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As cash-strapped metropolitan newspapers struggle to maintain their traditional influence and quality reporting, large national and international outlets have pivoted to serving readers who can and will choose to pay for news, skewing coverage toward a wealthy, white, and liberal audience. Amid rampant inequality and distrust, media outlets have become more out of touch wi As cash-strapped metropolitan newspapers struggle to maintain their traditional influence and quality reporting, large national and international outlets have pivoted to serving readers who can and will choose to pay for news, skewing coverage toward a wealthy, white, and liberal audience. Amid rampant inequality and distrust, media outlets have become more out of touch with the democracy they purport to serve. How did journalism end up in such a predicament, and what are the prospects for achieving a more equitable future? In News for the Rich, White, and Blue, Nikki Usher recasts the challenges facing journalism in terms of place, power, and inequality. Drawing on more than a decade of field research, she illuminates how journalists decide what becomes news and how news organizations strategize about the future. Usher shows how newsrooms remain places of power, largely white institutions growing more elite as journalists confront a shrinking job market. She details how Google, Facebook, and the digital-advertising ecosystem have wreaked havoc on the economic model for quality journalism, leaving local news to suffer. Usher also highlights how the handful of likely survivors--well-funded media outlets such as the New York Times--increasingly appeal to a global, "placeless" reader. News for the Rich, White, and Blue concludes with a series of provocative recommendations to reimagine journalism to ensure its resiliency and its ability to speak to a diverse set of issues and readers.


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As cash-strapped metropolitan newspapers struggle to maintain their traditional influence and quality reporting, large national and international outlets have pivoted to serving readers who can and will choose to pay for news, skewing coverage toward a wealthy, white, and liberal audience. Amid rampant inequality and distrust, media outlets have become more out of touch wi As cash-strapped metropolitan newspapers struggle to maintain their traditional influence and quality reporting, large national and international outlets have pivoted to serving readers who can and will choose to pay for news, skewing coverage toward a wealthy, white, and liberal audience. Amid rampant inequality and distrust, media outlets have become more out of touch with the democracy they purport to serve. How did journalism end up in such a predicament, and what are the prospects for achieving a more equitable future? In News for the Rich, White, and Blue, Nikki Usher recasts the challenges facing journalism in terms of place, power, and inequality. Drawing on more than a decade of field research, she illuminates how journalists decide what becomes news and how news organizations strategize about the future. Usher shows how newsrooms remain places of power, largely white institutions growing more elite as journalists confront a shrinking job market. She details how Google, Facebook, and the digital-advertising ecosystem have wreaked havoc on the economic model for quality journalism, leaving local news to suffer. Usher also highlights how the handful of likely survivors--well-funded media outlets such as the New York Times--increasingly appeal to a global, "placeless" reader. News for the Rich, White, and Blue concludes with a series of provocative recommendations to reimagine journalism to ensure its resiliency and its ability to speak to a diverse set of issues and readers.

