Time, Change, and the American Newspaper

Time, Change, and the American Newspaper

Time, Change, and the American Newspaper

Time, Change, and the American Newspaper

Synopsis

Time, Change, and the American Newspaper focuses on newspapers as organizations, examining the role of change in the newspaper industry and providing a model from which to view and respond to change. Authors George Sylvie and Patricia D. Witherspoon discuss environmental and organizational influences on contemporary newspapers, and they analyze newspapers within the larger context of all organizations. This more general perspective provides insights into the nature of change, the change process, the rationale for organizational changes, resistance to such changes, and initiation and implementation strategies. In its examination of change, this volume explores the causes of newspaper change, how newspaper change takes shape, and when change does not work. This consideration sets the stage for detailed case studies examining the roles of new technology, product, and people as change agents in newspapers. The discussion concludes with the impact of change--or lack of it--on the contemporary newspaper industry and the subsequent impact of newspaper change on society. Sylvie and Witherspoon propose future directions of change and of newspaper decision-making processes pertaining to change, and they offer suggestions for changes in newspaper structures and thought processes. Providing a sound, theoretically-based approach to the topic of change and American newspapers, this volume is essential reading for educators and students in journalism, media/newsroom management, media economics, organizational behavior/communication, and related areas. It also provides a wealth of insights and practical knowledge for newspaper publishers, editors, and practicing journalists.

Excerpt

In the 100th issue of Human Communication Research, E. Rogers (1999) emphasized that human communication cannot be understood fully by only those scholars in mass communication or in interpersonal communication, the two subdisciplines he identifies as the components of communication study. Indeed, he recommended that scholars from both disciplines engage in collaborative work to facilitate the understanding of human communication (pp. 627–628).

This book is a cooperative effort between two scholars who study different phenomena: the operation and management of newspapers and the leadership of change in organizations. Our separate interests inform this effort, and serve as an example of an interdisciplinary approach to studying communication and change in media organizations.

Heraclitus once wrote that “nothing endures but change. ” That is certainly the case in the first years of the new millenium, when newspapers, as products and as organizations, are changing because of new forms of competition, new technologies, new organizational structures, and multiple constituencies. Why focus attention on newspapers when newer media are evolving through which to disseminate information about the global society in which we live? According to Vivian (1995): “Nearly one out of two people in the United States reads a paper every day, far more than tune in the network news on television in the evening” (p. 83). He further emphasized that daily newspapers reach more than 130 million people a day in the United States, and weekly papers are read by about 200 million citizens. Additionally, more people work to gather, edit and disseminate news in newspaper offices than in other news media organizations, and more advertising dollars are invested in newspapers than in any other medium, including television.

This book is a reflection of our respect for the contributions newspapers have made to this society, and our optimism about what they may offer our citizens, in form and content, in the years ahead.

George Sylvie . . .

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