Airhead: The Imperfect Art of Making News (Hardcover)

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Description


It's thirty seconds to air. The interviewee has walked off in a huff. The next guest hasn't arrived. There's a wall of riot police behind me. The cameraman only speaks Hungarian and has cut my head out of the shot, but I don't know his word for "wide angle." Then comes the quiet. Utter silence in my head. We've just lost comms with the whole team back in London. I can choose to scream. Or to surrender to the moment. Then, a hand is waved at me as a visual cue. And I start talking.

The things that are said on camera are only part of the story. Behind every interview there's more. How the story came about. How it ended. The compromises that were made. The regrets, the rows, the deeply inappropriate comedy. Making news is an essential but imperfect art. It rarely goes according to plan. Emily Maitlis never expected to find herself wandering around the Maharani of Jaipur's bedroom with Bill Clinton or get invited to the Miss USA beauty pageant by its owner, Donald Trump. She never expected to be thrown into a provincial Cuban jail, to drink red wine at Steve Bannon's kitchen table, or spend three hours in a lift with Alan Partridge. She certainly didn't expect the Dalai Lama to tell her the story of his most memorable poo. The beauty of television is its ability to simplify, but that's also its weakness: it can distill everything down to one snapshot, one soundbite. Then the news cycle moves on. Airhead is Maitlis' step back from the white noise. Before and after the camera started rolling, this is what really happened.

About the Author


Emily Maitlis presents the BBC Flagship nightly current affairs show Newsnight and specializes in election coverage in the UK and the USA.

Praise For…


Anyone who has spent this election campaign shouting at the TV needs a copy of Emily Maitlis's Airhead in their Christmas stocking. It's funny and subtly smart, taking the reader behind the cameraGuardian, Best Politics Books of 2019

Maitlis has written a deliciously funny book about the high-wire act of broadcasting and the madness that surrounds it. Lots of famous presenters have written books but Maitlis' is different . . . Irresistible. She sounds great company . . . Her book's a rompThe Times

Maitlis paints a vivid picture of the intensity and unpredictability that come with her assignments, which punctures the perceived glamour of life reporting the news . . . Her writing is excellent: precise, economical and accessibleGuardian

She is a superb writer, used to throwing together pacy, engaging scripts at a second's notice. Each chapter is dedicated to one of her interviews - it is a sort of greatest-hits compilationThe Sunday Times

[Emily] is so absolutely of the moment, a quasi-memoir could not be better timed. Airhead is a compilation of her greatest hits. And boy are there many . . . narrated in her snappy, chatty style . . . her asides are acerbic, her observations hilarious Evening Standard

She recounts the interviews of her career, from the great, the good and the questionable, offering insights into the questions that illuminated their characters and the ones they dodged. A chapter on being the target of a stalker reveals her more vulnerable side in this compelling bookObserver

Airhead is, like its author, funny, wise, self-deprecating and insightfulYou Magazine

Smart, funny and brilliantly told stories about what goes on behind the scenes of television news. A joyElizabeth Day

Revelatory, riveting and frequently hilarious. A joy from beginning to endJames O'Brien

A remarkable journey through the jungle of newsmaking. It combines razor-sharp analysis with compelling narrative drive and wit. A must-read

A wonderfully sane book for our unhinged timesSimon Schama

Emily has a style that would make you enjoy her report on the end of the world. Absolutely irresistibleJeremy Vine

The irony of this riveting, enlightening and sometimes painfully honest book is that you couldn't meet less of an airhead than Emily Maitlis - a bold, fearless journalist, a splendidly probing and well-prepared interlocutor, and a warm, sharp and witty woman at the top of her game on and off camera. I'm just very disappointed there's only one chapter about me—Piers Morgan

A light and easy read but a thought-provoking oneThe Times

An irreverent and amusing account of her media careerThe Times, 100 Best Books for Summer

Smart and Broadcast News-funny, Airhead is peppered with insider anecdotes you could only pick up working on the kind of big news stories that the journalist has covered for decadesDaily Telegraph

Not an autobiography but a serious book about journalism, disguised in anecdotal chapters about her encounters with the great and the good and the rather awful . . . leads the reader towards a deeper understanding of an essential part of our culture: current affairs . . . this is a book that engages at every levelDaily Mail

A deliciously funny behind-the-scenes take on broadcasting and her encounters with politicians and celebritiesi

Fascinating . . . [an] excellent bookMail on Sunday

A behind-the-scenes look at how news gets madeObserver

She lifts the veil on the inner workings of the BBC, as she reflects on her long career as a journalistRadio Times

Behind-the-scenes accounts of her famous encounters, including those with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama, among many othersDaily Mail Books of the Year

She offers insights into everyone from Donald Trump to Simon Cowell, showing them not just as what they represent, but as individuals with flaws and charmThe Press and Journal

One of the best we've read this year . . . This insightful, hilarious and engrossing memoir from one of our most well-liked TV broadcasters takes you behind the scenes of the biggest news stories in recent yearsSheerLuxe, 15 Best Beach Reads of 2019

Recounts, one guest per chapter, a number of her interviews with the boldest of boldface figures . . . Entertaining—Strong Words

A quick, absorbing read . . . my overriding impression is of rather breathless thoughtfulness . . . her formidable intelligence and self-deprecating awareness shine brightly—Times Higher Education

We love the Maitlis—Stylist

Emily Maitlis is a particular hero of mine . . . I know I'm in for a treat with AirheadGaby Huddart, Editor-in-chief, Good Housekeeping

Emily Maitlis is one of my favourite interviewers and I want to read her tales of interviewing people such as Donald Trump, Theresa May and Simon Cowell—Catriona Shearer, Sunday Mail

A fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into modern television news—Time & Leisure Magazine

It's a brilliant, often funny, behind-the-scenes account of her working life, written by one of Britain's best television broadcasters. It proves she's far from an airhead!—John Craven

The irony of this riveting, enlightening and sometimes painfully honest book is that you couldn't meet less of an airhead than Emily Maitlis - a bold, fearless journalist, a splendidly probing and well-prepared interlocutor, and a warm, sharp and witty woman at the top of her game on and off camera. I'm just very disappointed there's only one chapter about me—PIERS MORGAN

Revelatory, riveting and frequently hilarious. A joy from beginning to end—JAMES O'BRIEN

A remarkable journey through the jungle of newsmaking. It combines razor-sharp analysis with compelling narrative drive and wit. A must-read.—MATTHEW D'ANCONA, Guardian and Evening Standard columnist

A wonderfully sane book for our unhinged times.—SIMON SCHAMA

Emily has a style that would make you enjoy her report on the end of the world. Absolutely irresistible—JEREMY VINE

Smart, funny and brilliantly told stories about what goes on behind the scenes of television news. A joy.—ELIZABETH DAY


Product Details
ISBN: 9780241362853
ISBN-10: 0241362857
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: August 1st, 2019
Pages: 352
Language: English