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Freedom of the press is a primary American value. Good journalism builds communities, arms citizens with important information, and serves as a public watchdog for civic, national, and global issues. But what happens when the news turns its back on its public role? Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post, and Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor and senio Freedom of the press is a primary American value. Good journalism builds communities, arms citizens with important information, and serves as a public watchdog for civic, national, and global issues. But what happens when the news turns its back on its public role? Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post, and Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor and senior correspondent, report on a growing crisis in American journalism. From the corporatization that leads media moguls to slash content for profit, to newsrooms that ignore global crises to report on personal entertainment, these veteran journalists chronicle an erosion of independent, relevant journalism. In the process, they make clear why incorruptible reporting is crucial to American society. Rooted in interviews and first-hand accounts, the authors take us inside the politically charged world of one of America’s powerful institutions, the media.


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Freedom of the press is a primary American value. Good journalism builds communities, arms citizens with important information, and serves as a public watchdog for civic, national, and global issues. But what happens when the news turns its back on its public role? Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post, and Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor and senio Freedom of the press is a primary American value. Good journalism builds communities, arms citizens with important information, and serves as a public watchdog for civic, national, and global issues. But what happens when the news turns its back on its public role? Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post, and Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor and senior correspondent, report on a growing crisis in American journalism. From the corporatization that leads media moguls to slash content for profit, to newsrooms that ignore global crises to report on personal entertainment, these veteran journalists chronicle an erosion of independent, relevant journalism. In the process, they make clear why incorruptible reporting is crucial to American society. Rooted in interviews and first-hand accounts, the authors take us inside the politically charged world of one of America’s powerful institutions, the media.

30 review for The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril

  1. 5 out of 5

    April Helms

    Really enjoyed this history lesson on both newspapers and television news. It's a bit dated (AOL is described as an internet upstart),but that is to be expected on a book like this, which is essentially a snapshot of the news industry in the early 2000s (September 11 is mentioned frequently, both for the coverage and for its potential as a turning point for the industry. Alas...). I really appreciated the insights on the news industry for television, a topic I'm not familiar with. It'swell-resea Really enjoyed this history lesson on both newspapers and television news. It's a bit dated (AOL is described as an internet upstart),but that is to be expected on a book like this, which is essentially a snapshot of the news industry in the early 2000s (September 11 is mentioned frequently, both for the coverage and for its potential as a turning point for the industry. Alas...). I really appreciated the insights on the news industry for television, a topic I'm not familiar with. It'swell-researched, with many interviews from a variety of news professionals. The authors clearly outline what went wrong and how, from a news standpoint, the industry could get back on track. The solution is only a partial one- again, this was written before the Internet became as ubiquitous as it is. Essentially, it calls for going back to journalistic standards of reporting what is news, not necessarily what will generate the most clicks. The pitfalls of the later are well outlined (for example, the perception that violent crime is rampant). Despite it's dated nature, I'd recommend this to anyone in the industry, or anyone curious about the news industry.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Barnacle

    I read this book at a time when I was also reading a lot of newspapers, and also feeling like " what is the point of reading this crap". The book sets out a good timeline of the demimse of journalism in the United States, paralleling it with the rise in corporate take over of our news companies. I hope that this book would be more read in the future, as it is a good eye opener, and clear acknowlegement of the affects of the "for profit" era that everyone mine and my parents age has been living t I read this book at a time when I was also reading a lot of newspapers, and also feeling like " what is the point of reading this crap". The book sets out a good timeline of the demimse of journalism in the United States, paralleling it with the rise in corporate take over of our news companies. I hope that this book would be more read in the future, as it is a good eye opener, and clear acknowlegement of the affects of the "for profit" era that everyone mine and my parents age has been living through our entire lives. I have recomended this book to a few folks, and have already given away my own personal copy of it, that was given to me by my favorite professor.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erwin Thomas

    An American rapper Young Thug said, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game.” That’s the way it was with The News About The News by Leonard Downie Jr. and Robert G. Kaiser. Newspapers rise and fall, but the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal continue to prevail. Mom and pop newspapers of the past that did so well have given way to chains like Gannett and Knight Ridder. From the early 1960’s to the 2000’s there An American rapper Young Thug said, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game.” That’s the way it was with The News About The News by Leonard Downie Jr. and Robert G. Kaiser. Newspapers rise and fall, but the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal continue to prevail. Mom and pop newspapers of the past that did so well have given way to chains like Gannett and Knight Ridder. From the early 1960’s to the 2000’s there have been cutbacks in staff and coverage of major stories. News has given way to entertainment, commentary, and fluff. And the line of what’s news has been blurred. The same is true of television. Anchors Tom Brokaw of NBC, Peter Jennings of ABC, and Dan Rather of CBS are all not happy with the quality of news delivered to the public. This downward trend has been noticed since the passing of broadcasting Golden Age when networks had bureaus in major capitals of the world. But now even the local TV stations are struggling with formats that focus on headlines, accidents, crime, weather, traffic reports, happy talk, and entertainment pieces. “If it bleeds it leads.” The coming of mass media’s New Technologies has further complicated matters. Although these have resulted in a greater diversity of channels, news coverage with ENG, communications satellites, cable networks, and Internet services there’s still exists more uncertainty. Large and traditional media audiences of newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio have given way to less lucrative forms of news and information. Existing today is a multiplicity of niche audiences that are greatly impacting traditional ways of advertising. What this will mean to the existing traditional media systems is still debatable. Many of these media have incorporated Internet Websites, but are still to determine how these ventures could be profitable. Yet Downie Jr. and Kaiser explained how the terrorists’ attacks of September 11, 2001 pumped new life into print and electronic news coverage. But it was speculated that this might not necessarily mean that the spiraling downward of journalism had stopped. But it could well be that the mass media would begin to give more attention to foreign news, and not focused on predominately local events, of crime, accidents, celebrities, weather reports, and natural disasters.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    This book seems quaint now. It was written during a time when the possibility of newspapers and traditional journalism might still have a viable long-term future, it has been more or less overshadowed by web technology and the change that wrought in information-sharing. Still an interesting look at what made news gathering different than other sources of writing and entertainment, but I'm not sure it has a whole lot of prescriptive value any more.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    A little pessimistic, but a good journalism book

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    LAME

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Provides a great analysis of how big companies and the bottom line have put journalism in peril.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy Green

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Galli

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brett T

  12. 4 out of 5

    Arlette

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Meyers

  14. 4 out of 5

    John

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Peter Ferretti

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex Ferreira

  23. 5 out of 5

    G

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jon Overton

  25. 5 out of 5

    Trey

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rickey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jilly

  28. 5 out of 5

    Olivier

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melody Kydian

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mason

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