Nick Davies in 2015
|Born||28 March 1953|
|Occupation||Journalist, writer, documentary maker|
|Notable works||Dark Heart: The Story of a Journey into an Undiscovered Britain (1998)
The School Report (2000)
Flat Earth News (2008)
Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch (2014)
|Notable awards||Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism 1999
British Press Awards Reporter of the Year, 2000
Paul Foot Award 2011
Davies has written extensively as a freelancer, as well as for The Guardian and The Observer, and been named Reporter of the Year, Journalist of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Davies has made documentaries for ITV's World in Action and written numerous books on the subject of politics and journalism, including Flat Earth News, which attracted considerable controversy as an exposé of journalistic malpractice in the UK and around the globe. As a reporter for The Guardian, Davies was responsible for uncovering the News of the World phone hacking affair, including the July 2011 revelations of hacking into the mobile phone voicemail of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Career in journalism
Davies gained a PPE degree from Oxford University in 1974, and started his journalism career in 1976, working as a trainee for the Mirror Group in Plymouth. He then moved to London initially to work for the Sunday People and spent a year working for The Evening Standard before becoming a news reporter at The Guardian in July 1979. Since then he has worked as home affairs correspondent at The Observer; chief feature writer at London Daily News in 1986 and on-screen reporter for World in Action and Channel 4's Dispatches. After the London Daily News folded he moved to the USA for a year, where he wrote White Lies, about the wrongful conviction of a black janitor, Clarence Brandley, for the murder of a white girl. Since 1989 Davies has been a freelance reporter for The Guardian, for which he continues to contribute articles as of 2009, working from his home in Sussex. He was the winner of the first Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 1999.
Following the publication of Flat Earth News and a Guardian story co-written by Davies claiming that News of the World journalists tapped private mobile phones to get stories, on 14 July 2009 Davies told the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that the Metropolitan Police Service had done too little to investigate the claims. The Guardian coverage also led to calls from high-profile MPs for the dismissal of Andy Coulson, communications director for the Conservative Party. Davies received the Paul Foot Award 2011 for his work on this story.
Davies's book on the News International phone hacking scandal, Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch, was released in August 2014.
Critical reaction to Flat Earth News
Flat Earth News was greeted in the London Review of Books on its publication as "a genuinely important book, one which is likely to change, permanently, the way anyone who reads it looks at the British newspaper industry". The LRB highlighted the analysis showing that 60% of the content of UK papers was based mainly on wire copy or press releases, a practice Davies called "churnalism", while only 12% are original stories and only 12% of stories showed evidence that the central statement had been corroborated. Mary Riddell in The Observer disputed some of the charges against British journalism in the book, and described it as "unduly pessimistic". Peter Oborne in The Spectator concentrated on the use of illegal techniques to invade privacy rather than declining standards, describing Flat Earth News as "hypnotically readable" and praising the collection of evidence that the practice of journalism is "bent", although qualifying this somewhat by suggesting that Davies "ignores a great deal [of journalism] that is salient and good".
- British Press Awards Reporter of the Year, 2000; Journalist of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year.
- Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, 1999.
- Paul Foot Award 2011, for a series of articles that helped to expose the scale of phone-hacking at the News of the World. (Davies was also nominated for the award the previous year.)
- White Lies: The True Story of Clarence Brandley, Presumed Guilty in the American South (1991) ISBN 978-0-7011-3724-3
- Murder on Ward Four: The Story of Bev Allitt and the Most Terrifying Crime Since the Moors Murders (1993) ISBN 978-0-7011-4813-3
- Dark Heart: The Shocking Truth About Hidden Britain (1998) ISBN 978-0-7011-6351-8
- The School Report: Why Britain’s Schools Are Failing (2000) ISBN 978-0-09-942216-7
- Flat Earth News: An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media (2008) ISBN 978-0-7011-8145-1
- Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch (2014) ISBN 9780865478817
- News International phone hacking scandal
- Metropolitan police role in phone hacking scandal
- Phone hacking scandal reference lists
- "British Press Awards: Past winners". Press Gazette. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
- "The 7.30 Report - Media industry in crisis as standards decline: Davies". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
- "Author Details for Nick Davies". Random House. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
- Matthew Bell (12 July 2009). "A burning indignation towards people who abuse power". The Independent (London).
- Davies, Nick (2008). Flat Earth News. UK: Vintage Books. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-7011-8145-1.
- "The Martha Gellhorn Prize previous winners". Martha Gellhorn Prize. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
- "News of the World 'bugging' claim". BBC News. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
- "Paper accused of phone 'cover-up'". BBC News. 14 July 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
- Davies, Caroline (9 July 2009). "David Cameron urged to sack Tory spin doctor Andy Coulson". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Dan Sabbagh "Nick Davies wins award for hacking exposé", The Guardian, 29 February 2012, p.5
- Henry Porter (3 August 2014). "Hack Attack review – Nick Davies's gripping account of the hacking affair". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Lanchester, John (6 March 2008). "Riots, Terrorism etc". London Review of Books 30 (5): p3.
- Mary Riddell (3 February 2008). "Failures of the Fourth Estate". The New York Observer (London). Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Peter Oborne (30 January 2008). "The vile behaviour of the press". The Spectator. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Nick Davies official website
- Nick Davies on Twitter
- Column archive at The Guardian
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Nick Davies at the Internet Movie Database
- Flat Earth News, official book website
- Works by or about Nick Davies in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- An Interview with Nick Davies, The Third Estate, 7 September 2009
- BBC Profile of Nick Davies, BBC Radio 4, 9 July 2011