30 review for News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism by Nikki Usher is a recommended, informative examination of journalism from 2016-2019 and the direction newspapers should take. (Highly recommended for for professionals in the industry.) It is obvious to anyone who was ever devoted to reading their local daily newspaper that journalism and newspapers have changed over the years with the prevalence of the availability of online news. Obviously this switch hit the News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism by Nikki Usher is a recommended, informative examination of journalism from 2016-2019 and the direction newspapers should take. (Highly recommended for for professionals in the industry.) It is obvious to anyone who was ever devoted to reading their local daily newspaper that journalism and newspapers have changed over the years with the prevalence of the availability of online news. Obviously this switch hit the newspaper industry hard with a loss of income resulting in a reduced staff. Currently, according to Usher's research, the main supporters who are continuing to pay for their daily news are largely rich, white, and liberal. Naturally, the news is written with a slant toward the views of those who are paying for it and keeping the newspapers relevant and in business. Usher states in the opening, "Like many journalists, scholars, industry observers, and policy makers, I was frustrated by the blind spots of national journalists whose media bubble insulated them from the groundswell of right-wing populism in the United States. It became clear to me that place, partisanship, and inequality were increasingly intersecting when it came to how people felt about news and where journalism seemed to be on the decline." As the journalists serve the readers who will pay for the news, they are increasingly losing touch with the larger scope of diverse public opinions and thus reinforcing the distrust in their coverage. It is a vicious cycle that leads to a continuation of the present state of journalism. Additionally, there is an increasing lack of specifically local and regional news stories as the well-funded media outlets write to cover the viewpoints of a global "placeless" reader. In part and greatly summarized: Chapter one tackles the reasons behind the change in newspapers. Chapters two and three pinpoint the audience who pays for news, the reasons for journalism's realignment of their focus, and the implications of this. Chapter four looks in-depth at Washington DC correspondents and their role in journalism, as well as the increasing Beltway-Heartland divide in news. Chapters five and six examine how the "place-based dynamics of digital economics shape the future of newspapers at an institutional level" and compares newspapers to the New York Times to show the areas that will shape the future of newspapers. Finally, chapter seven scrutinizes data about supporting newspapers through nonprofit philanthropy and how this support furthers the current charges of news having media bias as the papers are located in liberal cities. Usher concludes with recommendations to overhaul the current practices to increase the ability of journalists to reach a divergent group of readers and cover a varied set of issues. One recommendation would be to purchase the hardcover edition of News for the Rich, White, and Blue due to the many charts and graphs included in the text and notes covering all the research and data Usher compiled don't translate well to an ebook. Now, while interesting, this scholarly novel can also be repetitive and the information included can be dense. Anyone who has an abiding interest in journalism and the current state of news should read this work and take the conclusions seriously. There may be some additional changes that have happened since the focus of the book since 2020 certainly resulted in many changes. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Columbia University Press. http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2021/0...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Insightful, well-researched, and at times dense, News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism is exactly what it sounds like. Nikki Usher argues that newspapers and news outlets have systematically focused on their rich, white, and democratic readers as they are the most likely to adhere to subscription models. In a modern era where advertisements are more profitable on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, newspapers are left behind and funding b Insightful, well-researched, and at times dense, News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism is exactly what it sounds like. Nikki Usher argues that newspapers and news outlets have systematically focused on their rich, white, and democratic readers as they are the most likely to adhere to subscription models. In a modern era where advertisements are more profitable on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, newspapers are left behind and funding becomes more scarce. Usher's analysis is repetitive, but convincing. A quarter of the book (located in the Appendices) covers the research methods that Usher conducted in her own research studies, and then all the sources and interviews obtained from others are also posted. Every condition is viewed, from distance from Washington, donors, local participation, and the different cultures which exist in each region--all of which have an impact on what news is and how well funded it in throughout America. My favorite parts of the book were focused on newspapers I grew up with, such as The Boston Globe and The New York Times, and how they were both exceptions to the rules in a way. Other details that surprised me was what cities had hired the most reporters in recent years. I would have never expected Duval County, Florida to be hiring more news reporters than places in California. Something I found ironic while reading Usher's book is that it also will likely be picked up by the very people who are invested in newspapers: the rich, white, and democrat-leaning individuals. In this book, Usher discusses that local news must focus away from weather and health information, and instead cover more locally meaningful stories which are inclusive to their neighborhoods. Most of the information gathered for the book was between 2016-2019, which poses a very unique time in history with the popularization of "fake news" and related slang. This book is written in a way which caters to the highly educated, and also those who love newspapers as they are now. It is unlikely that the poor rural elder farmer will pick this book up and find it meaningful, even though it validates a lot of the Republican's fear of Democrat-dominated media.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    Thank you to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Nikki Usher's News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism is an important work for our time, and will all but certainly ruffle the feathers of the many left-leaning reporters who have forever bristled at the accusation that American journalism has a liberal bias. Usher confirms this bias is more prevalent now than ever before, along with a bias towards wealth Thank you to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Nikki Usher's News for the Rich, White, and Blue: How Place and Power Distort American Journalism is an important work for our time, and will all but certainly ruffle the feathers of the many left-leaning reporters who have forever bristled at the accusation that American journalism has a liberal bias. Usher confirms this bias is more prevalent now than ever before, along with a bias towards wealthy, white subscribers. The logic behind her argument is hard to contest: the internet revolution has rendered print news nearly obsolete, along with the revenue brought in by print ads, forcing subscribers to pay ever-increasing fees to access paywalled content. Due to the political realignment of the past decade or so, wealthier people are more likely to be white, liberal, and living in coastal cities, making them the target audience for major news corporations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. While small, niche outlets have managed to remain independent, mid-sized outlets are dying fast, and are either getting bought out by major corporations or disappearing entirely. On the journalists' end, the decreasing number of news outlets has led to greater job competition, favoring graduates who attended prestigious private universities and were able to work unpaid internships while in school--and are therefore more likely to have come from wealthy backgrounds themselves. As fascinating and timely as News for the Rich, White, and Blue is, the execution is far from flawless. There are many instances of "In this chapter, I will. . . " and, after devoting most of the book to bravely taking on the many issues of the news media that will surely not make Usher any friends on Twitter, she quickly reverts to a more bog-standard liberal conclusion at the book's end, as if to assure her fellow reporters that no, see, you are still the good guys. But more than anything, the greatest issue with News for the Rich, White, and Blue is that what was argued in a full-length book could have easily been accomplished in a fifty-page essay. Much of the book is simply re-affirming what we already gleaned from the Introduction. Nevertheless, News for the Rich, White, and Blue is still worth the read, if for no other reason than to explain an increasingly relevant phenomenon that few people are putting into words. (Ironically enough, I would also recommend getting the print version in this case, since the graphs and charts were difficult to read on an e-reader).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Руслан

    The book shows the situation among the publications in the United States and the trends in the media overseas. However, the book can also serve as an example for the media in Europe. Particularly interesting are the examples and the focus on local media, which are experiencing more and more problems to survive. I recommend it for people with an interest in the topic.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike Thomas

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie McGarrah

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cat

  8. 5 out of 5

    Seth Stern

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vignesh Ramachandran

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gayla Mazzuca

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  13. 4 out of 5

    T.J. Burns

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kim Greenlee

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    Kelly Stulce

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anjie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matt Sentner

  18. 4 out of 5

    Louisa Lincoln

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy Nordrum

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike Barthel

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    Jack

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carly

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    Justin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Raizel I

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matt DeRienzo

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    Lauren Jonik

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Glen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ray

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  30. 5 out of 5

    Travis Russell

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