Book launch with Brian Winston and Matthew Winston

Winston and Winston will discuss their recently published book, The Roots of Fake News: Objecting to Objective Journalism. Raza Rumi, Park Center for Independent Media will conduct the interview.

The Roots of Fake News

Fake News

The book argues that ‘fake news’ is not a problem caused by the power of the internet, or by the failure of good journalism to assert itself. Rather, it is within the news’s ideological foundations – professionalism, neutrality, and most especially objectivity – that the true roots of the current ‘crisis’ are to be found.

Placing the concept of media objectivity in a fuller historical context, this book examines how current perceptions of a crisis in journalism actually fit within a long history of the ways news media have avoided, obscured, or simply ignored the difficulties involved in promising objectivity, let alone ‘truth’. The book examines journalism’s relationships with other spheres of human endeavour (science, law, philosophy) concerned with the pursuit of objective truth, to argue that the rising tide of ‘fake news’ is not an attack on the traditional ideologies which have supported journalism. Rather, it is an inevitable result of their inherent flaws and vulnerabilities.

Special Discount on THE ROOTS OF FAKE NEWS for festival-goers

Routledge press is offering a 20% discount on The Roots of Fake News for all FLEFF participants, good between March 22 and April 11, 2021. 

Brian Winston, University of Lincoln

Brian Winston

Brian Winston is The Lincoln Professor at the University of Lincoln in the UK. His primary areas of interest are freedom of speech, journalism history, media technology and documentary film.  He is the founding chair of British Association of Film, Television and Media Studies and has been a governor of the BFI. Winston sits on the editorial board of British Journalism Review.

He is a Guest Professor at the Digital Cultures Research Centre of the University of the West of England and at Chanchung Normal University, China. Prof Winston has been involved with media since he joined Granada UK’s World In Action in 1963.  He has written for magazines and newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic. His television work in documentary was awarded in 1985 with a US prime-time Emmy (for WNET, New York).

In 2012, a feature-length documentary on Robert Flaherty, A Boatload of Wild Irishmen,  which he wrote and co-produced won a Special Jury prize from the British University Council for Film and Video. Winston was the founding director of the Glasgow (University) Media Group whose pioneering studies of television news, Bad News (1976) and More Bad News (1980), have been re-issued as classics of media sociology.

He has written seventeen other books and contributed forty-eight articles to scholarly journals and more than fifty book chapters across the entire field of media communications. With Media Technology and Society (1998) he established the concepts of ‘supervening social necessity’ and ‘suppression of radical potential’ as factors in technological change. His writing on the documentary includes editing Claiming the Real II (2008) The BFI Documentary Film Book (2013), and The Act of Documenting (with Gail Vanstone and Wang Chi) (2017). His latest books on free expression are A Right to Offend (2012) and The Rushdie Fatwa and after: A Lesson to the Circumspect (2014)

Matthew Winston, University of Leicester


Matthew Winston teaches in the School of Media, Communication and Sociology at the University of Leicester. He is the author of Gonzo Text: Disentangling Meaning in Hunter S. Thompson’s Journalism.  His research has examined the use of post-structuralist theory in order to consider the hybrid forms of literary journalism. He also focuses on the history of American journalism, theories of subjective journalism, and ideas surrounding media representations of drugs and drug culture(s).  He has published articles on these subjects and fake news, in Journalism Studies and the British Journalism Review. As a teaching fellow, he teaches on celebrity studies, global media, the intersection of identity and popular culture, and  fake news.


Park Center for Independent Media

Raza Ahmad Rumi, Director, Park Center for Independent Media

Raza Ahmad Rumi is a Pakistani policy analyst, journalist and an author. He is Director of the Park Center for Independent Media and teaches in the Journalism department at Ithaca College.  His books include Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveler; The Fractious Path: Pakistan's Democratic Transition; Identity, Faith, and Conflict; and Being Pakistani:  Society, Culture, and the Arts.  He is also Visiting Faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. During 2015-2017, he was a scholar in residence at Ithaca College through the Ithaca City of Asylum Program, where he taught courses in the journalism and writing departments. He has also  taught at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. He has been a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy. He is a member of think tank at Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, Georgetown University; and a nonresident fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.