News
Narrated by: Emily Maitlis
Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Airhead, written and read by Emily Maitlis.  

As anchor for the BBC's key political news programme, Newsnight, Emily Maitlis has interviewed some of the most powerful and controversial figures on the political scene. She plans each interview meticulously, knowing what she wants to ask and where she wants it to go, but as one of the most experienced journalists in her field she knows that no interview will ever go to plan. Anything can throw it - from the atmosphere in the room to her own feelings at the time to the mood of the subject. Often she leaves the interview with an entirely different perception of the interviewee, while sometimes it is all too sadly reconfirmed. 

Airhead explores just these moments. All we normally see are the interviews, but what were the conversations that preceded them or the shouting matches that ended them? From her interviews with US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and the last five British Prime Ministers, to Hollywood film directors and powerful internet and entertainment moguls like Sheryl Sandberg and Simon Cowell, Emily Maitlis explores how these powerful personalities came across. In the process she throws an illuminating torch on them, not just for what they represent but as individuals in their own right - with all their flaws and charms.    

©2019 Emily Maitlis (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

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Fascinating

An interesting view behind the scenes of a TV news reporter - but much more than that, a poignant assessment of TV news in the time of Trump, social media and ever increasing avenues of reporting. Above all, a fascinating insight into the “front woman” on our screens, her doubts and fears, triumphs and disappointments and the personal cost of being “above the parapet”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A rather brilliant and all too brief glimpse into what it is to make the news

A rather brilliant and all too brief glimpse into what it is to make the news. Some parts made me laugh out loud at the image and absurdity of it all. Lots of subjects covered. Makes me want to watch Newsnight more than I do. Will change that. Trump is depressingly mentioned a lot; what a dickhead that man is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining and illuminating

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Lends itself very well to audible (not all books work as well aloud).
An illuminating trip through a wide variety of news stories and what it is really like to bring them to the screen, the considerations of which questions to ask (or not) and the implications of that. What goes right and also what goes wrong.
Very much enjoyed it.

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Strong-headed Airhead

The acclaimed journalist Emily Maitlis candidly reveals her thoughts about her most memorable interviews. An essential listen for anyone who wonders what goes on behind the scenes at Newsnight ... and This Time with Alan Partridge.

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  • 03-06-19

Entertaining book

As a fan of Newsnight, I found this to be an entertaining and interesting audio book.

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Great book.

Really interesting and well written book. Explains some I Emily’s sideways looks to camera perfectly.

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A missed opportunity

I was probably expecting something a bit more autobiographical and a bit more meaty. It’s really a series of “my best interviews” and her prep for them and reaction to them. There’s much less behind the scenes stuff than I expected. It also smacks of luvvie lifestyle. Talk of dinner parties in Notting Hill and boasting of being mates with Piers Morgan are a bit yuk.

That being said she’s clearly incredibly talented and has a wonderful voice that sucks you in wanting to here more. Some of the interviews are fascinating such as The Dali Lama but I felt she pulled her punches most of the time.

Good but could have been better.

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Interesting Listen

A collection of interesting stories and behind the scenes insights that gives the listener a better understanding of what Emily and her colleagues need to do to get the insights delivered on a regular basis.

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Witty

Brilliant insight into what she does. She's a legend, clearly. Funnier than a comedian. Extremely dry witty narration. I loved listening to this book during some frankly extremely boring moments of my life, cleaning and so on. Recommend.

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Witty and self deprecating

Lots to like in this other than some of the ghastly interviewees.There are some great lines in this that made me laugh out loud. Particularly the Barbie click clacking one. Her own tale of being stalked is the most human element of the book and feels somewhat out of context although reprehensible and shocking.